The Inevitable Future

The Introduction

The world as we know it today is not the same as what it was nearly four decades ago. We are living in a world where an invisible army of remotely controlled software bots are used to host DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack against a target. The invisible bots are Internet of Things (IoT) that are hijacked by people with wrong intentions. Back in 2016, Mirai botnet caused damage to the basic infrastructure of Internet causing service interruptions worldwide.

Traditionally war means physical damage to the countries engaging in war. Not anymore!

But in the beginning of the 21st century, it has found its way into cyberspace. Here is a map that shows cyber attacks in real time which is developed by Norse.

Real time cyber attack (representational view only)

In this information age, “Data” is the new raw material. An individual or an organization who owns meaningful data can monetize by selling the data to other business that may use it to drive more revenue. The profound impact of software is felt across various industries and nobody in earlier days would have thought electronic currencies would cause ripples in the financial sector. Increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies challenges the Financial industry. At the end of 2017, Bitcoin reached historical high and all of the sudden, everybody knows about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Even though, it’s a speculative investment at the time of writing people are dumping money thus increasing the demand. Almost all renowned financial gurus of the world have only spoken against the rise of cryptocurrencies. But that doesn’t mean they are right. It could become a stable investment vehicle or may burst soon it is a bubble.

On the other hand, we have companies that are trying to smoothen credit card transactions by eliminating cumbersome banking process that lies behind every transaction. Advancement in software has given birth to new type of home automation devices that turns your home smart. These smart devices that are connected to the internet are collectively referred as “Internet of Things”. Data produced by such devices are converted into meaningful representation and can be sold. These are the very same devices that can also be hijacked to lend its compute power to perform large-scale DDoS attacks. If you don’t secure your smart devices, it must not be surprising when they have been hijacked to DDoS someone or an organization or for any other malicious purpose. Which is why,

In future, you just don’t build a compound wall for your house; instead, you also build a firewall.

Yes, that’s right, Security for smart things is equally important as protecting oneself physically. While the security companies do realize this, but they failed to educate users. Equally, manufacturers of smart devices failed to prioritize security for the devices that they are bringing into the market for consumers. Advanced computers and software have just put Genomics research into the fast lane. With advancement in Genomics what we get is, accurate disease diagnosis and there are many other uses. With accurate disease diagnosis, the exact cause of disease can be identified and treated accordingly. This mainly helps in Cancer treatment. With further development of software, Genomics research may even jump into hyperdrive. The agriculture industry, on the other hand, is practicing itself on how to use Big Data effectively. Data produced by sensors and devices placed at various places on a farm can be used for forecasting and to apply pesticide in specific regions instead of spraying on the entire farmland. Traditional agriculture technology companies are acquiring startups who are disruptors of their field. Acquisition of disruptive startups is common and seen across many industry verticals. One similarity is, all the disruptors are software companies.

This post is the first part of “The Inevitable Future” series. In this article, I present you with compelling examples of disruption caused by software across various industries. The article will also explain security measures in brief that are currently in practice to protect new age assets and the future of security. Throughout this article, we will be focusing on Internet of Things, Security and Technology in finance.

The Early Days

Let me explain the importance of Internet with a personal example. A few months ago, I started reading an autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi, written in circa 1927. The book contained many references to how did people live their lives about a century ago. The striking fact that I discovered after reading the book is that not much is changed in the present world which we are living in today. I do agree that the living style, infrastructure, everyday life of people around the world has changed. Similar to a century ago our mind is still the same in the way we think. Our nature to explore and to make decisions based on our experience is still the same, our ability to work towards the betterment of the society in which we live in has not changed, and our desire to create something new has not changed.

A typical village in India.

I was raised in a remote village in India, and the school which I studied was located in the nearby town. During my pre-teen years, I was confident that our generation is by far the most advanced in terms of learning and the development. I thought people who are of my father’s age are very old and they are not aware of what I have learned. I often found myself in conversing with my dad proving that I am smart and I know more than him. But my father always has outsmarted me, and it was so cool to know that he knows much better than me. During the same time, I realized that my parents and my grandmother knew things that are unknown to me because they saw the world and people much before I was born. I often like to hear stories from my grandmother about how they lived in their younger age. The very obvious reason for me to believe we are the most advanced generation on the planet is because the technology which surrounded us. I also believed that people living in developed nations have easy access to them when compared to people in other parts of the world. Most of my school days passed by just learning about things that exist in the world mainly through newspapers and television.

During my school days (1998-2002) I learned that people are using the Internet for communication, work, entertainment, shopping, etc. and in the place where I was born and studied it was unknown to most. Our school had just one computer, and it was an actually a home PC.  I certainly don’t blame them as the computers were not cheaper at that time and it was hard to get a teacher who knows how to operate one. The single computer was managed by a person who taught to students on how to use a computer. We had very limited access to the computer room. There were around 40 in my class, and we got only 1 hour to use a single PC in a week. I never had my hands on them. This was the case for most of them. The computer in our school was more of a “display item” rather than equipment which must be practiced by everyone. It never felt like I was not getting what I wanted instead it felt like I was getting more than what I had expected considering the financial circumstances and the location where I was living in. The scenario at nearby cities would have been different. For higher education, my parents sent me to a different school in a nearby small city. Even though I have traveled to the place many times before I was never part of the society. After making friends in the new place, the first obvious thing I noticed was people were different, and I got more access to media and started to know more stuff about electronics and automotive world. By this time I started to buy every automotive magazine on the stand and learned about them.  The technology that was being used or introduced in automotive systems was amazing. And there were a lot of prototypes and stories about future of cars and automotive industry, in general, was fascinating. They did talk about driverless cars, but “no article that I read said organizations such as Google would be the first to pioneer one.” Later on, I enrolled myself in a computer class where they teach Microsoft Office. Computer programming was out of the question since it was costlier and not known to many.

During those days, the mindset simply was “learning how to use the computer” rather than understanding how it works.

I spent most of my money and time at cyber café. This is the only place where I can get access to the Internet. I had gone to each of the institutes and enquired if they would allow me to use the Internet. Nobody said “yes.” Cyber café rescued me, and Google was immensely helpful because it got what I wanted. This was the time I used the Internet to learn and improve knowledge on various subjects.

With the introduction of series and my early days, I would like to conclude part I of this series and in the next post, I will write about IoT, a few examples, and Security.

Also published on Medium.