Every coin has two sides. We’ve been talking for so long about all the coming benefits of wireless smart homes, connected homes and connected offices. And it’s true, there are many incredible advancements in this space. However, there is an important warning I want to discuss. Everyone must understand other side of the coin which is seldom discussed, loss of privacy.

The connected home and connected office space is very exciting. It’s a new way to think about everything we do, and everything use. It creates new products, new companies and new ways of thinking. It combines IoT, AI and other technology to communicate with the cloud, using both wireless and wire line connections to the Internet.

This is a great opportunity for consumers, business customers, investors, workers and companies all embrace and benefit from this new technology.

However, we must pay attention to the problem as well or it will jump up and bite us. In fact, this is already starting to happen now with addictive technologies like apps and smartphones. And we are just getting started paying attention to both sides.

There is a reason why many executives of some of the most successful tech companies don’t let their kids have or use their devices, apps, web sites and software. We will pay much more attention to this going forward. This is an important warning everyone must pay attention to.

Madonna does not let her own kids watch her perform

The warning here is similar to the singer Madonna not letting her children watch her perform. Toxic is toxic. If that’s the case, why is it OK for the rest of the kids to be hurt? That’s the problem with not protecting our society from the dark side of new technology.

Like any other tool, technology is a double-edged sword. It help’s and it hurts all at the same time. We need to be protected from invasion of privacy, viruses, hackers, becoming addicted to this new technology and more. And the dangers and risks in this new world are only getting worse with each day that passes.

Unfortunately, many executives at the makers of this new technology are not as interested in protecting users. They are focused on developing this amazing new technology and growth. There are so many examples of problems and the volume is just starting to get turned up.

Smart home experience is full of connected devices

We have already entered this new connected home space. It will only get better and grow deeper into our lives. It seems new smart devices are being introduced every day. These are devices that think for themselves and that communicate with other devices creating the entire smart home experience.

Smart devices use AI and IoT, have sensors, operating systems and more. They provide information and connectivity like never before. Sometimes they are linked to other devices in the smart home. Other times they are connected directly to the smart home system itself.

Think about all the connected home devices we have access to today. Devices that all connect either on the wire line Internet or the wireless Internet connection using our Wi-Fi. So, we can control our smart home from inside the home or from anywhere else with our smartphone.

Smart doorbells like Ring, which is being acquired by Amazon.com, notify us by smartphone app when they are pressed. That way we can talk to the person at the door even if we are not there. Cameras on many of these doorbells also capture an image or moving picture.

Smart electronic door locks like Schlage, which don’t need a key, just a combination. They can even be locked or unlocked and monitored on their smartphone app from anywhere. Some even have cameras and give us complete control over access to our home.

Smart security systems like SimpliSafe, that protect us and our home, wirelessly using smart home technology. Again, letting us see what’s happening even when we are not home on their smartphone app.

Smart homes work with smartphones like iPhone, Android and Galaxy

Smart HVAC thermostats like Nest, now owned by Google. They are controllable from a smartphone app from anywhere. They also learn your habits and create an algorithm which raises and lowers the temperature at different times during the day to keep you more comfortable.

Smart refrigerators like from Samsung, are connected to the Internet and offer many advanced services. There can be a screen on the door that lets you surf the web, check email, answer text messages, add to your grocery list and more. Some have a translucent front which lets you peek inside before opening the door and more. And more is coming.

Smartphones like Apple iPhone, Google Android and Samsung Galaxy are the way we control everything from one place. The smartphone is the remote control for our lives. That means we increasingly download apps to control everything about our smart home.

AI like Apple Siri, Google Home, Amazon Alexa are always listening

The bad news is all this connectivity comes with a steep price. We are more vulnerable to the dark side since we are more exposed than ever before. There are many threats, like invasion of privacy by many different players.

Want an example? With your Apple iPhone sitting on the table in front of you, simply say, “Hey Siri”, and watch what happens next. Your iPhone will turn on and Siri is listening. If you don’t say anything, Siri will say, “I’m here”.

Pretty creepy right? That means it’s always listening. Most people don’t realize this. And this is just the first step in this new world of AI. And it will only get better and worse.

The iPhone is always listening using it’s AI called Siri. The same is true with other smartphones and AI and there are many. Think Google Android, Samsung Galaxy and all the others. In fact, we face the same threat with other AI devices like Google Home, Amazon Alexa and the new Apple HomePod.

AI invasion of privacy should be wake up call to every user

This invasion of privacy should be a giant wake up call for every user. I am not saying we shouldn’t use AI. This is a great technology and will continue growing forever. Done correctly, this will be great.

However, we do need safeguards which we do not have today. Let’s get started protecting ourselves before it’s too late.

Too many companies are taking advantage of the unsuspecting user. Perhaps they don’t know the problems their new technology will eventually create. This is a problem. And problems take a while to bubble to the surface, like the recent news about iPhone addiction.

This threat comes from so many places. Plus, there are the bad guys trying to take our data, lock up our computers, take our money or worse.

Even if our personal information is not listened to live today, it is stored. Imagine ten years from now you are involved in a lawsuit and every word you ever uttered, every email and text you ever sent, every page on the web you ever surfed and more, is all available to be pulled up and used against you. Anything we do can be made to look bad.

Privacy used to be cherished. However, for the last few decades, your privacy has been an illusion. We have all been losing our privacy, bit by bit for the last several decades thanks to all this new technology. AI, IoT and the cloud are speeding up this process.

So, let me be clear. We don’t want to stop this wonderful world of technology from improving our lives, but we do need to protect ourselves from the invasion of privacy and other risks that are real threats to every one of us from companies, the government or bad guys. Companies and industries should continue to grow, but we must also protect ourselves.

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