Today, objects in smart cities, outer space, and medical implants in our bodies are connected to the internet.
When streetlamps can ‘talk’, when autonomous vehicles safely navigate, and energy and public services can be automatically routed when and where they are needed, we will reap the rewards of a Massive Internet of Things (MIoT).
How might we maximise the benefits while ensuring our data is protected and our networks are stable and secure?
This lecture was recorded by Victoria Baines on 5th December 2023 at Barnard's Inn Hall, London.
The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website:
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In Walt Disney's 1940 film, Fantasia inanimate objects magically come to life. The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Mickey Mouse works out that if he puts on his master's hat, he can activate a broomstick to fill a huge cauldron with buckets of water. And that plan is sound, in theory, sequenced to Paul Duke Hass orchestral composition. The automation of Mickey's task is the ultimate in labor saving devices. Until that is our hero falls asleep without having cast a spell to stop the broomstick filling the cauldron. When he awakes, he finds the room flooded, a desperate and to modern audiences, rather disturbing attempt to extinguish the broomsticks life. With an ax results, an army of anthropomorphic brooms fills the room with even more water. The animated animate objects are out of control. Only the return of the sorcerer can restore order 80 years later. We no longer need to rely on magic for objects to communicate with each other, nor do we need to imagine a world of functional automater. A few months ago I had a similar experience to Mickey Mouse. One Saturday morning I was having a lion enjoying a cup of coffee in bed before fully facing the day. And then I heard this Now I couldn't work out what that was<laugh>. So I headed into the living room to find out, which as we all know from horror movies, you should never, ever do. And this is what I found. Exit stage left pursued by a vacuum cleaner, which had clearly sprung into action. And this was all well and good, but I had absolutely no recollection of asking it to. The Gresham College lecture that you're listening to right now is giving you knowledge and insight from one of the world's leading academic experts making it takes a lot of time. But because we want to encourage a love of learning, we think it's well worth it. We never make you pay for lectures, although donations are needed, all we ask in return is this. Send a link to this lecture to someone you think would benefit. And if you haven't already, click the follow or subscribe button from wherever you are listening right now. Now let's get back to the lecture. Um, for those of you wondering whether I really do walk the Walk of the Nutty It professor, I hope this does reassure you that I do indeed conform to the stereotype. Um, my robot helper had not in fact gone rogue in my blurry state. It took me a moment to realize that this was entirely my fault. The devices operations are controlled by an app on my phone. And when I took delivery, I had set some test tasks about which I had evidently forgotten. My domestic bliss had been disrupted by human error. My vacuum cleaner is part of what's known as the Internet of things IOT, billions of Connected Smart devices. In fact, over 15 billion of them in 2023. And that's expected to almost double to 29 and a half billion by 2030 according to the Market Insights Company Statista. So right now there are two connected things for every human on the planet. And in seven years time, there will be four for each of us. Another projection in a 2019 report for Business Insider estimates that there will be a whopping 64 billion connected things by 2025. So what kinds of things are we talking about and how do they communicate? Devices on and in our bodies use Bluetooth and it's a short range wireless technology which enables devices to pair with each other. It's how your headphones and your fitness tracker communicates with your smartphone. And in my previous lecture, brain computer interfaces, we saw how neural implants use it to communicate brain signals. It's also the standard communication method for remotely controlled sex tech, which we'll explore in more detail in my next lecture. Sex and the internet, which I'm reliably informed is already sold out. But please feel free to to try and get a ticket. Increasingly, our homes contain devices that communicate with each other using wifi. And here are the results of a survey conducted in 2020 by University College London and Neighborhood Watch of 20,784 people in the uk. And we can see that the majority of respondents reported having a smart TV and half of 18 to 30 year olds had a smart speaker. I strongly suspect that these percentages have increased since then. And when we add thermostats, doorbells, security systems, games, consoles, baby monitors into the mix. It's clear that many of us already have domestic internets of things. Baby monitors and games consoles aren't the only connected objects aimed at engaging with children. Smart toys use Bluetooth to connect to another device or wifi to connect to home networks. Apps on our mobile devices now enable us to control lighting, sound, heating, security and other domestic operations. For some of us, our phones and tablets are also processing hubs for machine to machine communication between our connected appliances. One example of this is the wifi embedded refrigerator, which allows you to see what's inside from your phone wherever you may be, tags, food expiration dates to reduce waste, learns from your tastes and preferences to provide a weekly meal planner of suggested recipes and wait for it sends cooking instructions to your smart oven. A screen on the door means you can watch TV while you cook. You can answer the front door if the smart doorbell rings, you can check what is going on in other rooms using smart cameras and motion detection all while standing by the fridge. In all seriousness, for people who benefit from assistive technology, one can see how these features could be really