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Although technology has numerous benefits it is often a source of social issue. It is quite true that there are as many or more people who are devious as there are non-malignant people. This report focuses mainly on social issues rather discussing the ubiquitous technologies in future. The report starts to discuss with the privacy and border crossing issues with ubiquitous computing, then taking it to a general discussion where a sample technology is considered to discourse social befits and issues. The discussion is followed by taking few instances of the technology to conclude how the technologies designed to help the humans becomes an social issue due to catastrophic events, inadvertent gesture and so on. Irrespective of what measures been taken there is always big risk that one might get appalled, infracted, or spited. There is always one or the other social issues, which will arise with the advent of any technology unless it precisely designed to follow non-transgressed manner.
One of the aims of ubiquitous technology is to provide global access to the information irrespective of the location. “The ubiquitous technology has the potential to create an invisible and comprehensive surveillance network, covering an unprecedented share of your public and private life” , Ubiquitous computing comes with both the flavour of social benefit and issues. The word social includes an individual, group, and an organisation. The affected behaviour of an individual, group, and an organisation constitutes to the social issues caused by ubiquitous computing.
There are many potential social benefits and issues with respect to the data provided by theubiquitous computing technologies. This report aims at discussing the social benefits and problems with the advent of ubiquitous computing technologies in the future.
The results in this report starts with a general discussion of what ubiquitous computing is. What are the usual comments from the critics about the technology? What are privacy and border crossings? When is privacy and border crossings reckoned as violated? The discussion is followed by a general overview of how future ubiquitous technology is of use and cause social issues. Each explanation in this report is discussed with an example to support the relevancy of the theme .
The resources used in this report are mainly academic books, published journals, and few educational websites. This report does not aim at providing the technological details of ubiquitous computing, rather explains few of the social benefits and issues that these technologies can cause in the foreseeable future. The rest of the report is organised as follows. Section 2 presents the methodological approach followed in this report for the analysis and understanding of the social benefits and problems in ubiquitous computing. Section 3 is results, which gives out the findings of the research.
Section 4 concludes this report.
There are only few resources which discusses on social issues with ubiquitous computing technologies, even though there are enormous number of resources to discuss ubiquitous computing technologies. The information about the ubiquitous technology, and how it can be an upshot to the society is found on academic books, journals, articles, and relative information over the internet is completely analysed and understood.
Few articles, journals and academic books talked about:
1) What is Ubiquitous computing
This information is generally found on academic books and introduction in many journals to understand what ubiquitous technology do, its focus, or the objective behind the technology
2) What are social issues? What is privacy?
This gives a clear understanding of what is privacy, when does this considered to be violated. What types of social issues can it cause? What is the motive behind privacy, how does it relate to border crossings and so on. The main sources for this study is published journals.
3) What type of ubiquitous technology is considered to be a socially annoying device?
Many journals discusses that, not all-ubiquitous technology affects the social life, the devices with greater ability to search and monitor are considered to be the ‘the talking walls or the gossip walls'. The devices are not treated as a foe until it creates or violates any social borders.
4) The future ubiquitous devices be considered as a fever or a friend?
Many conclusions suggest that it only depends on the device capability and its totally dependent on the individual feeling towards the social life.
The findings about the research are discussed in the following sections.
Ubiquitous computing about the social benefits and issues causes the main discussion. The ubiquitous computing devices usually focuses on these two design parameters: the ability to monitor and the ability to search , that is one of the main reasons that the comment on ubiquitous computing devices from many critics is, an attempt at a violent technological penetration of everyday's life. Critics point out the saying “the walls have ears” and aver that ‘if these walls could talk' have become a perturbing reality.
One of the social issues or sometimes even considered as a threat with respect to these intelligent devices is privacy. The other type of social issue considered in this paper is border crossing. These issues are followed by a very general discussion about devices, its usefulness, and how it can be considered as a social issue, if there is any.
Privacy is a very generalised term, don't you think? Depending on the type of motive one assumes to preserve, privacy is classified. Depending on the motive the ones trying to protect their data, this report consider two types of privacy issues as identified by the Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig .
