Beware the smart society. Growing smarter is a good thing, as long as we're talking about expanding knowledge, improving on problem-solving and growing human intelligence, and even artificial intelligence.
Image by Tumisu - source: Pixabay
The problem comes when we're talking about that device we all carry around with us all day every day; the smart-phone. I don't remember exactly who it was, but one response on one of my posts talked about people worrying about implanted chips, when we're already there with the ubiquity of the smartphone; it knows everything about us, its apps keep track of personal preferences and its GPS keeps track of our location at all times, no chip needed at all as long as we're hooked on that damn device. But, like the title implies, we're growing even "smarter"...
We have a smart TV, reporting to the servers of our providers each and every program we watch. With the advent of the Internet Of Things, our printers, refrigerators and other home appliances will be always online, with the fridge, for example , armed with camera's keeping an eye on its contents and automatically ordering the things we're about to run out of. This stuff will be delivered by an automated drone delivery system, no doubt owned by Google, Amazon and the likes. The smart stuff doesn't just have to fit in our back pocket or around our wrists.
The next step is the "smart city", where all these devices of all the citizens are connected in one giant grid of AI driven convenience.
A smart city is an urban area that uses different types of electronic Internet of things (IoT) sensors to collect data and then use insights gained from that data to manage assets, resources and services efficiently. This includes data collected from citizens, devices, and assets that is processed and analyzed to monitor and manage traffic and transportation systems, power plants, utilities, water supply networks, waste management, crime detection, information systems, schools, libraries, hospitals, and other community services.
Now grow the smartness one or two levels more, and we end up with a smart society, full of sheepish people ruled by the owners of all the technology.
The sad thing is that it really could be as Utopian as all of it sounds; our lifes would certainly become more convenient, what else is progress for, one might ask. But it won't be. We know it and we know why. As long as a small minority owns all this life improving stuff, they will use it to rule our lifes; 1984 and A Brave New World come true all at once. No subdermal implants needed whatsoever...
Here's the intro to the below linked video on the subject:
‘Smart Cities’ represent the fusion of urban development, ambient intelligence, the Internet of Things and big data. Both a major focus of city planning and a huge growth industry, these initiatives are increasingly presented as an ideal solution to multiple urban social, environmental and security problems. However, being reliant on ubiquitous sensing and surveillance, Smart Cities intensify existing concerns around privacy and other human rights, neoliberal urbanism and the privatisation of urban space, and create new problems around autonomy in increasingly autonomous and intelligent environments.
CPDP 2017: SURVEILLANCE AND PRIVACY IN SMART CITIES.
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