The "Internet of Things" is shaping up to be the buzzphrase of the year as more and more of our machines take off their dunce caps. But as history has shown us, a smarter gadget doesn't necessarily mean an easier life.
If our modern soothsayers can be believed, soon your refrigerator will be snapchatting your garbage disposal raunchy pics of your microwave, while your thermostat consults your lawnmower for stock picks. Or something like that.
The "Internet of Things" is said to be the next evolutionary step in our connected world — the promise that every machine in your physical environment will be talking to each other and acting pseudo-intelligently without much in the way of human intervention.
Of course, this techno-utopian dream was a promise of the future long before the web was even a twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee's eye. Movies like Electric Dreams (1984) showed a public that was just becoming acquainted with personal computers that these devices would soon be turning on coffee makers and providing security for our homes. Going back even further, the early '60s version of "The Jetsons" often poked fun at the postwar cliche that people wouldn't know what to do with themselves once the home computer took over life's more tedious tasks.
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