The smart home needs a narrative

living room of the future

I was reading this post and was thinking living room of the future in my head.

So I get why Google has backed off the smart home moniker and instead begun labeling the connected home as “helpful.” It needs to dial back expectations to something it can deliver. That’s likely to consist of an assistant pulling in device data so it can remind you to lock your front door when you go to bed, or lowering the heat when you leave your home so as to save on electricity. Even things like Amazon’s Guard, which listens for glass breaking to determine if a burglar has broken in, is only of minimal interest to consumers.

Because while these are nice functions, they are not glitzy functions. And they are not going to persuade people concerned about privacy, longevity, added complexity, security, or costs to shell out for connected devices. Another good example of this ambivalence to the smart home could be seen on a panel about smart TVs, connected displays and voice. The panel featured executives from Warner Media and Fox representing the content business. Neither of them were able to offer a compelling reason for being at a show all about the IoT other than wanting to make it easy for people to access content around the house, in their car, and on their phone.

I’ve felt this lack of creativity for a while. Everyone who has been watching this space has. Maybe it’s because the first decade of the smart home has been such a messy free-for-all and we need some space to clean things up, lower expectations, and focus on making devices and integrations usable

That lack of creativity is felt everytime I look at the new silos which are being built. The whole thing is being driven in the wrong direction and ultimately into the ever so cold arms of surveillance capitalism.

Its currently difficult to imagine IOT without some kind of service which is either monetizing or hoovering up data. But its exactly that which holds everything back?

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Sept 2019)

johnny mnemonic

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed by looking down at our feet or watch how democracy is being gamed and broken. To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

With a focus on new models in business, technology, society, policy, processes, etc. I present my public service internet newsletter.

You are seeing aspects of this happening as people rethink public transport.

Don’t forget if you find this useful, you will find “Public Spaces, Private Data: can we build a better internet?” at the RSA London on 21st October  2019, right up your street.

Reflections on capitalism gone wild system

Ian thinks: Rushkoff’s monologue at Betaworks Studio is breathless, funny, tragic and worth every minute of your time.

Ghosts in the smart home

Ian thinks: Lancaster University’s short about smart homes, is a design fiction which is fun, informative and enjoyable to watch. Sure some the living room of the future and petras workstream had a influence?

Black lives matter’s alternative systems

Ian thinks: Theres a question later about the media, Alicia talks about creating their own systems not just relying on what already exists.

Surveillance systems head to head 

Ian thinks: Cambridge Analytica’s whistle blower and Russian investigative journalist, go head to head discussing surveillance capitalism and government surveillance.

Suicide Is an epidemic and therapy apps are not helping

Ian thinks: As we turn to apps for everything a thoughtful look at therapy apps market good and bad. Theres not an app for everything.

The real johnny mnemonic (contains surgery pictures)

Ian thinks: Ever since Quantified Self people started embedding NFC under the skin, I wondered how far it would go. Perfect name for the software

We are not ready, privacy in 2019

Ian thinks: Really good list of the leaks, abuses, dumps and thoughts if we are ready for even more? Question is how many more before the end of year?

Emotional and erotic intelligence for an enlighten future (NSFW)

Ian thinks: Although a talk about sextech is uncomfortable for people, the subject of intimacy, human connection and self reflection are so much more important than our personal discomfort.

Danilo Milovanović public space interventions

Ian thinks: Excellent to see more thoughtful playful artistic interventions in the public realm.

Black Mirror choices can be snooped on?

Magic box

I have so much to say about Bandersnatch, most has been written here. But its clear that Netflix haven’t given up on the medium and even doubling down on it.

Something popped into my feed about some researchers paper saying you can snoop on the choices of people using Netflix’s interactive system. I’m hardly surprised as its typical network analysis and GDPR requests. But it reminds me how important the work we have done with perceptive media is.

I best explain it as delivering (broadcasting) the experience as a contained bundle which unfolds within the safe space (maybe living room) of the audience. Nothing is sent back to the cloud/base. This is closer to the concept of broadcast and means the audience/user(s) and their data isn’t surveil by the provider. This is exactly how podcasts use to work before podcast providers started focusing on metrics and providing apps which spy on their listeners. I would suggest the recent buy out of gimlet media by spotify might point this way too?

Of course the broadcast/delivery model this doesn’t work too well for surveillance capitalism but that frankly not my problem; and all audience interaction should be (especially under HDI) explicitly agreed before data is shared or exported.

I might be idealistic about this all but frankly I know I’m on the right side of history and maybe the coming backlash.