R.I.o.T. – Rifkin’s Internet of Things

Rifkin’s view of the Internet of Things is based on his analysis of economical, societal and historical events which lead the path to all Industrial Revolutions, defining that the communication and energy matrices are the one determining the way economic power is organized and distributed in every civilization and making possible any Industrial Revolution. The same is happening in this century where the basic pillars for the Third Industrial Revolution (TIR) are just being laid as Internet and Renewable Energy are already substituting the Second Industrial Revolution Infrastructure.

He describes accurately how the Communication Internet is converging with a nascent Energy Internet and Logistics Internet to create a new technology platform that connects everything and everyone. The Internet is a system organized by and agreed-upon set of protocols that allows computer networks to communicate with one another.
Nowadays we are seeing a growing number of devices (not only standard PC, Laptop, Tablet or Smartphone but any kind of device) being connected to the Internet.
At the moment we have already reached more than 14 Billion sensors attached to natural resources, production lines, electricity grid, logistics networks, recycling flows, homes, offices, stores, vehicles, and even human beings, feeding Big Data into a global neural network we are calling the Internet of Things (IoT). This number is supposed to grow to more than 100 Trillions by the year 2030. This rapid growth and deployment is asking for a new model of managing access to the infrastructures by implementing technologies where prosumers can connect to the network and use Big Data, analytics, and algorithms to accelerate efficiency, dramatically increase productivity, and lower the marginal cost of producing and sharing a wide range of products and services to near zero.

In his last book “The Zero Marginal Cost Society” Rifkin says that:

If the steam engine freed human beings from feudal bondage to pursue material self-interest in the capitalist marketplace, the Internet of Things frees human beings from the market economy to pursue nonmaterial shared interest on the Collaborative Commons. Many – but not all – of our basic material needs will be met for nearly free in a zero marginal cost society. Intelligent technology will do most of the heavy lifting in an economy centered on abundance rather than scarcity. A half century from now, our grandchildren are likely to look back at the era of mass employment in the market with the same sense of utter disbelief as we look upon slavery and serfdom in former times. The very idea that a human being’s worth was measured almost exclusively by his or her productive output of goods and services and material wealth will seem primitive, even barbaric, and be regarded as a terrible loss of human value to our progeny living in a highly automated world where much of life is lived on the Collaborative Commons.

He also recognizes that Gandhi’s ideal economy bears a philosophical likeness to the Collaborative Age. His view of self-sufficient village communities joining together and rippling outward into wider oceanic circles that extend to all of humanity mirrors the community microgrids that connect in ever more distributed and collaborative lateral networks in the TIR economic paradigm.

Today, new technologies for managing communications are changing the very nature of  communication infrastructures. Smart Devices, Mesh Networks and Distributed Ledger  are among the new technologies that will permit the harnessing of near zero marginal cost communications to manage near zero marginal cost renewable energy, and give society the critical operating platform to build out the Internet of Things infrastructure and change the economic paradigm.

As the rollout of the IoT becomes widespread, connecting everyone and everything in a neural network raises privacy issues and could seriously compromise any personal or corporate information associated with Internet connected devices. This is an important aspect with which we are willing to engage by providing distributed autonomous internet and energy solutions for a TIR society. Fostering the adoption of the distributed model with standard protocols by providing tools that simplify the process of upgrade of actual infrastructures and implementation of Automation and Distribution Systems.
In the IoT age, individuals will have to set their privacy policies for every daily activity. These policies correspond with their counterpart in the distributed network of databases, giving to the users a granular control over the data they are willing to share. In this way the entire identity is not needed in order to offer services on a particular activity. As citizens generate the data, they also decide who to sell it to in order to enrich it with, or they can decide to keep it for themselves.

The distributed network of databases forms the next layer of smart connections. They
will be powered by autonomous agents, perform transactions (based on blockchain technology) and connect to each other via mesh networks. As more of the decision-making moves from the application layer (Web Browser / APPs) down to the agent layer (Back-end), the global system will start becoming smarter.
This can only be achieved with a decentralized model based on distributed p2p networks and smart energy controllers collecting the BIG DATA, while preserving different levels of privacy and providing higher security standards.
A set of tools like the one provided by DAJIE are necessary instruments to build a sustainable and efficient IoT infrastructure, giving anyone the chance to:

• build owned networks of communication, connecting each other autonomously
• produce energy, store it, use it and exchange it with the neighbourhood, reducing at the same time the portion of energy being wasted by the centralized model
• help protect the environment by monitoring all the local resources available
• transform local resources in a profitable and sustainable source for providing services to the communities
• keep homes interconnected and safe, preserving the right for privacy and transparency, enabling the possibility to choose how to interconnect through other communities.

Because IT computing, wireless telecommunications, and Internet technology are increasingly being deployed to organize and manage information, green energy and electricity, 3D printing of infofactured products, online higher education, social media marketing, and plug-in clean transport and logistics, the networked Commons becomes the governing model that envelops the entirety of the Internet of Things.

A new society based on Collaborative Commons is flourishing, taking advantage of technologies to find new solutions to old problems and foster a distributed, collaborative, peer-to-peer economy where the cost of production is reduced to almost zero margin and knowledge is shared among all peers for free.

This IoT infrastructure can be built from default free, open to anyone for access, respectful and sustainable, away from corporate needs which are often mired only to profit, a profit which has a short term of life as it is unsustainable and against all the laws of thermodynamics. Thus, the main purpose of this Technical Table is to outline the path to a resilient IoT infrastructure by supporting the development, deployment and management of revolutionary technologies and models which might help protecting the spreading of democratized communication, energy and logistics, allowing billions of people to be individually “empowered” and increasingly collaborative, protect the Biosphere and give birth to a zero marginal cost society.

We are aware that the IoT Rifkin has in mind is very different from the IoT that some incumbent operators or monopolists would like to see implemented. The empowerment of the individuals to produce and share their energy on a free market according the Open Source practices, and the independence achieved through the logistics and transport Internet is not a perspective that many large corporate companies would like to see in the future because it lowers their profit margin below what they consider acceptable standard and allows unwanted atomized competition. But deprived of these basic principles, the Internet of Things becomes something else. Something very dangerous for our democracy. That is way the Third Industrial Revolution European Society has created this Technical Table (=work group) to promote the “Rifkinian” aspects of the IoT.

The work group is divided into interdisciplinary groups approaching the different aspects in specific ways. The groups are:

  1. IoT for energy efficiency and production from renewable sources
  2. IoT for energy use efficiency and personal comfort in old and new constructions
  3. IoT for energy storage
  4. IoT for distributed smart grids
  5. IoT for transport and logistics
  6. IoT in Industrial processes
  7. IoT for food and agricultural processes
  8. IoT in Health systems
  9. IoT for Environment and natural resources preservation
  10. IoT in the Circular Economy


Valuable Online Articles:

The Internet of Things