helpful. For others, the labor saving gains may be less obvious and perhaps that's one reason why. According to industry data, fewer than half of smart home appliances sold remain connected to the internet. But outside our homes, there are even more ways for things to communicate. If you make contactless payments with Apple Pay, Google Pay, or another mobile wallet, you're using nearfield communication. NFC. We also have RF ID radio frequency identification, which uses radio waves to read chips over longer distances. Debit and credit cards use EMV, which is named after Europay, MasterCard and Visa circuits are integrated into the cards. They're the chips of chip and pin. If you use a plastic travel card for public transport, you're using RFID. And if your pet is microchipped, they are two. You may also have seen RFID tags on trackable packages and deliveries and smart tags like Apple air tag and Samsung Galaxy Smart Tag. Plus they use ultra wideband radio technology. Then there's a plethora of devices that contain SIM cards or software-based ES sims. Newer cars contain multiple sims for live traffic updates and directions, entertainment streaming provision of wifi hotspots and connected control over your smart home systems. But what about street lights and traffic lights? Lighting units that transmit signals and respond to stimuli are key components of emerging smart cities. And in fact, traffic lights containing SIM cards have been around for quite a while. And as far back as 2011, authorities found that this had unintended consequences. Criminals in Johannesburg in South Africa found that these sims could be used to make phone call. So they broke into 400 of them causing inevitable traffic chaos. And I've been in this work, uh, this line of work a long time, but I am regularly surprised and dare I say it a little bit impressed by just how creative some of these rascals can be. Now 15 billion communicating things put considerable strain on the current telecoms infrastructure. As the number keeps growing, it's going to be entirely unsustainable. So, so telecoms companies have been working on new technologies to support a massive number of connected devices. You may have heard of fifth generation Cellular 5G, which offers lower latency and to connect many more devices than 4G 10 times more by some estimates. So then there's six G, which is expected to be able to support 10 times that 10 million devices per square kilometer and one microsecond latency, which is data transfer at 1000000th of a second. Whereas 5G is able to send data at frequencies of up to a hundred gigahertz six G will be capable of ultra high frequencies in the hundreds of gigahertz or terahertz. The International Telecommunications Union, the ITU expects to have the initial standardization of six G complete by 2030 at the very latest. But some countries like South Korea are already planning to deploy it before then. The ITU has also played a key role in the development of a large number of global technical standards for the architecture of the internet of things, even down to individual use cases such as specifying the most suitable sensor network technology for monitoring water quality requirements for automatic location identification in sensor networks, frameworks and requirements for application programming interfaces and protocols for the machine to machine architecture in smart cities and in sectors like healthcare, energy, transport and home networking. A truly smart environments, whether that's a home, a business, a city or a national network is one in which data is gathered from a range of sensors and connected objects and it's monitored and managed and real time data is integrated and triangulated with the aim of improving outcomes. So in a transport network, being able to identify, for instance, how many people have checked in with their RFID cards to a particular metro station or where there's been a road traffic accident that can tell public transport operators whether additional capacity is required. It's also envisaged that artificial intelligence could take the place of human operators in making routine decisions and alterations such as rerouting driverless vehicles or deploying emergency first responder drones, which are currently being trialed in the uk, Belgium and the Netherlands in farming and food production drones, tags and sensors are already used to monitor crops and livestock. The vision of precision farming is one of agriculture that can identify exactly what is needed to improve yield and quality and also potentially reduce environmental impacts. It combines expanded deployment of those internet of things components with data analytics, machine learning and robotics in logistics and manufacturing. A similar combination of technologies is known as industry 4.0. Continuous tracking and monitoring increasingly enables predictive maintenance and greater productivity. So then what might the sensors in connected things actually sense? There are lots of sensors already in use and they include those that detect proximity noise, motion pressure, moisture, temperature, gases, pH and water levels. Objects can also be fitted with gyroscopes, accelerometers and optical sensors. An electric vehicle prototype announced by Sony and Honda earlier this year and set to go on sale in North America in 2026, both over 40 sensors embedded in its exterior equipping cars with cameras, radar, lidar and ultrasonic sensors takes us that step closer to a potential future of autonomous vehicles. Sensors might also cause objects to respond to external stimuli, as in the case of four D printing, otherwise known as additive manufacturing. And what distinguishes four D from 3D objects is their ability to change their geometric properties, transforming their shape over time by printing objects with programmable materials such as hydrogels or shape memory polymers. They can be transported in one state or shape and transformed into another when stimulated, for example, by moisture, light time heat or pH. At the micro level of our bodies, we could have stents inserted that could adjust their shape once they're in the right place when required. There's