Machines to overtake humans on the Internet

By Derek Sooman on November 21, 2005, 1:10 PM
In the future, machines will be the biggest users of the Internet, according to a report entitled "Internet of Things" by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). They will overtake humans to become the biggest users of the Internet, and we shall see a new era of electronic sensors, smart homes, and tags that track usersí movements and habits.

(The report) outlined the next stage in the technological revolution where humans, electronic devices, inanimate objects and databases are linked in real time by a radically transformed Internet.
Humans may eventually become the minority of Net users, as machine users of the Internet begin to number in their billions. Experts are counting on tens of billions of human and inanimate users in future decades, versus the current 875 million Internet users worldwide at present.

Remote computer-controlled household appliances are already appearing, as well as prototype cars with collision-avoidance sensors. Mobile phones can be used as electronic train tickets while meat exports from Namibia or goods for US retail chain Wal-Mart carry electronic tags to allow them to be tracked.

The ITUís vision goes further, highlighting refrigerators that independently communicate with grocery stores, washing machines that communicate with clothing, tags implanted underskin with medical equipment, and pens directly linked to the Internet.

User Comments: 1

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Reachable said:
Although machines may eventually outnumber humans as Internet users, I seriously doubt it will be the scenario pictured here. The 'smart home', as has been envisioned for a number of years now, includes devices that will automatically set your alarm clock, adjust the temperature of your shower, etc., all tasks which require an extremely minimal amount of effort and attention and which would make routines stranglingly inflexible if automated. A refrigerator that calls a grocery store if certan items within it get low? Come on, now. Most of the rest of the scenario is dystopia, with items purchased in stores being tracked and monitored; schemes that benefit commercial interests but degrade the freedom and autonomy of human existence. A much better application for computers in the future is to give them the abililities of the onboard computers from Star Trek, where with vocal interface a person can order the machine to fetch information from the Internet, pipe requested music and other media content to a specific room, read a calendar, etc.
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