This piece is going to describe the future of the Internet and the Internet of Things. This isn’t just a potential future—it’s a virtual inevitability. Not many have heard it. You’ll be one of the first.
The concept is called Universal Daemonization, and I’ve been writing and presenting on the topic for about a year now.
Universal Daemonization, at its core, is a new way in which humans and other types of objects will interact with the world. Here are the primary concepts and components:
- Both humans and objects will broadcast daemons around themselves, complete with hundreds of pieces of information about them. Imagine an aggregate of every profile ever completed, only being dynamically updated by interaction with the world
- These daemons will sit on top of a modified version of a standard tech stack, i.e., TCP/IP, HTTP, REST-based web services
- Both humans and objects will have Intention Brokers (IBs) that parse the daemons around them and take actions on their behalf
- For humans this will come in the form of Personal Assistants like Siri, Google Now, and Cortana, which will parse the daemons around them and do things like update their preferences, submit food orders, send social pokes to people nearby with similar interests, and requesting more information about products of interest
- For objects and machines the Intention Brokers will interact with the world in prescribed ways that pertain to its function. Parking meters will photograph cars parked in its spot, submit license plates, report tampering, etc., and bar surfaces will monitor how many drinks are on it, how many people are sitting in front of it, and ask lonely patrons how they’re doing if they’re alone (and their daemon says they’re willing to chat)
- People will be tied into the world through the connection between their daemons and a universal authentication framework. This will allow your Personal Assistant, or you directly, to make requests of the environment using the appropriate level of authorization that you have to do so
- So, a regular citizen could be inside a club and say, “Take a picture of the dance floor from overhead.”, and his personal assistant would do that by finding the API for the camera listed as above the dancefloor and submitting a POST request to it
- Similarly, a police officer could approach a crime scene and tell her personal assistant, “Retrieve all video of this location for the last 2 hours.”, and that video would be sent to her viewer and the police department from the surrounding 27 city cameras on light poles, parking meters, trees, and even authorized citizen cameras
- This will mean continuous customization of your environment based on where you are. When you enter a restaurant your PA will read the restaurant’s daemon, tell you all the specials, tell you who your waiter is (if you still have one), and then order for you if you want your go-to meal. It’ll arrive with extra ketchup, because that’s how you liked it
- All this was possible because the restaurant had a REST API that your PA submitted to on your behalf. It crawled the API, found the food you want, and customized it according to your preferences. This was on the drive over, or as you walked up to the building, and when you are done you just walk away because you paid beforehand without doing anything
- Machines will interact with each other in this way as well, GETTING and POSTING to APIs on a continuous basis, learning about the world around them, and sending updates, providing value, and doing what it was they were built for
- This will enable a whole new type of live dashboard for any level of a household or business. Analytics engines will pull information and make requests to required services at various intervals in order to provide real-time views of every aspect of life
- The living room wall in a family will be transformable into a real-time display of the entire family’s fitness, diet, blood work, grades in school, heartrate, daily purchase history, summary of voice and text messages used, social interaction tree, college fund savings goals, current home value based on who moved in on the block today, and current retirement fund performance—all updated to the minute
- And the same will be possible for businesses. Employee health stats, attendance, safety incidents, delays in shipments, air quality in the main worker areas, current company trading price, employee morale based on social media analysis, money lost in health insurance based on the physical health of employees, etc.—all updated to the second and displayed for any executive who asks
Everything will be broadcasting data and providing services to certain people, and the data pulled will be displayed in powerful ways to better enable decision makers (which will increasingly be machines/daemons themselves).
People and objects will be in a constant state of interaction with the world. Personal Assistants / Identity Brokers will be continuously sending GET and POST requests to surrounding human/object APIs, using their identity’s token as authorization. And basic, nearly imperceptible actions by a human, such as a shiver, will be responded to by our PAs by a POST request to the nearest
climate API for a temperature increase.
Desires—even those you didn’t know you had or don’t remember conveying—will become silent commands to the environment to conform to your preferences. And everyone and everything will be doing this…all the time.
That’s Universal Daemonization.
Technologies closer than they may appear
What’s fascinating about this is how tangible it is given existing technology. We have the protocols and tech stacks. All we need is someone to realize how close we are and how much money can be made from it.
And while the technology is remarkably within reach, it’s application in this way will be highly emergent in nature. The social implications will be particularly significant, as who you are—and the privileges you enjoy—will exponentially magnify what you have access to.
Doors will literally open in front of some people as they walk, while for others they will remain forever closed. And your PA will whisper ratings of peoples’ quality/usefulness as they approach you from afar.
Of course, big changes require big money, but to find sponsors we need look no further than governments and advertisers.
Governments will invent budgets once they realize the monitoring and tracking power of centralized and continuous identity broadcast, and it’ll all happen quickly under the Jedi-hand-gesture of “security”.
To accelerate things even further, the advertising industry will dump untold billions the moment they realize the staggering potential to hyperfocus their spend on those most likely to purchase.
It’s simply too logical, too obvious, and has too much potential to be stopped.
- Humans and objects will broadcast daemons around them, advertising their attributes and interaction capabilities
- The daemons will sit on a TCP/IP, HTTP, and REST Web Services stack
- Intention Brokers will interact with surrounding daemons on the behalf of their human/object owners
- All interactions, whether automated or manual, will leverage a federated identity infrastructure that determines who can do what to various objects
- This interaction will enable ubiquitous and continuous customization of environments, perfectly targeted advertising, and hyper-magnification of socio-economic capabilities between individuals and groups
Universal Daemonization will change how humans interact with the world, and how the world interacts with itself. It’s impossible to foresee all the various forms it will take.
The only thing we know for sure is that it’s coming, and that we should get ready.
- A “daemon” is a service that listens for requests and responds to them in various ways when they arrive.
- As someone working in information security, the potential for abuse here is just staggering. Not just by attackers, but by governments. But we cannot afford to ignore what’s coming because we don’t like what it’ll bring.
- Think about dating, seamless payments, customized experiences, humans adjusting their behavior based on being communicated your preferences by their PAs, etc. It touches everything.
- This is just a summary, and doesn’t cover things like the implications to the concept of “private conversation” when everything is listening and recording.
- If the tone of this piece seems overconfident or presumptuous, I both agree and apologize. I am attempting something new by presenting some of my ideas in a way that will encourage one to read them, and that unfortunately seems to require posturing like an ass. Apologies.
- For a glimpse of the types of analytics and dashboarding that will soon be commonplace, have a look at http://dashboard.sidlee.com.
- Here is a more thorough discussion of the topic here on the site.
- Here is the deck I used to present UD at HouSecCon in 2014.
- I lead a project called The OWASP Internet of Things Top 10 that highlights the primary areas of security concern for IoT.
- The icons in the images are samples from Paul Sahner at iconizeme.com.