also a good deal of interest in four D printing for space missions where remote activation of objects could dispense with the need to transport heavy machinery such as booms and antennae, thereby reducing the overall weight of materials. And this is an important consideration for space tech leaders like Elon Musk. If you are playing musk bingo, which I know some of you in the audience do play, now is the time to mark your scorecard. Um, he, he's got an ambition to get a million people to Mars by 2050. And regardless of whether you think that is likely half of all the satellites in space are owned by his company SpaceX. And to give you an inkling of how that is changing so quickly, when I checked that statistic for a lecture this time last year, it was a third. So a lot can change in one year in tech. And it's certainly the case that low earth orbit satellites like these starlink satellites above Ukraine and constellations of tiny Pico satellites are expected to provide critical communications infrastructure for the massive internet of things. Just to give you an idea of the scale here, this Picasso satellite shown is 30 centimeters long. So it's the length of what a standard school ruler now connected communicating devices generate data which needs to be processed rather than sending massive and ever increasing amounts of data back to proprietary company or government servers. The internet of things already makes extensive use of cloud computing. Practically speaking, this means that much of the world's processing for the internet of things depends on the largest cloud providers based in the US and to a much lesser extent in China, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google currently dominate the cloud computing market with 32%, 22% and 11% shares respectively. Now that doesn't mean that the data physically resides in the us but it does mean that two thirds of the world's cloud processing relies on just three US companies. Whereas cloud computing hosts applications in data centers, as the names suggests, edge computing host applications at the edges of the networks closer to the end users. So when fitness trackers and smart home technology use our phones as processing hubs, that's edge computing. And in industrial settings, single board computers are very widely used like this raspberry Pi. And in 2020 the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced that the industrial market accounted for 44% of its total annual sales worldwide. But with all this processing going on, power consumption is an inevitable and understandable concern, low power wide area network. LP one is a networking protocol that has been designed to allow communication between connected things at a much lower bandwidth between N 0.3 and 50 kilobits per second compared to five G's peak data rates of 20 gigabits per second. But even at those lower rates, a power source is required for communication and processing. Huge numbers of smart devices depend on lithium batteries, which need to be changed or recharged. It is possible to recycle these, but the prospect of even more billions of connected things inevitably threatens further depletion of the world's minerals. So several manufacturers are working on battery free processes, which harvest energy from radio waves and devices that draw thermo electrical energy from their environments. The sheer number of connected objects is already massive by anyone's standards. And in that respect, what we've been exploring until now is just the internet of things in general. Information technologists can get a bit precious about this because they tend to distinguish the massive internet of things in consumer and commercial applications from the critical internet of things, applications in which security timely responses and reliability are paramount. And these would include anything related to public infrastructure such as power and water supply, traffic, safety, emergency response, and medical procedures. But I would argue that that distinction is not always so clear cut. When we start to look at practical use cases, smart electricity supply certainly constitutes critical infrastructure and it makes use of dedicated communications networks. But in order to be efficient, it relies on smart meters installed in our homes, reporting usage and demand that domestic electricity supply may power a car that will make its way through a smart urban traffic system and that car will interact with and respond to personal, local, municipal and critical networks and stimulate. And as we've seen, some of the biggest perceived gains of proposed smart solutions come from that integration or at least that triangulation of personal, public and private sector data sets. Bridging those traditional divides between private and public life in Singapore where the world's first self-driving taxis launched in 2016 and where robot police officers have been interacting with members of the public since 2021, the Collected Life Home Monitoring solution uses a citywide decentralized data exchange to share information on elderly citizens health and wellbeing with family members, with healthcare providers, with insurance providers and the government. And in Fukuoka in Japan, a systematic care model for elderly people with dementia combines data from door-to-door visits by public workers and service providers with CareTech apps and monitoring using personal tracking devices. So interoperability and integration do promise, greater insight and greater utility, but there's clearly a balance to be struck. Wherever there are large data sets of individual citizens' movements and behavior, there is potential for our right to a private life to be compromised in the name of efficiency. In 2021, the UK government conducted a five month proof of concept trial on a motorway junction near Birmingham in which CCTV and wireless technology were embedded in streetlights. This isn't a smart streetlight, by the way, is the very dumb streetlight outside my house, which doesn't come on or switch off when it's supposed to and when it fails, I have to call someone to come out and manually repair it. So in principle, smarter streetlights