Rob van Kranenbrug
The internet of things - Rob van KranenbrugInternet of things
Cities across the world are about to enter the next phase of their development. A near invisible network of radio frequency identification tags (RFID) is being deployed on almost every type of consumer item.
These tiny, traceable chips, which can be scanned wirelessly, are being produced in their billions and are capable of being connected to the internet in an instant. This so-called ‘Ambient intelligence’ promises to createa global network of physical objects every bit as pervasive and ubiquitous as the worldwide web itself.
Some are already calling this controversial network the ‘internet of things’, describing it as either the ultimate convenience in supply-chain management, or the ultimate tool in our future surveillance. This network has the power to reshape our cities and yet it is being built with little public knowledge of consent.
Rob van Kranenburg examines what impact RFID, and other systems, will have on our cities and our widersociety; while also ruminating on what alternative network technologies could help safeguard our privacyand empower citizens to take power back into their own hands. It is both a timely warning and a call to arms.
These are pictures by Isaac Mao. I think they show why we are here. This one was taken in New York [a graffiti of Bradley Manning] I think he deserves a big hand because I think he’s one of the reasons why we're here. So we’re winning, but we’re only playing half the field. The objective is to open the military and to open the police and we can open, but still leave everything intact. In the 18th and 19th century there were guys and girls who had these birds sitting on their shoulders. I would like a small open-source drone hovering around me so that I can send it out. We can leave the drones intact, we can leave the bio-bomb detectors in our city intact, we can leave the smart cameras intact, we just take over. So we just take away the dashboards of all the people that are looking now so that we can look in as well because, what are they actually protecting? Where do we die? In the past ten years in the European Union we have had 580,000 people killing themselves. We have had 420,000 people dead in traffic. We have had under 500 people blown open. Now this is all very horrible, I’m not saying anything about how bad it is to die in any particular way. But it doesn't make sense to parse all that money to antiterrorist measures if this is not where we die. There’s more people dying falling off the stairs in their homes than actually being blown up in Europe. So where does that money go now? Our taxes. if I had full open data, full disclosure and full traceability I would sort of have a dashboard of all that data. If I had like $1000 or a thousand euros in taxes I would spend 500 of it making everybody feel good 400 of it getting everybody onto a bike and maybe I’d put ten cents of that thousand euros to antiterrorist measures, sort of not being blown up. I think we can safely do that. We know where it’s being spent now: if we have €100 over 50 is going to security. Now, whose security is that? This is of state capital security, it’s not us, it doesn’t threaten us in our daily lives this is not how we live, how we die, how we worry or how we feel. It’s threatening a particular kind of structure and the funny thing is that we’ve been paying for that all throughout history and we keep paying for that now, so, in some strange sense, we keep paying for our own prisons and we welcome that too. So let’s take a step back. In 1451 came the Gutenberg press. The kings and the queens and the nobles and the church immediately opened up the printing press distributed all the tools for learning and were all literate in Europe. 3 million of us in Europe in 1451. 60,000 people in London we were all literate by 1500. Fantastic! If only it could have happened that way. Were there libraries? No. There were no public libraries in 1400, there were no public libraries in 1500 and there were no public libraries in 1600. Actually, if you said that you wanted to read a book in your language you’d be burned in 1600. There were no public libraries in 1700 and there were no public libraries in 1800. The first public library in Holland, where I come from, was just one man doing all this. Just one man really advocating for this public library in 1918. The first public library act in England was in 1880, but the first real public free lending was in 1918. This is way too long. You cannot stop distributing learning tools for over 450 years. That’s what you think but it happened so it was possible. To not distribute learning tools when you have a chance to do so is an act of war. It's an act of war on intelligence. Basically, it's an act war on us. We now see that this has actually been a declaration of war on sharing, on collaborating, just carrying on being ashamed some sense of having some shame left. And you, who are a bit younger, growing up in the network, in this TCP/IP,WWW abstract principles of REST and the APIs. When I teach people who have actually grown up in there, they just cannot believe this clumsiness, strangeness and inefficiency when they close down their computer. The moment they close down their computers, go off their tablets or go off their smartphones and have to face the real app, the real world, it's so ridiculous and clumsy that they just tend to move through there as if they were in this dream. But they don’t really believe that they have some agency there. I think this flow of sharing was, of course, always there and it can be the internet of things and this is an