This is what I read this morning:
[The global financial crisis of 2008 was caused in part] by a de-regulated financial sector which outstripped industrial production in the last decades because finance was speculatively lending to itself (other forms of finance), rather than to industry. […]
That bit about “finance speculatively lending to itself” is what sent those shivers down my spine I mention in my title. For it gets worse: in 2009, I was told of examples of at least one bank which not only speculatively lent to other forms of finance but was also allegedly using its own lending services to lend against itself!
And, in some way, this incestuous state of affairs reminds me of the Internet of Things (IoT): that destination no one seems to care to avoid which will have machines talking to machines and mediating our every move.
Is it unfair to argue that the IoT will operate on the same machine-laden playing-field as the financial services sector did in 2008? And if it isn’t unfair, what are the implications?
The banking crisis impacted on all of us because we need money to do this and that. But many of us had savings we burnt up in the meantime; credit cards we extended; ways of ameliorating, if painfully, the situations we found ourselves in.
In an environment such as the IoT, where fridges talk directly to food suppliers and cars talk directly to showrooms, what happens when none of this is controlled by human beings?
Maybe the next big crisis, as per 2008, won’t be a banking one, as such, after all.
Maybe the next big crisis will involve a real world of people and other living beings: so studiously ignored by a machine-driven IoT that none of its preoccupations will impinge on what unfolds.