Are you ready for where the Internet of things is headed? Experts predict it will become ‘like electricity’ — less visible, yet more deeply embedded in people’s lives for good and ill…

It’s hard to believe, but the Internet has been around for 25 years. In another ten or so, we might have 50 billion – yes, billion with a B – devices connected to the internet, and they will all be collecting and storing so much data it will stagger the imagination. (Hey disk manufacturers, it’s past time for the next leap in storage!)

There will be sensors on everything! I can see our refrigerators notifying local grocery stores (probably owned by Amazon or Wal-Mart and running software powered by Google) when the milk is running low (I’m not crazy – they do this with soda). It might even be delivered by a drone and put away by a robotic pet. Sounds good doesn’t?

Such systems might even enable autopilots in our cars, and the automatic reconfiguration of traffic patterns to alleviate congested roadways…

As good as those things sound, and indeed will be, such data collection could be harmful, too. Suppose your car erroneously detects that you had a beer earlier? And that’s nothing – suppose someone writes a worm that attacks insulin pumps…

There’s good and bad ahead for the future of the Internet of things. We need to think through and prepare for a world where the Internet is a ubiquitous, planet-wide fabric.

Read the article at the Pew Research web site.