The Internet of Everything: An Eco-utopia or a Surveillance Nightmare?

As a tech-nerd, I’m all about learning how new technology affects our lives. So, if you’re like me, you don’t want to miss Brett Gaylor’s new documentary, The Internet of Everything.

At first, new devices like smartphones and voice assistants appear so advanced that using them feels like we’ve stepped into an episode of Star Trek. I’m amazed by how quickly these new gadgets go from dazzling us with new features to being taken for granted. When’s the last time you pulled your iPhone out of your pocket and thought, holy shit, this little piece of metal and glass is incredible?

Smartwatches help monitor our health, messenger apps keep us connected to friends, and Google Assistant can talk you through a recipe, step by step, while you toil away in the kitchen.  It’s almost too good to be true. Naturally, the benefits of internet-connected devices must have come with a few caveats.

The Internet of Everything explores humanity’s rapid march through the internet’s evolution. Gaylor aims to start a conversation about the tradeoffs that come with our reliance on the internet. You can catch The Internet of Everything’s broadcast premiere on CBC Docs POV March 22 at 9 PM, and it’s available to stream on CBC Gem afterwards.


The Internet of Everything synopsis:

The Internet is invading all aspects of our lives. No longer confined to computers or phones, the Internet is now in refrigerators, and toilets, and is the infrastructure of our cities. The future will either be a surveillance nightmare or an eco-utopia, the outcome determined by start-ups in Silicon Valley and Shenzhen.

The Internet of Everything directed by award-winning filmmaker Brett Gaylor (Rip! A Remix Manifesto, Do Not Track) is a documentary that examines the hype and hubris hurtling towards the next frontier in the Internet’s evolution. Using the never-ending list of devices we are told we want, the film provides a landscape for a broader discussion about whether the Internet has indeed been a democratizing force or, instead, a fertile ground for the formation of new empires.

Kristina is developing a device that transmits fertility data to the cloud from inside a woman’s private parts; Nellie Bowles, a journalist for the New York Times, introduces a survivor of domestic abuse who was terrorized by her partner’s “smart home.” China’s smart city vision reward citizens for behaviour conforming to social norms, as well as Alphabet’s vision for a corporate neighbourhood built “from the Internet up.” In Barcelona, we grasp a new potential for the Internet to allow for the copying of physical goods, turning the material world of atoms into digital bits that can be transmitted at zero cost anywhere on earth.

The Internet of Everything will have its broadcast premiere on CBC Docs POV March 22 and be available to stream 24/7 on CBC Gem afterwards.