Since the dawn of the phrase, “Internet of Things”, around the beginning of the second decade of this Century, arguments challenging grandiose predictions about future human existence declared by technologists have increased proportionally to the frequency of predictions. Ironically, many, including this author, do not oppose innovation; more accurately, we challenge the material and universal behavioral changes promised as innovations are being introduced through marketing positioning. Such arguments have come from within academia, policy centers and even from technology innovators - concerning science fiction-like and predictive rhetoric that ultimately cause societal anxiety, confusion or fear. Marketing has taken on a dual position in that, once a product’s key technology is categorized to support your lifestyle or organization, a secondary pronouncement follows stating that it will change behaviors held by all society. It’s not unusual to read and hear of such comments coming directly from a CEO or product engineer if there’s wide name recognition. In fact, thought leaders will draw attention to themselves when the company’s marketing and public relations teams’ press releases swell with certain hope-filled aspirations to unify the global divisions we’re all witness to. To date, the most elaborate manifesto appeared directly on Facebook from Mark Zuckerberg on February 16, 2017 titled, “Building Global Unity.” At this time artificial intelligence, robotics, sensory products, autonomous vehicles and genetic engineering account for most of the innovative areas.
The best clue to identifying ideology is hearing, “we will all change our way of life." We believe that if the folks who build these technologies are that progressive then the likelihood that they have the answer as to how humans will behave in those environments is also worth our attention. To prophesy is like releasing helium balloons at a circus, like voices proclaiming a grand reformation of how people behave in the center ring all the way to the outer rings of social engagement.
Robert P Waters 2017