extremely positive view on it, which I think I can have now. Because I think that the internet of things is actually a kind of radical transparency, where we are going to have to face a kind of transition period. We did this when the Internet came about. When the Internet came about nobody knew where the quality was. Then Slashdot made Slashdot Karma, it evaluated and it’s evolved over time. It's a process. Nobody knew how to build reputation systems online but somehow we managed and people did. So we’re going to have to go through the same phase, because the Internet of things will put everything in the light. There is very little that will escape this ecology of RFID, smart code, the barcodes, the QR codes, iPv6, active sensors. It’s basically all around us already so the question is: Can we ride it? Can we take it? Can we overtake it? Can we build a kind of TCP/IP for the real world which is a very light infrastructure and local decision-making on the ground? Can we get rid of all the states and all the supranational institutions? Can we have just the backbone and then pay as we go? 20% flat tax just on your starting up. That's it, that's all, we pay for very light infrastructure, mobility, sewage, internet, that's it, the rest is local decision-making. On the ground it's basic. Look at the writings of Errico Malatesta. Autonomy in solidarity and without really having to go in and talk about the word anarchy in one particular sense because it has such a bad name. It was deliberate, of course it has a bad name. The right things of Malatesta and the old anarchists are saying this: “Look, we want this flow, we don't want all these blockades that don't belong intrinsically to this flow because somebody put them there because of ego, status or money or all these things. They can go.” I think they can go. I think we should not be worried about this ecology of barcodes, QR codes, RFID, active sensors, iPv6. It’s all very cheap hardware, it’s not rocket science, it’s radio. There are so many people here and outside from the coding community who are very knowledgeable, have expertise about open source software and open source hardware. So I think that we can actually build that infrastructure. We have to get a little bit more solid, though. We have to get a little more political because it’s not going to happen by itself. The IBM-Cisco smart cities that are already knocking on the doors of the mayors of central Europe and basically all the cities that are going to Rio and offering the mayor a dashboard of their city. They will put everything, all the sensors in the city and then the mayor will be looking at it and getting a full view. They are out there and they are selling and they will put all the data that we paid for with public money in taxes that now they also get free and will put it in their data formats and systems mash it up in a way that we can never get the real raw data out there again so we’ll have to keep fighting their systems and their formats over and over again This is what we see the separate with basically computing from 50s. It’s not necessary but it means that we have to sort of shoppin’ up got to have a story also for the mayor and also for the people running the cities but it doesn't have to be a dashboard for the mayor, it can be a dashboard for the community. It can be a neighbordhood dashboard with generating the data. We should own the data we should also enrich the data in the neighborhood and then decide to sell to what service you want to sell or start up the service on our own on this open backbone. So we should not occupy the tax basis. Of course I have great respect for all the people occupying the space at this moment. All these dead sort of squares and all the fantastic camps out there of people occupying... but these systems are dying they're sort of dead and gone anyway. We should occupy the new gateways to the new forms of power. Siemens has a hearing aid, which is an ambient hearing aid, which means that if you walk into a city and if there's a fire and the fire truck is on the other side of town your hearing aid knows that fire trucks is on another side of town before you hear it because the hearing aid is online just gets all the information. So as you walk into the fire truck making all the noise you're hearing aid starts to dimid already. This hearing aid will get some patch for getting some date of your buddy and some sweats and heart rate and e-health sort of things... so people are now looking what's the gateway to the body area network. That can be glasses, hearingm aids T-shirts. We all know about smart meter in the home which is the gateway to the local area network your home. Basically all the big data aggregator companies have bought small smart metering because once you hold the gateway to the home it will be like the API to the home so you will have an interface and saying “okay now I at this neighbor for two weeks entrance to my home I will be nearing my living room still in my car but I’m going to put the lights up.” The light bulbs will be IP 4/6 lights. Your fridge will have IP 4/6 internet connectivity. Everything with software in your home will have Internet connectivity and you want access that from outside your home in a kind of secure way. So once you’re on that gateway, once you have smart meter, you control everything that is going in and outside of that house. The wide area network is the car. By 2015 you will have e-call which means if a car gets an accident it has to call the police or... it has to notify some instance that it had an accident. So there is going to be a lot of software in the car already but also the internet.