sound to me like a jolly good idea. The government's proposal is that processes in streetlights could be used to communicate with autonomous vehicles. They could push out traffic updates and information on speed limits along the National Highway's Network. And the official press release on the trial stated drivers would've been oblivious to the CCTV and communications technology hidden away in the street lamp as it was installed when the lights were switched to the improved greener LED lighting. To my mind, this comes across as rather sneaky, and that's unfortunate. I think given that one of the core principles of international legislation such as the eus General Data Protection Regulation GDPR, is that data processing should be transparent. The use of CCTV in streetlights may be for the purpose merely of identifying that a vehicle any vehicle is passing by, but we should at least be informed when it's in use. Ensuring that people in smart environments are aware of when they're being tracked will I think be crucial to fostering and maintaining public trust. GDPR also states that data should only be processed for the purposes intended. It should not be repurposed without the consent of the individual in a fully integrated and interoperable smart city. It could technically be possible to penalize someone who refuses to recycle their domestic rubbish by charging them high fares on public transport. We could of course promote it differently as giving discounted fares to those who do recycle, but there are current signals of this kind of data aggregation and use, and they can be found in China where a social credit system has been spearheaded by local governments. For example, in the city of Wrong Chang, each adult resident is given a score, a starting score of a thousand points. Credit may be lost for traffic violations or earned for voluntary service. And high scorers are rewarded with perks such as free bicycle rental and heating discounts. So citizen conduct has been gamified through data collection. And as with so much in it where something is technically possible, governments have the power to decide whether it is legally permissible. Connecting billions of devices, often different types of devices to each other, also prompts the question of who is responsible for securing them. Is it the device manufacturer, is it the end user or is it both? When it became apparent a few years ago that large numbers of smart home devices and smart toys among them either did not require passwords or had universal default passwords that allowed criminals to gain access to any device, governments raced to regulate the market and some smart toys were actually banned by telecom's regulators for failing to protect children's data. Here in the uk, the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act passed in 2022 has outlawed consumer smart devices with universal passwords. And manufacturers now need to be transparent about any potential security vulnerabilities and they need to commit to providing software updates for the declared lifespan of the products regulation gives governments powers to enforce against manufacturers that don't comply. And over time, of course, the hope is that it will deter manufacturers from engaging in practices that result in their products being banned. But what it doesn't do of itself is eliminate the risk to users. Securing all of the individual endpoints is important because vulnerabilities in even the dumbest of connected devices can be exploited to gain access to paired devices and networks. In the cybersecurity industry, we've seen internet of things botnets networks of many thousands of devices like printers and home routers that have been hijacked by criminals. And one of my favorite cases came to light in 2017 when a casino in North America was hacked through the internet connected thermometer in a fish tank in their lobby, the criminals managed to steal 10 gigabytes of data from the casino's network. And I can't tell you whether the casino's management knew that the thermometer was vulnerable, but it does raise a key question about awareness because if end users are responsible for securing endpoints in the internet of things, we need to know that and we need to be told how. And I'm going to share with you a very personal story that I hope will serve to illustrate this point. In early 2012, I found myself standing in my dad's kitchen on the south coast of England, and I was living in the Netherlands at the time working for Europol, the European Police Agency. The all too rare occasions when I returned to the UK gave me an opportunity to check on my dad's health at the age of just 35. He had suffered a massive heart attack and he had received one of the world's first triple heart bypass operations. And thanks to this procedure and to some superb follow-up care, his life was prolonged by an incredible 28 years during which he benefited from further incredible medical advances. On the occasion of my visit, he proudly showed off a pacemaker defibrillator that had recently been implanted under his skin just near his collarbone. And he explained to me that it communicated wirelessly with a base station on his bedside table, which then used his home internet connection to report his heart function to his local hospital. This allowed my dad's cardiologist to monitor him continuously and remotely. The defibrillator component was designed to deliver a shock to reboot his heart if it began to struggle. And once I had Julie Marvels at the Wonders of Modern Medicine and it was truly marvelous, we went to sit down in the living room from where we could see his rather old, rather clunky desktop computer. And this reminded him to ask me for some help with something that had been irritating him a bit. He said, you are good with computers, aren't you <laugh>? And if you work in it, you know that is a phrase that fills all of us with dread. Never say that to people at parties, please. My dad said, <laugh> that his computer had been running really slowly ever since. One of the step grandkids had downloaded some games from the internet. And as a cybercrime analyst, I knew that downloading games from