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January 8, 2016

Internet of Things Will Arrive Faster if Government Stays Its Hand

 
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Could it be that the connected life that we have seen and heard about since the Jetsons might actually be becoming a reality?  The AT&T Developers Summit painted a picture of just how close we are to that future, and in some cases how we are already there.

The opening session featured Robert Scoble, a recognized technology evangelist, interviewed by Andrew Keen.  Scoble delivered an optimistic message about connected technologies now becoming increasingly commonplace and discussed several technologies coming soon.  He noted that, despite years of discussion and promise, the “Internet of Things” wave is just now entering homes via Nest thermostats and security systems.  He remarked that those technologies essentially establish a beachhead for connected machines, making them more commonplace and understandable for consumers.  He also pointed out that the cars in many garages already are or soon will be connected and that an increasing number of appliances will be also.

So, perhaps a bit under the radar, we have moved decisively into a connected world, a world where machines work more for us than ever before.  And the advances will continue.  Whether in everyday applications of virtual reality, putting the volumes of data we produce to use for own benefit, or through whole cities enabled by connectivity, technological advances that will make our lives even easier and more productive are beginning now.  The benefits to society will continue to grow as the trend continues.

But all of this is but a dream if the chaos of invention and the disorder of innovation falls victim to legislation or regulation.  As we saw repeatedly in 2015 both in the states and from the feds (with the FCC being the most prominent offender), government cannot seem to keep itself from meddling in innovation. 

Almost by definition, the less regulation or legislation, the more experimentation will result.  Government has its role but it is not to play nanny attempting to guide the development of technologies and markets as a group of lawyers and bureaucrats would like, with prophylactic measures that as often as not miss the mark and cause unintended consequences.  Instead, regulators should sit back and enjoy the wonder of innovation, acting to clear the way rather than obstruct and delay.




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