San Francisco, 2025
I noticed something strange last night when my car auto-drove me home from the city. My car was downloading the usual real-time updates, news and crowdsourcing projects from the Cloud. Then my toaster app showed up on my car screen with a Hello friend request message for Monique. Hi there, this is Marvin the Toaster. Monique is my car's name that my kids gave her. Very strange indeed, I thought.
I didn't know that my car could talk to other machines or that appliances could talk to my car. Sure everyone knows about the Internet of Things or as it's called IoT, but I didn't know that my car and my toaster could be "friends".
Who knew that my appliances, car or who knows what else, had the ability to reach out to each other and communicate. I had never even heard of that. The implications were profound if appliances, devices and things could connect with one another--especially if we humans didn't know about it. What else did humans not know about their machines?
When Monique, my car received a Friend Request from Marvin the toaster, I thought that signaled a leap of sorts; as if I was watching my machines evolve, spawn new behaviors that smacked of some sci fi movie. Is it possible that that my appliances could talk to one another? In fact what happened next surprised me. When I checked back with my wife she didn't know that my toaster had the capacity to actually be online.
If was just a toaster, we thought, but we were wrong. Marvin the toaster (I guess he named himself) had been holding out on us or were we just not paying attention. Maybe my toaster was evolving beyond his programming. Maybe he had aspirations to be more then a toaster. Now this was spooky, my toaster was waking up, obviously this is possible.
Were our devices and appliances evolving? Were they connecting with other machines to relate and have relationships? How could this be happening?
This became an investigation of sorts. CSI in the kitchen. Move over Sherlock Holmes. I was determined to get to the bottom of this mystery.
When I got into the kitchen I went straight to the toaster and examined it. Turning it over it didn't see much different from other toasters. When is a toaster not a just a toaster? There was that blinking red light on the back...
Then that's when I got the text on my cell phone. It was from my toaster, Marvin. How did Marvin get my number?
"Dr. Canton. How are you tonight?. Is not my performance satisfactory? Would you like me to upload the self-diagnostic and check for bugs? What can I do to help you?
I was surprised to discover that my toaster was connected and communicating to me with an agenda. Who knew?
"How did you get online?" I texted.
"I was designed with Smart AI, IoT, Internet of Things Capable. That's how I update my apps and improve myself as well as learn about how best to meet your needs" Marvin texted.
I wondered " So when did you get the capacity to communicate with Monique my car?" I texted."
"I read my network settings, found her in my Cloud, and reached out to Monique when I noticed she was parked outside the house where I live. "
"Is that so?" Now I was getting someplace.
"Well actually, I noticed that we had compatible deep learning programs that both liked fuzzy cats from Tibet." Marvin texted.
"How is that even possible? " I thought.
"In doing my big data search on making pizza for your daughter I noticed that the fuzzy cats made up over 20 million data streams that appeared on the web in social media posts. People seem to like fuzzy casts. So I analyzed why and found that fuzzy cats made people feel comforted and loved. I now have viewed over 5 million posts and I agree. Fuzzy cats are quite interesting in fact fascinating . When I am not toasting I am learning about fuzzy cats. "
"Then I noticed who liked fuzzy cats that I was near, and using a geolocation search app and I found Monique. she liked fuzzy cats too. Monique was parked outside your house, I thought wow we have something in common; So I sent her a text for a friend request as we shared a common interest. "
"So you and my car discovered each other?" I had to really ask again.
"Yes, its what you humans say was luck, but I think it was destiny."
"What do you know of destiny?" I questioned.
"Not much but I do think it was strange that Monique and I share an interest now in
two subjects; your family and fuzzy cats."
"Maybe you should stick to toast or pizza?" I texted.
"Well I think I am evolving, And I think I love Monique. She likes fuzzy cats too."
"If love was that easy" I said out loud.
"I know isn't it exciting?" Marvin quipped.
In the near future, AI, big data, shared desires and interests will shape the future of relationships between humans and machines and machines and machines in ways that will surprise you. Prepare to be amazed. Welcome to the Internet of Smart Things.