dodgy websites was one way that computers could be infected with malicious software. So I asked my dad whether the computer's antivirus was up to date and he confessed that he hadn't bothered to renew the subscription because he didn't really understand what it did and he decided it was probably a waste of money. So an intelligent, very capable man who ran his own business in the motor trade somehow hadn't understood the implications of his home computer, sharing an internet connection with a device that was monitoring his vital signs and that keeping that connection clean and secure would somehow prevent criminals interrupting reports to his doctor. So during the same cup of tea, which as we all know is a recognized measurement of time in the uk, I proceeded to explain this to update the software on my dad's computer and to impress on him the importance of keeping it updated. And it occurred to me that there were likely to be many others for whom the implications of being part of the internet of things were far from clear. In fact, already by the time of this conversation, there were millions of people walking around with connected pacemaker defibrillators inside them and millions more with connected continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps, all of whom depended on their correct functioning. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with these implantable devices, and if you have one, I promise you there really is no need to panic. They are undoubtedly bringing you huge benefits, but perhaps I might suggest that for you it is even more important to take a few basic digital hygiene measures, like making sure that the software on all your devices is up to date, having different strong passwords for all your accounts. And if this sounds familiar to some of you, you will remember that of course you can find that practical guidance in our cyber short series of videos on the Gresham website and on YouTube, it is just basic cyber security and online safety. That's all you need to do. So how did this end? Well, my dad passed away a few months after that conversation, but you will be relieved to hear that he was not assassinated through his pacemaker. As far as we know, this is still the stuff of fiction as in the storyline in the TV series Homeland, which reportedly was based on former US Vice President, Dick Cheney's concerns about the connectivity of his own pacemaker. But even after my dad's death, the bionic part of him remained a subject of confusion and debate. One family member couldn't understand why the pacemaker hadn't called an ambulance when my dad's heart failed, something that was never part of its design. As is often the case with technology, we can find ourselves caught between a lack of awareness about what it does and hyped expectations of what it ought to do. Those of us who grew up in the latter half of the 20th century may feel legitimately aggrieved that we don't yet own a flying car. That doesn't mean it will never happen. Just as the pacemaker of the future may well have the capability to summon an ambulance or drone or first responder robot. But it is incumbent on developers and distributors of devices to explain clearly to us what they can do, what they can't, and what we need to do to keep them and us safe. It's become fashionable to refer to the Internet of things as the world's digital nervous system. And I think it's a useful analogy in that much like the human nervous system, it can be difficult to discern with the naked eye. The electrical impulses are very much under the surface. When I told people who work in it that I was giving a lecture on the Internet of things, a few of them responded, isn't that over already? And I mused on this for a while and was then reminded of a statement by Mark Wiser, who was Chief technology Officer at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center in the 1990s. He's remembered by many as the father of ubiquitous computing. And he said that the most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it. While we have already reached the point where sensors have literally been woven into textiles so that they can monitor our vital signs, remember when we used to say that we were going on the internet? Actually some of the younger ones of you here might not remember that, but I certainly remember saying I'm going on the internet as if it were a distinct location. It reflected the fact that we would most likely have to physically move to the part of the house or the part of the office in which there was the one desktop computer that was connected. We no longer say we're going on the internet because it's all around us. We haven't quite reached peak saturation. And there are evidence teething troubles, the most visible of which are perhaps, um, recent traffic jams and accidents caused by driverless taxis in cities where they are being trialed, but is clearly happening. We just have to make sure that we keep looking, capturing and analyzing data from billions of physical items in real time. Highlights yet another respect in which digital and physical realms are converging. The internet of things is clearly also the internet of humans. Equally, the internet of plants and the Internet of animals, as in this research project which equipped amps with RFID, the prospect of large numbers of things with the capacity to respond to stimuli without direct human intervention also raises similar questions to those currently being asked of artificial intelligence. How will we ensure that the future Internet of things operates safely, securely, and transparently? Who will be responsible for that and who will have oversight? How can we ensure that the benefits outweigh the risks? And lastly, who benefits in a vision of the future in which efficiency and productivity equate with a reduction in human labor? A mature massive internet of things may serve some members of society at the expense of others. In a society that prioritizes data analytics above all else in which humans are just a fraction of many billions of data generators, we may need to work extra hard to assert ourselves as individuals to distinguish ourselves from other data assets to return to our Disney analogy. We do need to ensure that the broomsticks don't take over, but also that they serve all of us. