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ORBAN AT CISCO LIVE 2015: “THE INTERNET OF THINGS IS INEVITABLE”

by / Wednesday, 28 January 2015 / Published in DIXIT...
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Milan, January 28, 2015 – What is the Internet of things? What impact will it have on the world economy? Above all, how will it change our lives? These were the questions under discussion at the Internet of Everything Italian Forum, held in Milan on January 28, as part of CISCO Live 2015, the international education and training event for IT professionals.

David Orban, technology development leader of Dotwords, CEO of Dotsub and one of the leading experts on the “Internet of things”, was invited by CISCO to illustrate his vision as a keynote speaker at the forum. “The first PCs were blind and deaf,” said Orban. “We had to tell them everything and feed them with punched cards. Then they began to have a memory and analysis capabilities; functions like the Word automatic spelling checker helped us avoid mistakes. Later, computers acquired ‘senses’ and began to free themselves from the human user. Mobile phones, for example, no longer have a keypad, thanks to the exceptional advances in touch technology. And now, with the conversational interfaces that recognize speech and reply, computers no longer need a screen.”

“It’s a huge leap,” adds Orban. “Computers will use their sensors to interpret the world independently, without needing a person to tell them what to do. And they will do so with a huge unparalleled capacity to collect and process data. What we have to do is teach the machines to throw away useless information and only keep data that creates value.”

What are the business prospects? “The Internet of things will be a huge business. It means that every manufactured product will be 31designed, made and distributed with an embedded computing device for connection to the Internet. If it doesn’t have such a device, it will simply have no purpose. The cost of equipping every product with connectivity will be infinitesimal, it will not even be worth thinking about not doing so. This is already happening: for example, Philips HUE light bulbs can be programmed over the phone. Everything will be connected.”

So machines will make decisions independently. Fantastic or frightening? “To begin with, it’s inevitable,” Orban replies. “But we shall have to face scientific and engineering questions of a moral nature. A self-driving car will have to decide in a split second whether to run down the cyclist who suddenly cuts across the road or to veer off into the ditch. The point is this: if we want achieve the full promise of the Internet of things, we have to be prepared to delegate moral decisions to machines. I realize this will lead to a clash on an unprecedented scale among different visions of life.”

 

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