Connectivity, the schizophrenia of the modern world

Cars, houses, telephones, computers, watches, household appliances – the various trappings of the modern world have already been with us for a while, but now they are all being radically transformed by the Internet of Things.

Today, connected objects are a tremendous economic growth driver, and in the very near future they are set to revolutionise everyday life for everyone, increasing our comfort, safety and general well-being.

We are living the early days of this revolution, with the development of home automation, monitoring our energy consumption and keeping our homes safe and secure, and the arrival of smartphones and now smartwatches, that don’t just tell us what time it is but act as a PA and personal trainer to boot. We even have microchipped cats and dogs! The development of connected cars, meanwhile, will soon mean that autonomous vehicles are no longer found only in science-fiction but have become part of the world around us.

Every economic sector is being swept away on this tidal wave, even in the most traditional areas, such as industry, which is undergoing its 4th revolution (industry 4.0), construction (Building Information Modelling) and insurance (thanks to Insurtech).

Nevertheless, numerous voices are being raised in protest against this trend towards hyperconnectivity, associating it with Big Brother rather than Big Data and demanding the right to privacy and to remain ‘disconnected’.

So it’s hardly surprising if our attitude tends to be somewhat schizophrenic

On the one hand we’re told that connected objects are excellent in terms of health prevention (watches that monitor our blood pressure, heart-rate and exercise routine, tablets with an embedded microchip to check we’re taking our medication, etc.). And, on the other, we are warned that hyperconnectivity may represent a risk for our organism and state of mind.

Other connected objects will help us to avoid road traffic accidents, house fires and burglaries. But experts in Cyber Security are concerned about the risk of data hacking (see the editorial by Alexis Nardone, our CYBER loss adjuster, in our last issue).

So, who is right? Without risk there can be no innovation. I believe we should not fear those risks but seek rather to control them. That is the way progress has always been made in today’s modern society.

 

Olivier RICHARD, Technical Director, GM Consultant Group