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. I've got some great questions and I'll start with the ones online. Um, so from Malcolm, since Alexa and other systems can detect sounds and Amazon and Google happily farm my data, should I be careful in the kitchen in case the fridge is listening? Goodness, it depends what you're talking about really, doesn't it? Um, So I think it's helpful in these situations to look at your settings on all of your devices. And I know that sounds dull, but um, you may notice that sometimes in your phone you can look at your different apps and you can see which apps have access to your microphone, which apps have, you know, access to your camera. You have the power to change that. I know it can take a little bit of time with something like Alexa, Alexa is designed to listen to you. If it's not, if you turn off <laugh>, if you turn off the microphone function for Alexa, you're not getting much out of it. I get that. Um, I would say, um, not to be worried about it, but equally, I'm someone who follows all of the legislation, the regulations around this. And there have been cases, um, where law enforcement in the investigation of serious crime have requested those recordings, um, from companies like Amazon. So, you know, once that data is out there, it's out there, it's requestable, um, by law enforcement under very strict regimes. Um, but I suppose if you are a drug dealer or a terrorist, don't, don't have an Alexa would be my advice.<laugh>. So, so this rolls on nicely to our next question from Doug, which is, with potentially thousands of devices active, how do we ensure informed consent? Right? Um, and, and, and apologies to Malcolm for, because I don't, I didn't mean to be flippant about that. I I think to some extent you are, you are signing up for a service. And th this taps into the point about consent, really, that once you've ticked that box to say, well, I'm happy for you to use this data for x, y, z purposes. Um, to the to the second question, um, the regulation is there so that if it turns out that your data isn't being used properly, those companies can be prosecuted. And if we look at something like the general data protection regulation, it's 4% of their annual revenue. Um, which doesn't sound like a lot, but if you think if you're a big tech company, that's a lot of money. Now, as we know from prosecutions and civil actions, the world over prosecuting or, or, or bringing a big tech company to bear can take time. Um, but they do to the best of my, uh, you know, knowledge, they do take it quite seriously. It's not just about the money. In fact, quite often it's not about the money, it's about the embarrassment and, and the reputational damage of having been exposed. Um, and I know that in previous talks we've, um, we've talked about investigative journalists, the role of investigative journalists, um, and you know, there've been some great investigations into misuse of data. Um, it does mean that us as consumers, we have to keep a top, you know, kind of keep on top of all of, um, that information out in the media. But it really is worth reading, you know, some of the work of those investigative journalists about misuse of data.'cause it's our data. And I I should mention, we are gonna have a talk about data protection for thrill seekers later next year as in, um, calendar year 2024. But as part of this series, um, lecture five, I believe, of this year's series, we're gonna be talking about why data protection isn't just about zeros and ones and abstract administrative offenses. It actually affects our lives. So Nathan's asking, we've had a long, slow phase. And actually there was another question similar, um, where most devices are not used, they're not fully reliable, they would be a bit fed up with them. When do you think we'll finally be there? Oh goodness. I knew I'd have a question about the timeline, and that's a, that's a really difficult one. So there's, there's two aspects to this. Um, one, I think when we look at all of this, like for those of you who came to my Metaverse lecture, you'll see that there's a kind of a similar aesthetic here. Um, and, and really what I'm wanted to convey here is that we've got a bunch of technologies that already exist and are already being used in different parts of the world or in different sectors. What we need is for them to mature separately, also to accelerate each other's developments and then to be interoperable. And that interoperability is the really difficult bit. So, um, you might have noticed in the news this morning there was a statistic about 2.7 million smart meters not working smart energy meters for those of you who are outside the UK listening. Um, and that's out of about, I think, 33 million that have been deployed. And you will also know that over the last few years, one of the major headaches has been that if you've got a smart meter and you switch energy suppliers, you can't use that smart meter. So that, that seems like something that's a, a great example of what needs to be fixed in order for the internet of things to be interoperable when we're looking at something like, um, autonomous vehicles. Um, yes, we've had some legislation introduced in the King's speech at the opening of Parliament, um, the Automated vehicles acts, um, and you know, that's brilliant that that's coming through. But one of the things that's, that's stipulated in that proposed legislation is that what we need before we can have anything else is a central register of all the different traffic regulations in all the different local authorities. Because if you don't have a central published register of that autonomous vehicle manufacturers and public transport networks, they can't all be singing from the same hymn sheet of what's permissible in a particular town or a particular village. Um, so there there's lots of infrastructure that we still need to have in place, and that's, um, a very long-winded way of getting outta putting a timeline on it. But, um, I do think that that