In 1890, in the horror story, "The Great God Pan", Arthur Machen touches on the horror that lays in wait within the Internet of Things:
"What would your feelings be, seriously, if your cat or your dog began to talk to you, and to dispute with you in human accents? You would be overwhelmed with horror. I am sure of it. And if the roses in your garden sang a weird song, you would go mad. And suppose the stones in the road began to swell and grow before your eyes, and if the pebble that you noticed at night had shot out stony blossoms in the morning?"
That the Internet of Things, a thousand objects enchanted with spimes, would unleash a thousand tiny horrors isn't so far-fetched. Nightly, I read ghastly fairy tales involving animate objects and the witches and sorcerers working evil through them. Mike Kuniavsky presaged "The coming age of magic" almost a decade ago. Over a decade ago, Adam Greenfield's, "All watched over by machines of loving grace" laid out a ubicomp white hat personal code for Boxes and Arrows. Now, when Matt Webb waxes on about conversational UIs, it sounds like we will initiate ritual summonings via SMS.
Cross-reference Marsha Haverty's, "New structural properties of information architecture", Andrew Hinton's, Understanding Context, and Dan Hill's, Dark Matter and Trojan Horses, and Information Architects, the designers behind the design, start to seem a lot more like shamans and witch doctors. I'm reminded of how Crowley tied "magick" to the exercise of one's will. Making sense remakes reality.
If the Internet of Things seeds the fabric of everything with magic, to what personal code must you pledge yourself to ensure you use your powers only for good? And then, what of the sorcerer's apprentice? What safeguards must you put in place to stop the runaway mops and buckets?
What if the safeguards fail? What if the algorithms we cast for our protection run awry? On the scale of personal embarrassment, traffic jams, and thermonuclear war, what kinds of disaster should we expect when objects talk back?