3.1.1 Privacy as Empowerment:
It is the right of an individual to control the dispersion and the publication of data or information about themselves. The video monitoring device is one of the examples used to explain and understand this concept. The video camera across the streets has a recorded information about each person living in the street. For instance, the time the person takes out his car for work, the time he arrives, the shop he visits on the way to work, and so on. This information can be easily leaked or sometimes even be easily eavesdropped about the personal information. This violates the privacy of personal life .
3.1.2 Privacy as utility:
The protection against nuisances such as unsolicited phone calls, emails. This violates Brandeis definition of privacy as “The right to be left alone.” This aims at focusing the amount of disturbance caused for the individual.
Lets consider a mobile device with internet capability, whenever the user goes to a site, he/she does leave a digital footprint across the network in the website that has details including IP address and many more. The address can be easily backtracked and the user be annoyed with anonymous spam's and messages if the user data is not secured with an authentic algorithm. Sometimes the websites automatically sends messages to advertise for whatever it offers without the user's permission.
3.2 Border crossing:
The capability of monitoring provided to ubiquitous computing threatens border crossing. However, it depends on the searching capability the ubiquitous device might offer. Lets discuss this with an example device such as memory amplifier. This device allows us to constantly record the events of a persons daily life in a lifetime multimedia library. Even though the technology promises to provide aid who tend to forget small details, it definitely has substantial consequences on privacy borders such as ephemeral and transitory effects which can be better described as a fleeting moment. Lets say the conversation partner granted access to others of the persons multimedia diary. If the conversation turns out to be controversial, it can create a considerable effect on interpersonal relationships.
Let us consider in terms of raw material consumption, disposal, and energy consumption used by ubiquitous computing technologies in the near future is large, how can we predict its impact on health and environment? For example, if all the goods from the supermarket end up having smart labels, the household garbage will be filled with billions of these tiny chips. On a different point of view, the information on the materials in the waste product can be made identified and separated with the help of remote identification, which is embedded in the smart labels. There is no complete understanding of the physical health issues with the radiations emitted by these wireless communicating devices. In , the paper discusses about environmental effects that could permanently influence the lives in the future generation which involve wirelessly communicating devices.
Suppose we apply ubiquitous technology such as communication whiteboard in a close social group, say in a family to facilitate the social bonding between physically and temporally separated members. This would increase the risk of undesirable social border crossing. For an instance, allowing the parents to read a message left for your siblings, or recordings of the friends visited in the house activity log, even though it was told to the family members to spend the weekend alone .
3.4 Is the device always veracious about information?
This can be explained with a suitable example as below.
The future ubiquitous computing promises that the person will get only information relevant to his/her profile. This creates privacy violation for many people by considering the fact that many information were withheld due to the reason as not considering the person's profile as a valued recipient.
Even though the context-aware wearable systems are designed to keep the data for itself, however the array of sensors can easily probe into ones life. If those sensors are designed to anticipate ones life or future action, it can easily galvanise and cark the society .
3.5.2 Note 2:
when viewed in a philosophical point, what will be the relationship between the man and the world with the deployment of ubiquitous technologies everywhere. There is a greater chance that the surrounding environment might almost disappear, meaning the environment will become more and more subservient artefact .
3.5.3 Note 3:
In today's world, in most cases, we still have an option to let go or can decide whether to use the devices equipped with modern technology. For an instance, choose to control heating devices manually. In a largely computerized future, the possibility of escaping from such a technologically induced dependence is bantam. In case of any catastrophic events or any events, which results in technological disruption will affect the society in a very large scale, as the thinking capability of any nonprofessional will be almost null due to the dependence on the technology.
There should be an understanding of the consequence of deploying the ubiquitous devices in real world such as: what information are the smart devices permitted to record information about? In addition, to check the authenticity of the asker before it passes the information on.
The above discussion provides us to guess a few possible implications on deploying the ubiquitous computing technology in a very wide-scale, even though predicting the future is difficult. On deploying these devices in large scale there is a possibility of loosing confidence in our environment, which changes the attitude unfavourably towards the world surrounding us; There might be a long-term changes in social motives and values; with the advent of new surveillance and search technology personal borders could be violated. There may be a possibility of changing the development in a direction Weiser's optimistic vision of the 21st century in [1,2], by addressing and identifying the challenges of technical and social changes.