Monday, May 11, 2015

I didn't REALLY understand it until...

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For a couple years, I'd been hearing the buzzword (or buzzphrase) "internet of things." I'll be honest, thought I understood the concept well enough: a whole bunch of devices in your house that can connect to the internet. I figured we were already there in a lot of ways, and I hadn't really concerned myself with why I should be too concerned about it. When my toaster needs permission to send me emails about the status of my toast, well, then I'll look into the matter.

Well, that was until "Hello Barbie" spelled something out for me.

Mattel recently announced they would be releasing "Hello Barbie," an internet-connected Barbie doll capable of having conversations with the doll owner. Reportedly, Barbie will store conversation data to a remote location, and draw upon the stored data to have more meaningful and increasingly well-informed conversations with children who own them. Unsurprisingly, this raised more than a few red flags in the minds of parents, as well as any other individual concerned about privacy rights for kids. While I personally do not have children, the issues tied up in this one internet-connected toy suddenly had me thinking of a laundry-list of related debates and discussions. I couldn't not think about the internet of things.

Look at that. I don't even own a "Hello Barbie" and she's already taught me plenty.

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