Bruce Sterling's "The Epic Struggle of the Internet of Things"


1 Like

I’m in, just because your link about Shape of Things reminded me how packed with interesting ideas Distraction was, like many of Sterling’s books. Islands in the Net was the bridge that connected cyberpunk to real-world planning for information warfare.

Anyway, if the ideas aren’t groundbreaking enough, then I’ll have to settle for the smug self-satisfaction of counting the following comments which complain about the $3.99 for a 30 page essay without touching on the content.

Yea, this sounds like it’s really worth reading, but not worth getting kindled.


In our next phase of ‘civilization’, those few places where silicon is refined and etched will become known as high-value targets.

… thereby making the Things of the Internet endangered species.

Meanwhile, I’m happy to feed erroneous data from my “things” back to the corporations who want to exploit us. This needs to happen from a lot of people – it’s a way of saying “You need to respect us”.

Not to annoy jjsaul, but I am a bit surprised at how this essay is being presented to the world. Yes, it is offered only in a DRM-ed $4 version. And it turns out Bruce Sterling’s Twitter account is locked. Both surprising. Seems the kind of author and project that Cory wouldn’t endorse were it not Sterling (whom I also like and respect and admire), and regardless this doesn’t seem the way an avowed futurist would present his or her latest essay-length insights in the current era.


Even futurists gotta eat.

1 Like

When I hit the paywall, I thought the link was broken. Isn’t the new model to give the milk away for free and make money by booking the cow at elaborate speaking engagements?

(BTW come back to Edmonton, Cory!)

1 Like

I do wonder how many people the things think live in my house.

1 Like

looks like ibooks and bookmate are alternatives to kindle for it… I can see one considering that those are not real alternatives.

Do I really want to pay $3.99, to find out that the IoT is going to enslave us?

Not really…maybe if Sterling could come up with a stunt, to somehow get it published in the Wall Street Journal…

When a Noted Futurist decides to sell his work piecemeal, rather than distribute it free on the Internet, perhaps we can infer some useful data about the future value of cash, and the movement of interest rates…he is a Futurist, after all…

As a longtime admirer, I can’t help but agree there is more than a whiff of hypocrisy/irony when the Borg-like Amazon Kindle machinery is needed to deliver a simple epub or pdf. Perhaps Bruce is doing his part to ensure a self-fulfilling prophecy.

God forbid this valuable Intellectual Property ever be distributed freely, lest too many of the wrong people find out what’s in store for us!

1 Like

I would have paid $1 or $2 for an epub or PDF from Bruce Sterling’s personal site. $4 maybe even, if I were I the right mood. I truly wouldn’t download it for free as DRM Kindle. Is this an art project or something, forcing the reader to feel gross before even starting to read? I guess I’ll never know.


By “annoy” you surely mean “delight!”

It actually does tread some new ground and make some pretty heavy predictions, most of which will already be familiar to BB and Doctorow readers, but easily merit further examination. The piece is an entry in such a deep ongoing conversation that it would probably be more suited for a wiki than a Kindle short.

It is, however, relentlessly pessimistic.

Kevin Kelly’s recent piece “You Are Not Too Late” featured here makes a nice chaser:

1 Like

For me, the question is: What are we going to do about it?

I think we should build ourselves an Internet of Our Own Things instead.

I’ll buy Bruce a cup of coffee any day. I’m not sure I agree with all of it, but if I did, it probably would have been a waste of my $4.


I still remember shelling out $3.99 for my first paperback - Rbt. Heinlein’s The Past Through Tomorrow in the early 1980s, a bit of a pulpy brick that I was so pleased to have purchased all on my 12-year-old loneself. I still have the battered, yellowing thing on my shelf.

So, I’m a bit hesitant to put down $3.99 for 32 virtual pages. $0.99 is more of a 32-page impulse buy. :::sigh::: I just don’t have the disposable (except for diapers) right now.

1 Like

Very much THIS. I’d love to start doing some home automation, at a minimum HVAC/temp control, and possibly some door control stuff. However, while there is some DIY and industrial/business grade stuff intended for apartments and the like for door control, everything HVAC or at a consumer level on anything is bundled into some kind of Cloud service (I’m looking at YOU Nest!). I was really excited when I saw a Pi based Nest replacement, then disappointed when it turned out to be a glorified art project and involved significant hardware hacks and non-disclosure of the actual steps and software.

Anyway, I don’t know what’s more insulting, requiring me to submit my house control decisions to a third party, when I’m entirely capable and setup to serve those things locally, or requiring that I PAY for them to spy on me!

1 Like

Off topic but while I do remember the first music I bought with my own money (Kiss Alive II on cassette from Sam Goody in NYC probably in 77 when it came out) I can’t remember the first paperback I bought but I feel I should remember this.