A recent report by Pew Research on the “Internet of Things” suggests that by 2025:

  • “Many people will wear devices that let them connect to the Internet and will give them feedback on their activities, health and fitness. They will also monitor others (their children or employees, for instance) who are also wearing sensors, or moving in and out of places that have sensors.”
  • “People will be able to control nearly everything remotely, from how their residences are heated and cooled to how often their gardens are watered. Homes will also have sensors that warn about everything from prowlers to broken water pipes.”
  • “Embedded devices and smartphone apps will enable more efficient transportation and give readouts on pollution levels. “Smart systems” might deliver electricity and water more efficiently and warn about infrastructure problems.”

Wow. Connections will be immediate, comprehensive, and international. We will be virtually ubiquitous, and lots of people will know a lot about us, instantly and without our knowledge. Privacy as we have known it -- a thing of the past?

“Basically, every part of our life will be quantifiable, and eternal, and we will answer to the community for our decisions,” writes Laurel Papworth, who FORBES magazine has called one of the “Top 50 Social Media Influencers Globally.” “For example, skipping the gym will have your gym shoes auto tweet (equivalent) to the peer-to-peer health insurance network that will decide to degrade your premiums. There is already a machine that can read brain activity, including desire, in front of advertising by near/proximity. I have no doubt that will be placed into the Big Data databases when evaluating hand gestures, body language, and pace for presenting social objects for discussion/purchase/voting.”

Yikes.

One thing that can never be tracked are the thoughts and intentions of the heart. However, the Word of God, like a sword, can discern them; the analogy is of a surgeon’s knife exposing what’s hidden beneath the flesh (Hebrews 4:12).

The benefits, costs, and dangers of the kind of electronic connectedness envisioned in the Pew report are pronounced and worth great debate and discussion. The implications for all of our lives are difficult to grasp. Yet one thing is sure: The heart of man, “deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9), can only be transformed by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. No “wearable and scannable devices” can ever change that.