The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) released a report predicting that electronic sensors, smart homes, and RFID tags will become the
biggest users of the Internet. It is estimated there are currently 875 million human Internet users worldwide, but experts believe there will be tens
of billions of inanimate "users" in the near future. While the ITU's report cites many economic benefits, it also raises several serious privacy
Machines will take over from humans as the biggest users of the Internet in a brave new world of electronic sensors, smart homes, and tags that track
users' movements and habits, the UN's telecommunications agency predicted.
In a report entitled "Internet of Things", the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) outlined the expected next stage in the technological
revolution where humans, electronic devices, inanimate objects and databases are linked by a radically transformed Internet.
"It would seem that science fiction is slowly turning into science fact in an 'Internet of Things' based on ubiquitous network connectivity," the
report said Thursday, saying objects would take on human characteristics thanks to technological innovation.
"Today, in the 2000s, we are heading into a new era of ubiquity, where the 'users' of the Internet will be counted in billions and where humans may
become the minority as generators and receivers of traffic," it added.
Currently there are about 875 million Internet users worldwide, a number that may simply double if humans remain the primary users of the future.
But experts are counting on tens of billions of human and inanimate "users" in future decades. They would be tied into an all pervasive network
where there would be no need to power up a computer to connect -- "anytime, anywhere, by anyone and anything", the report said.
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 are tagged with sensors to allow them to be
The ITU's vision goes further, highlighting refrigerators that independently communicate with grocery stores, washing machines that communicate with
clothing, implanted tags with medical equipment and vehicles with stationary or moving objects.
Industrial products would also become increasingly "smart", gaining autonomy and the intelligence thanks to miniaturised but more powerful computing
"Even particles and 'dust' might be tagged and networked", the ITU said.
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Move over, people. Our greatest concerns are arriving... We are becoming the Borg... and it looks like we will be the minority in the
[edit on 17-11-2005 by loam]
[edit on 20-11-2005 by asala]