You’re in car. You feel a little bit sick. The car is noticing you’re feeling a little bit sick and it wants to let your home know you’re gonna eat, so it’s going to report that to the fridge. This fridge will be given to you by your local food store or a big chain of food stores, because they will simply give you a fridge and you will lease the food - the storage of food - that you will have in your house from them. The fairly wide area network is a smart city and every city is trying to get smart. Fortunately here in Belgrade we hacked the smart city because the mini share got the smart city URL and if you Google smartcity.rs within a few weeks you will see our consultants who are six yearolds and seven yearolds. Kids will be consultants for smart Belgrade and I think they will do a great job. Now this is where we got to be. The coding power and the hacking power we all have and that a lot of our friends of ours have should not be directed now against hacking all these old, dead systems. It should be building the new gateways for the new systems cause that's where the power is going to be, because whoever controls that flow, that seems flow, that's the new power. So forget about your problems, forget about politics, forget about politicians... they’ve got really, really no say in these matters. What's being built now from the ground up is this new seamless flow - the flow between these gateways. Now, it can be open if we build it or can be closed. If it's closed we will live in 10 years from now in a world with 500 military zone smart cities and Mad Max in between. So we either stop building our technicals, which I think is something nice to dolike fab lab technical or two, or we can start getting serious and start trying to use all the power that we have, all the coding power, to get into very mundane things. We should start making open-source washing machines, open source coffee machines, open-source toothbrushes. We should try and get the object, the devices, and it should run not on the iPhone but on something that we can build ourselves. We've got the milky mist platform, we’ve got raspberry. We have 80 tablets that we can put on so we could actually try and build that device ourselves, and then put the security in there that the security people want to know about. Now we are going to run into a lot of things. Up until now it's been, not for everyone, of course, that we’ve seen, but up from now for most of us it’s been a free ride, like a holiday. Still it’s a little bit of a holiday, but we’re going to run up against really big blockades, because, once we get serious, once we start asking data from the police and the military, once we want to open up their networks because we paid for them, then we will run into some trouble. There will be passports, taxes, titled visual systems so we must organize. In a very light way we cannot have structures, we don't want them and we will not have them. But we can have a kind of platformist ideas. The first thing you should all do and I hope you do it now is to delete your Facebook account. I think you have to do it. (Applause from audience.) I really think you have to do it. I did it 14 months ago and since then the whole new world opened up for me I'm back to reading books. I’ve got my life back. Out of the 880 friends I deleted only one came back to me and said “why did you delete me?” I said “I’m sorry I just deleted everybody... But it got out of hand and It’s an enormous amount of energy and It’s wasted. We should get this energy back into the real world, into the streets, into where we live, back into the devices that we use. So that’s step one. I hope that the Facebook servers will see a massive of drop-down from Belgrade at this very moment and that this will spread and then it will sort of end up... I don’t care. The next thing is: we smile... which is the most subversive thing to do now because we are winning! We have to occupy the sides of optimism. We should leave the side of optimism to sort of just do all these things so that's really important if the old crews are happy... yeah this will be really good. The third step is up to you. It is up to you because you know what to do. But there were some good things. For example, in the 70s the FBI agent in San Francisco wrote to Hoover that the only thing he could actually see that the Black Panthers were doing was feeding breakfast to the kids. Basically that was all they were doing. Then the young lords in New York at the end of the 60s and beginning of the 70s, started also to do these breakfast programs but they also noticed that there was a lot of sickness in the area and so they went and did door-to-door TB testing and at one point they liberated it “TB testing truck” and took it to the neighborhood and rent 700 people through it. At one time they held the Lincoln hospital for 12 hours to test all the sick people in the neighborhood. I think that's a good tip. So we do 3 things: we delete facebook, we occupy the gateways where it matters, and we liberate hospitals. Thank you.