Eventuality of an Apartheid State of Things: An Ethical Perspective on the Internet of Things

Eventuality of an Apartheid State of Things: An Ethical Perspective on the Internet of Things

Sahil Sholla, Roohie Naaz Mir, Mohammad Ahsan Chishti
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/IJT.2018070106
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Notwithstanding the potential of IoT to revolutionise our personal and social lives, the absence of a solid framework of ethics may lead to situations where smart devices are used in ways uncongenial to the moral fabric of a society. In this work, the authors seek to provide a conceptual framework toward incorporating ethics in IoT. They employ the concept of object for each smart device in order to represent ethics relevant to its context. Moreover, the authors propose dedicating a separate ethics layer in the protocol stack of smart devices to account for socio-cultural ethical aspects of a society. The ethics layer enables us to account for ethical responsibilities of smart devices vis-a-vis society so that inadvertent physical, emotional or psychological harm to human beings is avoided. Such mechanism ensures that devices operate ethically not only at individual level but also at D2D level to give rise to high order ethical structures e.g. ethical home, ethical office, ethical university, ethical city, etc.
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Is The Internet Of Things Racist?

In the IoT world, sensors embedded all around us could gather colossal individual, organizational and government data. However, mere collection of data by ubiquitous sensors and subsequent processing represents oversimplification of the IoT vision because not all trifling details that could be sensed are relevant to the context of an application. Although, smart services that IoT seeks to provide would necessitate collection of certain data, unbridled surveillance over public and private lives of people raises serious security and ethical concerns (Michael, Michael, & Perakslis, 2014). Such apprehensions assume greater importance due to increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) embedded in smart devices, as Rosalind Picard, director of the Affective Computing Group at MIT articulated, ‘The greater the freedom of a machine, the more it will need moral standards’ (Picard, 2000). Also, people must know and be able to manage what type of data are collected by their smart things, how they are shared and its implication for their moral and ethical lives. The situation is even more exacerbated by the recent exposé that 70 percent of IoT products contain some kind of security vulnerability, according to a research study by Hewlett-Packard (Hewlett-Packard, 2015). Moreover, it is envisioned that cloud services would be able to auction large volumes of user data to third parties or end users might sell their own daily data feeds to garner financial reward. Furthermore, this information could be processed using various data analytics techniques to develop entire psychological profile of an individual giving insight into the decisions likely to be made by the individual, thereby severely affecting privacy of a citizen. Similar situations might jeopardise businesses and make governments dysfunctional. Generally, industry would happily vouch for such measures as it would facilitate selective marketing of services and subsequent economic benefit, while impact on security and ethics of society is not their necessary concern (Michael, Michael, & Perakslis, 2015; Ridley-siegert, 2015).

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