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The Internet of Everything: How the Web will Transform Future Services

09 February 2015


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Governments can take a leaf out of technology’s book and decentralize, says ‘Wired’ co-founder Kelly

Technology has evolved from hierarchical processes to a networking model, leading to successful decentralization in sectors ranging from services to retail to economy, and governments can mirror this evolution to achieve similar results, said Kevin Kelly, co-founder of Wired magazine.

Speaking at The Government Summit 2015 on ‘The Internet of Everything: How the Web Will Transform Future Services’, Kelly said: “Earlier, in the system of hierarchy, command and control was effective, but it was very slow. Today, networking is more chaotic and loose, but things get done faster. We are currently at the beginning of how we can decentralize these processes.

Giving the example of online retailer Ebay, Kelly said the success of the company is a prime example of how networking has helped the retail world. He also mentioned that networking has moved into the physical world with the coming of companies like Uber. Crowd funding has helped network into the financial world as well. So a networked world affects everything.<

“The government will undergo this same kind of shift. There is a need to decentralize everything. It is not new, it is happening and it has picked up pace due to technology. It is impossible to govern without mirroring how its people are being connected,” Kelly said.

It has become an attention dependent world, and money will follow where attention flows. There will be a delay in the follow up, but it will nonetheless arrive, he said.

“What do they pay attention to? They pay attention to YouTube, social media and various other screens. Your attention is very valuable to them and soon they will be paying you to read mails, view ads and other services. So people who are very influential can charge more for their attention,” said Kelly.
Kelly observed that while we were all “people of the book” earlier, when books influenced our culture, today we have become “people of the screen”. From being used to just one screen, we now live in an ecosystem of screens. “Anything that we make with a screen will look back at us. There is software that can track your moods and senses.

Technology has also made it easier for us to create copies. We are able to download a copy of anything on the Internet, be it software, music or movies. The only thing valuable in this day and age is that which cannot be copied.

According to Kelly, if there is one thing that cannot be copied, it is trust. You have to generate trust and in turn authentication. “People want everything immediately. They will pay extra for the copy, provided it is given immediately.

Everything works according to how you interact. And this in turn has helped everyone to track us. We are increasing the way we interact with our devices and this is paramount in creating new avenues for product development.

This lifetime of tracking can give people in the future a basis for tracking your vitals, which can help create tailor-made medicines. While the earlier process was to create something that would work for everyone, today everything is personalized.&

“It’s not just us personally tracking ourselves, society is also tracking us. There are nearly 6 billion camera phones in the world. We are also intentionally giving companies the ability to track us. Tracking won’t stop, but what we can do is make it more comfortable by making it a co-vigilance rather than surveillance,” Kelly said.

Services and physical products have moved into that comfortable space where you don’t have to buy something to gain ownership. Access is more important today than ownership. Although ownership was one of the stepping stones of the success of capitalism, it is being challenged today due to this decentralization of the network.

Manufacturing, renting space, even physical products are becoming like software, which need constant updates and refurbishments, which is how the term Internet of Things came into being.

This reliance on melding all our devices into one has been crucial in the addition of Artificial Intelligence (AI). “The recipe for the next 10,000 startups will be to take a particular idea and then add artificial intelligence to it. This will make it smarter and more powerful and that is where we are heading today.

Kelly concluded his segment by giving pointers on how government can follow the same pattern of decentralization of network. He suggested that to create something powerful and catchy, one needs to work hard to make it simple and then evolve over a period of time. While at it, one should also make a prototype and test it on one’s self before taking it to the masses.