Smart is a euphemism for surveillance

I’m working on a new book for Hillsborough River Press and came across this article – Smart Toilets: The Jetpack of the Bathroom.

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.

One thought on “Smart is a euphemism for surveillance

  1. Last year there was a spate of TV ads from car insurance companies touting their driving apps. Essentially these apps were to monitor your driving and then offer you discounts to your premium as a reward for “safe” driving.

    No mention of all the other, not so great, ways that could work out for you.

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