Everything’s haunted now
“The ghost in the machine” used to refer to humanity’s ineradicable tendency towards self-destruction. Arthur Koestler’s 1967 book of that name argues that our brains evolved very rapidly to make us the intelligent, talking creatures we are, but the new gray matter is built upon the original reptilian brain stem that we all still have, and which is capable of overpowering all our fine reasoning skills and propelling us towards catastrophic actions like nuclear war.
Let’s look at a more modern version of the “ghost in the machine”: the Internet of Things.
These days, basically, everything is haunted. There are little gremlins and will-o’-the-wisps in our cars, our homes and our workplaces. They watch us. They learn what we like, what we buy, what we do, whom we talk to, where we go. They talk to one another and compare notes like scientists observing captured aliens. With the rise of AI they can now predict what we’re likely to do next, how likely we are to die of diabetes or cancer (and when), and what music we want to listen to next (they are not always right about that).
The IoT consists of billions of machines with billions of tiny ghosts in them, all feeding into one very big ghost: the exabytes of data sloshing around the globe that constitute the tireless Eye of Sauron known as Big Data. If that’s not enough to put the willies up you this Hallowe’en, you are a relentlessly optimistic technophile who has never read any dystopian novels, or you’re on the marketing team for a manufacturer of smart fridges.
If you fall into either of those categories or their associated fields, or just want to find out how to haunt people with smart devices, there’s a course for you.
Bedrock Learning’s The Connected World teaches you everything you need to know about the IoT and in particular haunted houses - sorry, smart homes. Learning objectives include reflecting on the profound changes the connected world has brought and will bring, understanding the IoT, describing the benefits of home technology systems, understanding how they are incorporated into buildings, and how all the ghosts - I mean network components - work together.
The systems you will learn about are Networking, Surveillance and Communication, Entertainment, Lighting Control, Environment and Energy Management, Security, Health and Safety, Power Quality, and Integrated Home Control. There’s also a good dollop of industry insight: projected growth of the IoT, stakeholders and other roles in digital home or commercial projects, general internet terms like ISP, LAN, WAN, IP, MAC, and DHCP, other technical stuff, and a lot about industry trends and opportunities.
So if internet-enabled toasters and GPS-controlled lawnmowers excite you, this course ought to be right up your (Nightmare on Elm) street. After all, what could possibly go wrong? If you’ve got it, haunt it!
Inspired by Claire Trevein’s poem Everything is Haunted – listen here