This Christmas there’s been a big push towards ‘internet connected’ devices including connected devices: like lighting which switches on a floodlight and a camera, and stream the picture over the internet at the same time; or a remotely operable front door lock. Security audits of many of these products make for such frightening reading, its with confidence we can say A good quality community and friendly neighbours is likely a better warrant for safety and security than quickly engineered ‘artificial intelligence’ enabled ‘connected’ locks.
In the case of these ‘Internet of Things’ connected devices we have an unusual opportunity for wise foresight about how we use this technology for good. We can look at how Social Media: another pervasive, data harvesting, technology has affected our neighbourhoods and lives. Generally, apart from for shareholders, these ‘social’ platforms haven’t been great for our communities or our democratic processes. That’s a caution that we should think carefully about the community and neighbourhood impact of adopting IoT (including security products) without caution.
This Sunday many churches in the Western world remember how the Magi followed the star to Bethlehem. We celebrate their epiphany – a fancy way of saying that God turned the lights on for them as to exactly who this Jesus child in Mary’s arms was. They realised that they no longer needed to #followthestar, or indeed to fear the darkness. Instead the Christ himself would be the light for their path and lamp for their feet. It’s perhaps a thought for any looking to light up their gardens, or drives: what do you fear – and is electric light actually the fix you need?