Jon Evans has a short but well-done piece about “The Internet Of Someone Else’s Things,” in which he argues that the Internet of Things
will subtly redefine ownership as we know it. You will no longer own many of the most expensive and sophisticated items you possess. You may think you own them. But you’ll be wrong.
They say “possession is nine-tenths of the law,” but even if you physically and legally own a Smart Thing, you won’t actually control it. Ownership will become a three-legged stool: who physically owns a thing; who legally owns it; …and who has the ultimate power to command it. Who, in short, has root.
It feels a bit like Uber for your house, though that’s imperfect. What I mean is that Uber doesn’t actually have any employees or own any cars, but still wields plenty of control over drivers and destructive power over cab companies. Evans imagines a future in which you’re still buying and paying for things, lodging them in your house, and using them, but no longer having total control over them. These objects can report on you; there may be rules about how they’re used; they could still be in communication with, and responsive to, their makers; and there’s the chance that they’ll act not in your interests, but the interests of the companies that control them.