First Click: The Internot of Things (IøT) backlash

August 13th, 2015


Consumer tech is currently bound by two extremes. On one side you have the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) characterized by too much technology. On the other side we have an equal and opposite force that tries to squelch technology and the bad habits we’ve developed around its usage. Let’s call it the Internot of Things (IøT). Both prey upon gullibility.

IoT devices are easy to spot because they’re often prefixed with the word "smart": the smart fork, smart chopsticks, smart cup, smart bottle, smart jar, smart bikini, smart bra, smart chair, smart kettle… you get the idea. Add a rechargeable battery and cheap Wi-Fi chip to any dumb object, develop an app, and voila: Indiegogo riches. Problem is, the result is always more expensive and bulkier than its contemporary and usually more finicky to use (what’s easier, hitting a light switch or fishing out a phone and launching an app?).

IøT is a backlash to the onslaught of beeps, buzzes, and messages emitted by our ever-smarter world. Internot solutions are easy to spot because of their absurd approaches to tech avoidance. Examples include the Offline chair with its Wi-Fi blocking pocket. Or the Ostrich Pillow (pictured above) with its obvious social drawbacks. Ikea’s SITTING placemat also features a special pocket to "hide" your smartphone at dinner so that you can "let go of the constant checking of social media updates." You can even buy bedroom paint and leather carrying bags to block notification triggering wireless signals.

Look, I’m a big fan of smart home technologies and gadgets, but a line has to be drawn at excess. Escaping technology shouldn’t require the purchase of another gadget. As Mat Honan once argued for Wired, "the problem isn’t the technology — it’s you."

Every gadget I own was a purchasing choice — I also have the choice to turn them off.

So do you.

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