Darwin Just Got Digital

New forms of virtual life are emerging and the deeper truths of Darwinian evolution are spawning new opportunities and possibilities that we had no way of knowing might exist a few years ago. Welcome to the Internet of Things (IoT).

IoT is the world’s digital nervous system connecting intelligent, internet enabled devices one with the other. The information being shared is creating a whole new network of innovations, possibilities, applications, and services by combining and overlapping one device or solution with another. Think of your sat nav, intelligent traffic lights controlling congestion, car parking space detection and a mobile mechanic who knows that you car needs a service and where and when your car is going to be parked for two hours. With IoT in full swing you day just got a whole lot better!

As people who are fascinated by the truths of how we human beings work and what it is we are capable of achieving, when we look at the IoT we see ourselves reflected back. It reminds us of the aphorism, “You know what you know, you know what you don’t know, but you don’t know what you don’t know.”

Even the most cursory glance at the tiny time line of our existence on this planet shows us that our greatest achievements are, and have to be, those things that most people didn’t see coming or at best, thought impossible. Powered flight, the four-minute mile, faster that the speed of sound, a man on the moon, a space stations, mobile phones, and a man made digital nervous system for the world we call the world wide web, and of course now IoT.

Our party trick as a species is to do not just the impossible, but to do that which was impossible to even conceive of by the generation before. So as we get excited about the new possibilities and opportunities that IoT offers, and it is going to be extraordinary, lets spend a few moments to use it as mirror that reflect just how extraordinary we actually are already.

Just like the intelligent appliances that have sprung up to do specific jobs for us in our lives, we human beings have various skills sets, capabilities and resources that we use in specific parts of our lives. We dutifully apply them to distinct and clearly defined roles. We constantly make choices driven by, our beliefs about ourselves, work life, social life, time of day, task being carried out, habit, ease, mood, relationship etc, and these choices subconscious trigger the selection of the resource we end up using.

This pigeonholing of our resources not only limits what each is able to do for us, it cuts them off one from the other, and off from the possibility that they make combine in new and wonderful ways, to achieve new and wonderful things. Remember when the purpose of a mobile phone was to make a phone call! By combining the resource of phone calls, mini applications and Internet connectivity the mobile phone has become the smallest and most diversely capable devise the world has ever known. Impossible to even conceive of by anyone but science fiction writers a generation ago.

The choices we make about which resource to apply in pursuit of a given objective has a huge impact on our ability to achieve that objective. Imagine then what we are missing out on by not bringing multiple layers of our resourcefulness together to create new solutions and new ways to achieve our goals. The alchemy of IoT can inspire us to do just that. Now that is evolution in action. It is the inevitable outcome of infinite possibilities bringing new and better forms of life into being.

The truth is that we all already have all of the resources we require to achieve whatever it is we want for ourselves in our lives, it just that we don’t realise that. And in not knowing that, we don’t put on our wizards hat and see what magic we human beings can bring into being. How about using the Internet of Things as a role model for what we can make happen in the real world.

Lets get curious about what might be possible if we ‘mix it up a bit’ and play the apothecary with the resources we have both, individually and collectively. Inspired by IoT have some fun with a bit of RoI (Resource Integration – yes we know the ‘o’ is missing but couldn’t resist the serendipity)

We just may discover that when Darwin goes digital, the magic really happens.