The IoT Files: Culture
In the previous IoT flies tried to outline what are, from my point of view, some key factor that have to be taken into account when talking about IoT.
The last, but not the least, point I would like to put some notes is culture.
Since IoT is something that will shape out way of life on many aspect, we have to convene that culture is a key element in order to positively and safely embrace it.
Culture refers to billions of things, from language structure to literature, from how we share information to how we get them. In any of those aspects IoT will have a great impact and relevance.
From a cultural point of view embracing IoT means, first of all, the awareness of IoT is and its implication.
This awareness and understanding will be shaped while IoT will growth and become part of our life, but if we start to talk about cultural impact of something when it is already there, it is too late.
If we weight our experience nowadays we still do not have coped, from a cultural point of view, with all the technological advantage. Sometimes we simply refuse to accept them and label as bad, ot we use it without a real comprehension.
The result is under everyone’s eye, from the rise of cybercrime to the rise of internet dependencies and the apparent shrink of interpersonal relationships literature is full of example on how we still badly cope with the new technology.
Laws also are affected by this difficult to comprehend the new environment, as management culture as well.
IoT awareness is therefore way more important since is way more pervasive than our actual technology.
A new privacy
IoT will be so pervasive that will change dramatically our perception of privacy. as a matter of fact in the IoT world there is nothing like privacy at all, somehow there is always a sensor monitoring you, and this could drive to unexpected behavior reactions. But for sure a new approach to privacy will be necessary, as well as a new approach to privacy protection. In a world where all is turned on data, those data becomes the paradigm of our reality and so we will have to deal with that accordingly.
But the changes are also related to the way we will communicate. New jargon comes out every moment, millennial have different language from generations X or baby boomers, and so IoT will developed its own language. How we will incorporate it and drive it is still to be defined, but in IoT the wide level of communication and data interchange will move all this to a worldwide scale. Language will not become a local issue anymore just because to exchange data it is needed a common communication framework. As for privacy without a common understanding of the rules will soon be turn this into a chaos.
Censorship and cultural constrain
One of the main issues IoT will bring with it is how to deal with communication restrictions, or in other words censorship. We have already mentioned censorship as one of the big issues that can affect IoT, to stress more the idea it will be not only a business problem but also a cultural problem. A world of sensor that are monitoring everything (this is the downside of IoT) can affect heavily systems believes and force some culture to close up into themselves. If we will not understand how to cope with it all relationships could be bring to the extreme.
We see it nowadays with the rise of Hate speeches, bullies, urban legends, fake stories on social media how difficult is to cope with more open communication channels, can you imagine what IoT will bring back? We have to assume that the number of data will be way more, and so the way people will interact with those data.
Who is left behind?
And the cultural issues will affect more the technology illiterate, and the ones will be left behind, marking a wider distance between the IoT world citizens and the one left behind. The digital divide is already a cultural problem, IoT will widen it up. Without the proper tools to understand this world the level of non comprehension will rise up dramatically, widen tensions.
And this is not just a problem from rich and poor countries, even inside rich countries the difference and the level of familiarity with technology vary dramatically in social groups or areas.
Illiteracy today is not just referred to not be able to write or do math, but also use internet and technology as computer or Smartphone. Just wide it up the gap with the introduction of new technologies….
How to teach all this
The root of the problem will become: how to teach all this?
Today a scholar system does not approach, generally speaking, the actual technology environment. Schools is, roughly, a century behind the modern world. Access to technology, how to deal with technology, is not common in most of the worldwide scholar system. Is not just a problem of technology in place (give a computer to every student) but also how to teach with the new tools and what to teach?
Cyber security basics, as an example, should be a mandatory introduction in any school of any grade, considering the age our children approach the technology without the proper mindset. But schools are slow to cope with the new world.
But also at corporate level illiteracy about cyber security, technology use, implication between technology and communication are the common reality, and this lack of knowledge spread at every level from the lowest to the highest. a very few exception here can be done.
This issue should cover all the aspect of educations, from first grade to university, to corporate training. We can not afford anymore children that does not know how to protect themselves from the cyber world, of university graduate that face the real world as completely illiterate of what they will find in the real corporate environment, of developers that has not the slightest idea what means privacy and security, of management that is not able to evaluate the impact of technology in their business and so on.
Not to be able to deal with this will means to be overwhelmed by the impact of those technology and, in last analysis, to be ruled out as dinosaurs.
And the list could go on and on. We can make prediction but we can’t see clearly the future (unless using a crystal ball). We need to have new cultural, linguistic, philosophical tools to help us to cope with the new reality.
What to do?
We should start it now, not waiting for some higher action. Share knowledge, awareness, talk and think about those issues is the first step to find a solution and address them.
This is also a call to be active in associations, think thank group or whatever you can to help rising awareness. and where you feel gaps in your own knowledge you can try to discuss them asking from support.