Dr John Barrett talks to Big Picture Science

Dr John Barrett talks to Big Picture Science

  • Post category:News

The Nimbus Centre’s Head of Academic Studies Dr John Barrett talks to Seth Shostak for ‘Big Picture Science’ about the Internet of Things.

Entitled ‘Living Computers’ Seth talks to John about how computer technology has transformed our lives and what the future may hold. The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to connecting everyday objects to the cloud and is already evident in many aspects of our lives, such as home automation and health and fitness monitors. John also talks about how IoT is benefitting industry- take for example agriculture where IoT is used to monitor crops and soil conditions to optimise growth patterns.

Other areas discussed are the stages involved with connecting objects to the internet. Firstly the object must be given a unique identity. The object must also be able to communicate data wirelessly through embedded systems and finally, report this data.

John goes on to discuss concerns surrounding IoT such as security and privacy. He says that Europe’s ‘Right to be Forgotten’ law may become impossible to implement. However John believes the positive impacts far outweigh the risks. He talks about how IoT can decrease traffic congestion and make driving safer, and how health monitoring can detect problems early before they escalate into something serious.

Ada Lovelace, a pioneering mathematician from the nineteenth century said that computers would never surpass human ability. But with today’s dramatic technical developments allowing devices to become increasingly powerful, will she be proved wrong? John doesn’t think so. He believes machine to machine (M2M) communication and the concept of Artificial Intelligence will always rely on human thought, creativity and imagination.

Other guests on the Living Computers segment include:

  • Walter Isaacson – President and CEO of the Aspen Institute and the author of ‘The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution’
  • Christopher Voigt – Bioengineer at MIT
  • Andy Ihnatko – Technology Journalist
  • André Bormanis – Writer, Screenwriter, Star Trek

Listen to the broadcast from Big Picture Science here.

To hear John talk more about the Internet of Things watch his TEDxCIT video