Today, Bruce Schneier broke down how the Internet is going to break down, and keep breaking down worse, because corporations have discovered that you can put devices on the internet and let people fiddle with them with their iPhones but they don’t secure them. And they probably won’t, because they don’t have to, and it’s too expensive to do it voluntarily.
As Boing Boing broke it down:
Cheap IoT gadgets are manufactured by absentee proprietors and large, respected companies who ignore urgent warnings about their defects (or punish people who complain by remote-bricking their gadgets), leading to nightmarish breaches.
Meanwhile, Burger King is hijacking your Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Siri with ads that activate the voice search about Whoppers. Not that Google needs the hijacking, they’ve been inserting ads in search results on voice assistance for a while.
A quick search for “The Future Is Stupid” brought up this list of tweets that prove it is. And here I am, linking to a list of tweets on a website dedicated to crap content specifically created to get you to click on it. And that can be said about the vast majority of the internet these days.
I asked an intern at work today what they wanted to do with their career. “I’m just here for the credits,” he replied. “I really want to be a lifestyle guide on Instagram.”
In the 80’s, my crazy drunk uncle used to tell us as children about how the government had cameras embedded in the tubes of televisions to spy on us. Now, not only is that true, but we pay extra for the feature. And they can be hacked. By anyone, anywhere.
Back in the 1990’s, I made the huge mistake of telling my mother, father, sister and future brother-in-law that I was going to meet a girl I met on the internet. They spared no adjectives explaining to me how stupid an idea that was, that nothing on the internet was to be trusted in any way, shape or form. The conversation, which took about four hours, resulted in them holding a makeshift intervention with me explaining that the articles I read, news I get, and all of my activity on the internet was troublesome to them, and that I was dangerously close to losing touch with reality by reading all this “garbage” and trusting people I meet on the internet.
Six months ago, my mother was furious with me because I tried to debunk an article she read on InfoWars about Hillary Clinton helping run an underground child sex ring out of a pizza parlor. Oh, and the President of the United States not only regularly relies on those types of sites to inform his worldview, he also uses Twitter to pick fights with North Korea and China in front of his audience of tens of millions of followers, which is then covered on CNN daily so that the other 200 million people who might have missed it are sure to see it, because that’s what news is now: people using technology poorly, at great consequence for the world, and not listening to any warnings to the contrary.
Oh, and there’s an entire movie about emojis coming soon. And there’s an app for your favorite pasta brand to explain why pasta is yummy. They didn’t make the app. They just bought an ad on the platform that the app connects you to, so when you download the app, and you scan the box, it tells you why it was such a good idea to buy that box. It’s an ad that sells you on what you already bought.
Welcome to the future. It’s pretty awful. The only ways to combat it, it seems, are either 1) to not participate, or 2) keep calling out stupidity where it exists where you find it. I’m doing the second, mainly because I don’t quite know how to do the first.
(An aside: My new novel, Marlowe Kana, centers around the inevitable consequences of this current timeline’s bullshit, one hundred years from now. It’s not a dystopian novel, so let me assuage you of any concerns there. It’s actually a tale of American Utopia, and what it costs to have it. It launches May 1. I hope you’ll check out the two chapters that are up now, and come back for three more on May 1, and a new chapter every Monday after that until the story ends in 2019.)