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IOT + Ethics


The Epic Struggle for the Internet of Things, by Bruce Sterling

  • You are not the hero / user / customer
  • You are a sheep, participant in machine surveillance experiment by 5 gods (Amazon, Google, Facebook)
  • They are thieves and spies
  • Every knob is a dial or switch that can be tracked as data

The Ethics of Algorithms, by Brett Mittelstadt et al.

  • Information technology has a logical malleability
  • Like advice to a driver in a foreign land, constant vigilance is the only sensible approach
  • If I take your wifi, it’s like trespassing
  • Wild+unpredictable devices
  • Proactive v. reactive ethics
  • Technological revolution increases in impact and at the same time in ethical problems
  • Ethics is ongoing and dynamic
  • Can’t do ethics 1st NOR wait to make innovation until ethics has been figured out

The Oppenheimer Moment, by Alan Cooper

  • Can we better ancestors of what we have made?
  • How would this thing be misused // how would it benefit society?
  • See problem from different lenses:
  • Be aware of assumptions, externalities, risks
  • Consequential v. categorical
  • Ends justify the means
  • Utilitarian
  • Virtue ethics: towards evolution and becoming good: situated in social milieu

Why we need better ethics for emerging technologies, by James Moor

  • As the technological revolution has a higher impact, it exposes more and more ethical problems
  • Stealing information from someone's open wifi is like trespassing on private property
  • The cost / benefit of a product is evaluated in money, not in morals
  • Can we wait "until ethics catches up" before we develop new products with every technical advancement?
  • We must have "constant vigilance, like a driver in a new land"



What happens when things go really bad?

  • "Dog whistle marketing"
  • A phone is like a dog who can pick up high pitch noises - will pick up what we don’t even know we are saying
  • There are cultural norms around sensors and objects
  • Who is the data custodian?
  • Always on / always listening
  • The object betrayed me
  • We can see a lot from the outside of the envelope (inside is the actual video / text / pic)
  • Family uses IOT object to communicate intimate things / with young kids → sensitive data is not protected → can see a pattern in a data trail → security researchers notice this → what would an evil person do with this product?


On Ethics