Make Tech Easier writer Miguel brought up a great question in his article this week, Does Putting Tech in Cars Make It Easier for Hackers to Start Your Car? You can read the article for the answer to that question, but it made us wonder about the efforts to attach so many things to our phones. This led us to ask our writers, “Is it going too far to connect literally everything to our smartphones?”
Ada notes that “just because you CAN doesn’t mean you HAVE to.” She feels it’s great to have a choice, but that people really need to use that choice wisely. Additionally, she doesn’t want anyone to “forget that any technology is hackable,” so when you connect it to your smartphone, “you might be opening the door to hackers.”
The first thing this question made Alex think of is the digitally-connected hairbrush from L’Oreal that was promoted last year at CES. But he agrees with Ada. While it’s cool to be able to connect our phones to everything, “the actual use case for a lot of IoT products seems pretty limited.”
Simon feels “it’s fine if attaching a device to a smartphone is an optional quality-of-life option instead of being the ONLY way to use the device.” He’s seen products that don’t allow you to modify the settings until it’s connected to a smartphone app, but that makes him uneasy. Additionally, if your phone gets lost or stolen, he notes you’re then locked out of every appliance in your home. He sums it up saying, “As long as I can use devices outside of a smartphone app, I’d be fine with devices being able to attach to smartphones.”
Trevor takes Simon’s argument in another direction, noting that if you lose your phone or it’s confiscated, you’re giving people access to all those appliances it’s attached to, as well as email, texts, pictures, passwords, banking info, Apple or Android pay systems. He jokes that “hooking up my crockpot to the interwebs will make it easy to start cooking my ribs halfway through the day, and it won’t really cause an international incident if hackers gain access to it to mess with my dinner.” However, he sees the real problem being that it gives the www “a ton of access points for them to enter into my personal life.”
Phil is “skeptical about universal interconnectedness.” He believes there needs to be a balance between “having your smartphone be a distracting toy and being a tool,” and that’s the filter he uses to decide whether to get an app or not. He works from home so doesn’t need remote control of his house, but even if he traveled often, he doesn’t think he’d be that interested.
As for me, I just added a new smart appliance this week. I bought a smart home scale. I use the Apple Health app daily and am trying to lose weight, so it made sense to me to get something that connected back to the Health app and gave me that info. However, as much as I can geek out over this stuff, I don’t really have that much connected and don’t really desire to. As Phil said, there’s a difference between a toy and a tool. A smart hairbrush? Not interested.
Where do you fall in this discussion? Do you side with our writers and think at times it goes a bit too far? Or would you connect everything to your smartphone if you could? Is it going too far to connect literally everything to our smartphones? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.