It's written in the clouds

What does the future hold for us? What will the face of the earth look like in 50 years time? How is the world going to change during our children’s lifetimes?

Without these worries, without these thoughts, we wouldn’t wish to try new things, and try to shape the future in a new an improved way. And without these improvements, without these evolutionary changes we wouldn’t see the progress which has allowed the earth to sustain life for so many people for so long.

What I find strange about the IoT space is that we work in reverse. Somehow we try to understand the mechanism that might solve our problems before we find the problems to solve. I see the beauty in that. Understanding the big picture, the big data, might be a very powerful tool for us… Or maybe it might not.

For now IoT seems to be about closing your curtains when you’re not home, flashing your lights when you’re not in, or warming up the toilet seat on a cold day when you’re on the way home when nobody else is in. It’s not exactly the combine harvester I guess. Of course more useful applications are on the horizon. First embedded batteries will enable the scheduling of demand in real time rendering part loaded power stations (and possibly fossil fuel stations per se) obsolete. In the next phase all our domestic appliances will be filled with batteries and device operation will be coordinated centrally to maximise value, utility, and hopefully both. I’m sure that in the process of building out this innovation we will discover more benefits that we can’t imagine today, such is the nature of change. This development will enable the low carbon economy, reduce demand, and allow vast amounts of information to flow to those who love data.. Maybe this data in itself will change the way we think about things, and change the way we live?

Having worked in trading and analytics for a long period of time I’ve seen the world change significantly, the amount of data at everyone’s finger tips these days is almost literally baffling. Does that mean that we are more able than ever to generate a good decision, or that outcomes are more stable or somehow more predictable? Sometimes the answer to that question is no. In fact a wealth of information can serve to make decision making more difficult. And the levels of information serve to drive market instability as everyone chases the last nickel.

The unknown remains unknown and the unknowable remains unknowable.

Shift forward 50 years. What will our children make of the mess of information? Will they still engage in a manic way as we do today, tripping over every last byte to find a meaning or a pattern for a system which is random and chaotic anyhow? Lets hope for their sake not. Sometimes the most beautiful patterns are made by the clouds in the sky.