Do we have to call it the “internet of things”?

Just about everything around your house is being made “smart.”

Connected thermostats, coffee mugs with firmware, Wi-Fi-enabled lights, activity-tracking dog collars, programmable water bottles, even stick-on fingernails that connect to an app that reminds you not to bite.

OK, we made that last one up. But it can’t be far off, can it? The so-called “internet of things” is already big and growing fast. By 2021, the market for all things connected is on track to pass $500 billion. There is no upfront connection or service fee to make these things work, and work together, because we pay for them with our data.

So what are we giving up for the convenience of all these services? How can these big tech companies keep all that data secure? And how is 5G connectivity going to work when the number of networked devices in your life could grow exponentially?

The Economist’s technology editor Tim Cross devoted a whole issue of his magazine’s tech quarterly to the internet of things. He’s here to answer our questions and maybe some of yours.

Plus, we hear a farmer’s thoughts on last week’s regenerative agriculture conversation, and some more creepy ad tech stuff.

When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for new daily Alexa explainers on the primaries and State of the Union, and subscribe to our newsletter. If you missed it, here’s last week’s issue.

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