Friday, September 08, 2017


The 'Internet of Things' Is Sending Us Back to the Middle Ages

What Joshua means by that is that more and more in our lives is not owned but rented/licensed, and therefore controlled by someone else. The most dramatic example he gives is John Deere farm equipment--the embedded software is owned by them, and therefore the whole system must be repaired by them alone.

Yet the expansion of the internet of things seems to be bringing us back to something like that old feudal model, where people didn’t own the items they used every day. In this 21st-century version, companies are using intellectual property law – intended to protect ideas – to control physical objects consumers think they own.

My phone is a Samsung Galaxy. Google controls the operating system and the Google Apps that make an Android smartphone work well. Google licenses them to Samsung, which makes its own modification to the Android interface, and sublicenses the right to use my own phone to me – or at least that is the argument that Google and Samsung make. Samsung cuts deals with lots of software providers which want to take my data for their own use.

Have you noticed an uptick in businesses cutting customers off for their political persuasions? I get a whiff of Hell's Pavement (wikipedia) too. "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that. You bought a Thermolux heater, and you know you're only supposed to buy P&D."

And everybody wants a revenue stream, not just a sale. Office 365 comes to mind here: You don't own it, you rent it. We use an older (licensed) version of Office on one machine, and LibreOffice on the rest.

No comments: