Can things really be smart?
Is a thermostat programmed to change based on time of day and weather conditions “smarter”? How about a chat-bot that answers your customer service questions? What about an email feature that automatically sorts messages based on your past activities?
In many cases when we hear “smart [thing],” it’s a synonym for some kind of software automation based on sensors, data collection, or connected devices. Nearly half of Forbes “17 Top Enterprise Tech Trends for 2017” relate to ideas of “smarter” services, apps, products, infrastructure, and lifestyles. The assumption is that by automating as many aspects of a process as possible, we’ll get better results.
I’m not convinced that’s the case.