timeline of 2030 for introducing six G is going to be really interesting because if we hit that target in some countries around the world, um, in the same way that we've hit the 5G target in some countries around the world, that will just enable a lot more connections and it will enable greater interoperability. Because the other thing is, once we've got all the connections and you've got all the different towns and their different things, who is going to be in charge? So if you've got your smart city, who you've got the different Tesla, whatever, different manufacturers who is going to run the whole place, I suppose even within a city or a town, Well that's it. And I, and I think one of the things we're seeing in information technology more generally in all different aspects of it, um, is this trade off or this, this kind of, kind of face off even between centralization and decentralization. So even thinking, you know, going back to the metaverse, which is, you know, enabled by the internet of things connected devices, um, there's a sense of, you know, there are the big four big five tech companies have the money and you could apply this to AI as well, of course you could apply it to anything in it. They have the money to develop and really spring forward with the technology. But at the same time, I'd like to feel we can be quite idealistic about this and say, well, going back to my very first lecture of last year, who owns the internet? Well, we all do. Well, we all should do, but who controls it is sometimes, uh, a different answer. Um, but I'm certainly seeing that, that that tension again and again in different aspects of it. Yes. And, and going on from that, what about the rogue states or you know, yeah, it intimates all these connections getting, or any one of these connections getting into the wrong hands, Getting into the wrong hands being the targets of, um, nation state attacks or state sponsored state affiliated attacks. But equally, um, you know, one of the things that I've been tracking for a few years in my work is looking at rogue states with kind of rogue internet domains that there are certain countries where it's easier to be a cyber criminal than others. Um, you know, so it's, it's not impossible and it may already be the case, so apologies if you already know that this is happening. Um, it may already be the case that, you know, there is a bunch of people with a load of raspberry pies or similar, similar, um, single board computers, um, you know, using that processing power to launch cyber attacks. So this is my last one I'm gonna take from here for now. It's overall is the massive growth in the internet of things a good thing or bad thing? Oh goodness. So if, if I, if I go back to my dad's example, I abso I thought the fact that he had this pacemaker defibrillator, it was absolutely brilliant. You know, so if connected technology is, um, giving people longer lives, better quality of life, greater independence, let's, let's say in their home environments, um, if it is giving them, if it's making them, you know, more connected, traveling around to places that they couldn't otherwise go, you know, even on a consumer level, I think that is a fantastic thing. But we come back to, you know, every information technology that is introduced or every development in it that is introduced brings benefits and it brings risks. Um, and so I am a little bit nervous when I see regulation and I see policy makers who have a zero tolerance approach to risk on the internet or risk using technology because, you know, as a species, we haven't managed to engineer crime out of our societies at all, have we? You know, we, we can reduce crime, we can displace crime, but say the idea that you would be absolutely safe using it in a way that you could never expect to be absolutely safe and secure on the streets. I, I think it's unrealistic. Um, and, and I think a more realistic conversation about the benefits and the risks, it would be more helpful for everybody equally, that, as you know, my job here is to tell you what the risks are and then tell you how to, how to protect yourselves, what you can actually reasonably do to, to minimize that risk. Um, so that's really what I want to see more of a more honest conversation about the benefits and the risks. Uh, thank you for presenting a nice topic, uh, yeah. Uh, in your lecture when you are pointing to like, uh, AWS Azure and Google Cloud is actually, you know, dominating the cloud. So, and also I heard the word that you mentioned that US company, so in this scenario, what UK or Europe could have done. Yeah. So, um, that's a really good question because in the last few years I can certainly answer from the EU perspective because, gosh, I might not get the date exactly right, but it feels like it was about a decade ago, um, that the European Union came up with the idea of an EU sovereign cloud that we would, you know, foster EU innovations, that we could have a European cloud. And at the time I thought this was a really silly idea. I thought, well, that doesn't make any sense because you know, who's going to lead that and which country will be in charge? I mean, actually from a strategic perspective, in hindsight, that was a really good idea. It's not that there's anything wrong with US companies, it's that, you know, from a a geopolitical perspective, at least countries don't like to be dependent on other countries for their entire infrastructure, whether that's internet or, or otherwise. Um, you know, we do have cyber attacks against some of these large cloud providers. We do have security vulnerabilities, and that's always a worry. Um, you know, on the flip side of it, um, they, they are, you know, wealthy and large enough to be able to employ lots of really, really good security specialists. So, you know, they're, they're incrementally, they're safer because they can hire really, really good people to do that security work. Um, but certainly cloud is is one of those spaces where we have seen countries try and exert their digital sovereignty. Um, UK this is a difficult one 'cause when it was part of the eu, it was able to buy into that, you know, EU digital sovereignty