Make Sure the Digital Technology Works for Public Good
The connected technologies of the Internet of Things (IoT) power the world we live in. IoT systems and devices are critical infrastructures—they provide a platform for social interaction, fuel the marketplace, enable the government, and control the home. Their increasing ubiquity and decision-making capabilities have profound implications for society. When humans are empowered by technology and technology learns from experience, a new kind of social contract is needed, one that specifies the roles and rules of engagement for a cyber-social world.
These technologies have tremendous benefits and sometimes dangerous risks. Smart medical devices can efficiently regulate insulin or monitor heartbeats, alerting the individual and medical professionals when, or before, there is a problem. But without adequate cybersecurity protections, smart medical devices can be easily hacked, with potentially catastrophic or fatal results. Lack of transparency and access to these data can work against the public interest. Effective standards, policies, and regulations must be crafted that promote individual, community, and environmental protections during the design, development, deployment, use, interaction, and disposal of IoT devices and systems.