Some thoughts about tech

How low (power) can you go?

How, as humans, could we adopt and adapt to the shifting technological paradigms in our society? As described in Charlie Stross’ “How Low Power Can You Go”, with the exponentially increasing energy efficiency of computers and reduction of node size for semiconductors, we are entering an era of small, ultra-low-power wireless devices.[1] He suggests that in the future, RFID chips could be so prevalent and cheap that it could be planted everywhere around the city and in your belongings. Already, this is starting to happen as we see the booming of “smart” homes, wearables, even connected architecture. Geo locating devices such as iBeacon allows places like museums and stores to track where people are and feed real time data. As Stross mentions, these connected devices have so many social beneficial applications, such as preventing epidemics and monitoring environmental conditions to give accurate local weather forecasting. For example, we could use connected devices to better manage New York City sewage system by implementing an alert system in every home to warn people of overflowing sewage and inhibit them from using water for a brief period of time.

However, the excitement surrounding Internet of Things and its impact on social change is counterbalanced by the potential risk IoT could have on privacy. Evgeny Morozov's “The Planning Machine” article from The New Yorker explains how digital utopianism does not involve using connected devices and Big Data for a social mission but rather tech giants such as Apple, Google, and now Uber exploiting and capitalizing on people’s data.[2]

My question is- how as designers could we use IoT and Big Data to balance commercial uses with social ones?


[1] How low (power) can you go? - Charlie Stross


[2] The Planning Machine - Evgeny Morozov



Jasmine OhComment