If you have seen Pierce Brosnan’s latest movie, you know that a smart house is a dangerous house. It takes just one pshyco hacker to turn high-tech conveniences against you. Smart appliances have been emerging for quite a while now and promising us an easier life, but at what cost? Setup is a Dutch media lab focussing on how technology can impact our culture. In their expo Devious Devices, Setup asks the question ‘what if our devices turn against us?’
They came up with several ways in which devices could actively work against us. IRIS, for example, isn’t your regular voice assistant. You can ask her any question but IRIS has a very strong bias toward its producer, advertiser or government (or anyone for that matter). So the answer you’ll get, might not be, completely true.
Photo's by Setup
'Taste Your Status' also has a dark edge. This coffee machine will determine how your coffee tastes based on your home location. If you live in a bad neighbourhood your coffee will taste the same. Which is similar to the toaster they developed which will deliberately burn your toast when you have a bad online profile.
All the smart devices in your house generate data. Setup predicted that the word of this year could be ‘data-discrimination’. This implies that big data would be used against us creating a ‘safe’ new world where you would have to watch your every move. This scenario was beautifully visualised on the first episode of Black Mirror season 3.
What this all shows, is our incapacity to keep up with technology. Laws and social structures try to adapt but aren’t changing fast enough. So can we handle this wave of change or will we be swallowed by our self-generated tsunami?