I had a strange and somewhat flattering moment the other day, and it punctuated how far the Internet of Things (IoT) has come. While performing a little home maintenance, I realized I needed some supplies but wasn’t sure whether my local hardware stores or home improvement centers would have what I needed.
Me: “Siri, local hardware.”
Siri: “I’m sorry. I can’t find an address for underwear.”
Me: “SIRI, LOCAL HARDWARE!”
At this point, my WiFi lagged and I was greeted by the spinning connectivity wheel. Sigh. So I changed tactics and called across the room to my new best friend.
Me: “Alexa, local hardware.”
This was the moment when my phone reconnected and Siri responded. I found myself in the middle of battling smart devices, each competing for my attention, speaking over one another. Both assistants began a discordant cataloging of where I could find a torque wrench within the greater Raleigh-Durham area.
Ladies, please, there’s only one of me.
IoT & Payments
IoT and its ascending technological partner, Artificial Intelligence (AI), are in their infancies. These technologies will look as different 20 years from now as the Internet and cell phones did 20 years ago. The opportunity to improve our lives is boundless as developers create systems to make “decisions” in the future based on what they monitored in the past.
Consider a future in which your credit account and banking information are housed in the cloud and accessible from the device of your choosing (not too great of a leap, as we have that now). Now apply the income you receive, direct deposited with little interaction from you (yeah, I can do that, too). Add the layer of your bill payments – your electricity bill, for instance. Naturally, what you’re paying for electricity is heavily influenced by your smart thermostat which is constantly adjusting based on what it knows about your family’s comfort preferences. Heck, paying bills is a hassle. Why not pass that responsibility off to algorithms that know your bank account balances and have all your utility providers tied in? While you’re at it, you want to apply a certain portion of your income to your 401(k), so it’s a good thing that virtual stock broker is chugging away behind the scenes, accessing your accounts, monitoring capital markets, and adjusting how much it applies to wealth management. Gosh, it seems that managing your finances might even seem better handled by machines. They’ll never miss a bill payment or overdraw your checking account. It might all seem a little disturbing, if not for the knowledge that automated IoT fraud prevention programs are keeping your money safe.
In the payments realm, IoT and AI will certainly have their parts to play and we, as individuals and a society, will have to decide how comfortable we are with the convenience (or, perhaps, intrusion).