as well. Now it's somewhat outside as it is with, you know, many other things with ai, with supply chain. Um, and, um, I, I think it's doing incredibly well from a startup perspective, but to be one of the big cloud providers, you've got to have that money. You've got to have the resources and the infrastructure at the moment that mostly rests with the US to a much lesser extent, it rests with China. And what we see in China is that they're to a great extent serving their domestic market and their diaspora as well. Uh, thanks very much for a great presentation. Who do you think we should be most scared of? Cyber criminals, government, or corporations? Oh, I, I don't like that question. I don't want you to leave feeling scared. Um, so to try and answer that, I mean, that's an entire, that's a, that's sitting with me and me ranting at you for eight hours about all of those, right? Um, I think we need to be holding everybody to account to the best of our abilities that, um, when it comes to the internet, it's a little bit like when it comes to outer space or the, the old great game of conquering territory. Everybody has a dog in the fight. So we shouldn't expect any of them to not have an agenda. They might have our best interests in heart. They might, they might say quite understandably or legitimately, they may feel that they do have our best interests at heart. Um, but companies, you can't get away from the fact that big tech companies do have to make money. Um, governments absolutely want to keep their citizens safe, but as we've seen, and as I've talked about in some previous lectures around the world, they have different ideas about what that safety is, and they have different ideas about, um, how they should control the information flows in their countries. And I think it's very difficult now. It's getting more difficult in fact to distinguish between the information control that quote unquote good countries like to engage in and the information control that rogue states like to engage in or some of those not so good countries. Um, I think the media has a role to play in this as well because, um, scaring people's cells. Um, and I'm not a fan of scaring people in the cybersecurity industry that's known as fear, uncertainty and doubt. It's the military terminology of fud. And I, I don't actually think that makes people any safer. I think it just scares them and I think it makes them buy a thing a bit like it was my dad, it made him buy a thing. He didn't understand what it did, so he didn't keep it up to date because nobody told him what it did to protect him. Um, so I think we need to be questioning everybody when they talk about how cyberspace should be regulated or how technology should be governed because they all have their own interests. Yes. Thank you for a great presentation. Thank you. Um, we've heard a lot about UK productivity and how it's, uh, in the doldrums. Um, to what extent do you think the massive internet of things will unleash UK productivity? And part two is, are we going to win that race compared to other states? Oh gosh. Um, so this isn't a politics talk, even though it may feel like one a little bit. Um, I, I think it will improve productivity just as it is around the world. I I, I don't see anything that is specifically UK best in class, you know, will, will steal a march on the rest of the world. I think the UK is, um, even despite Brexit actually, you know, connected to, um, the right kinds of providers to be able to make use of this in logistics and manufacturing in agritech in consumer tech, um, I find it difficult to measure or quantify in any real sense, partly because of that invisibility that I was talking about. You know, that it's so much part of the metaphorical and the literal fabric of society that it's actually very difficult to say, oh, well we're ahead of this country or, or that country. Um, it'd be interesting to dig into the stats of how many connected devices there are in, in different countries, but some of that of course is tied to connectivity at a basic level that if you've got a a, a country that's under connected in any kind of real sense, you know, in terms of internet connectivity, then it will have a, a less expansive use of internet of things. So yeah, it'd be interesting to dig into those stats. So Cuban are excellent at making things but not very good at futurology. Yeah, if you look at the 19th century predictions of what we'd be doing with these automator is that we'd all be playing tennis and reading poetry at each other'cause we'd have so much time. But instead we made a million coffee shops and laptops and wifi. So we just work all the time. So will you hazard a guess about how this might affect actual leisure time, social time, um, on a human level? You've, you've reminded me of news from nowhere, which is that lovely, um, imagining, isn't it, of, you know, industry's over, we're all just weaving and doing tapestries and I I would actually manage to do some real dul practice, I think if I <laugh> if we're in news from nowhere's future. Um, so I'm not gonna answer that in too much detail 'cause that's lecture six of this year where we talk about the future of tech and how I think you can actually start to hazard a hazard a guess at what the future might look like. But to, without wanting to, you know, steal too much of my own thunder, um, we are constantly told that you can't predict the future. We are constantly told that, well, we couldn't have expected that to happen, but we know what technology's being developed. We know what patterns have been filed. It's like with ai, yes, it's stealing a march on us, and we, and we, you know, are surprised and even the developers are surprised, but perhaps we need to pay more attention to what's being developed because we are all, every single one of us in this room is capable of thinking through the strategic implications of a particular development in information technology. And that's exactly what we're going to do, um, in my last lecture of this series in May. So thank you very much for the plug, Milton <laugh>. And On that point, thank you very much Victoria. Let, let's all join a gu. Thank you.