During the Internet of Things congress in the Mercure hotel in Amsterdam, Danny Mekić (NewTeam partner and technology expert) talked with Marino Strik from NXP Semiconductors and Leo van der Putten from Clickey about the pros and cons of connecting everyday objects to the internet. The increasing level of technological connectivity makes it an important question whether we’re still in control of our own lives. Danny Mekić set the tone by stating that the smarter the technology is that we surround ourselves with, the dumber we become ourselves.
Moreover, as it turns out, the intentions of the various parties that control the chips in our Internet of Things devices are often unclear, as are those of the companies that gather data from things like driverless cars or our healthcare records. Is it a good idea to let major, quoted American companies run off with that much information? Danny Mekić thinks the government has a role to play in this. In his opinion, the government should take a step back from developments like these by minimising restrictions on new technologies, while maximising safeguards for citizens’ constitutional rights.
He also warns that it’s important that the government should require the private big names of the technological landscape to be transparent in their usage of collected data. The ability of the individual to choose whether or not to be included in their digital databases is essential for making sure we don’t become slaves to technology. He also argues for mandatory warnings whenever there are algorithms at work, such as the ones creating personalised online search results for you or the ones on holiday booking sites that charge more to some customers than others. It isn’t nearly always clear to users that they might be discriminated against on the basis of their profile.
In other words: even though the future offers an incredible range of innovative, beneficial opportunities, it’s important to keep a cautious eye on these developments as well, says Danny Mekić.