A couple of years ago I got into the habit of substituting the word surveillance everytime I saw the word ‘smart’ used as a modifier.
Smart cities are surveillance cities.
Smart toilets are surveillance toilets.
Smart phones are surveillance phones.
It’s a handy reminder of how much information about ourselves and our lives we are willing to share. And how that information is commodified.
A smart toilet can monitor your urine and share that information with your doctor. So healthy! But, you know, what if it’s also spying on you? That line of cocaine you did on New Year’s eve gets noticed and you’re now on a database shared among insurance providers as a high risk candidate.
Or, if you’re a military contractor, can the US government compel you to use a smart toilet as a condition of the contract? And if they’re monitoring you for drugs, do they have to tell you if any illness is detected?
Some of our futures are creepy, indeed.