3/365, Dumb-down Smart Technology.

This is day three of my attempt to write something, anything, every day for 365 days in a row.

Do you remember when technology just worked? Maybe I'm letting out my inner Steve Rogers but I just don't need my television, thermostat, light-bulbs, door bell, security cameras, refrigerator or car to be what is currently marketed as “smart”.

I agree that on the surface a lot of technology marketed as smart can be pretty cool – being able to see who is ringing your doorbell from the comfort of your sofa via an app on your phone is quite convenient. Five year old me would have been ecstatic with joy over the prospect of using a voice controlled, digital assistant to switch on and off the lights in my home.

What troubles me with these, and especially the various home assistants, is that in exchange for a small amount of convenience we are giving up mountains of personal data to companies whom have time and time again shown that they can not be trusted with it.

Even more troubling is that a majority of these smart technologies should not require any data being transmitted to their corporate overlords, or for their manufacturers to continue existing in order for them to work. Yet when Samsung’s SmartThings had an outage in 2018 it was reported that things like Philips Hue light bulbs stopped working and when the Kickstarter-backed startup Emberlight folded their products stopped working altogether.

I refuse to invite many of these technologies into my home with the only device that could be called smart being the TV and only because it can run apps like YouTube and BBC iPlayer. Still with that said I am not completely against having an internet connected home so long as I am in absolute control of that connectivity and own or manage the infrastructure it runs on. There are for example smart heating, lighting and security systems that can be entirely self hosted and operated from your phone remotely. They just tend to be in the minority at the moment.

In time I will likely write some more about this subject as I haven't even touched upon the security, or lack thereof in IoT devices or things like the proof-of-concept worm that could have caused a chain reaction to hack Philips Hue light bulbs.

For now I am tired, so good night.

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