The Internet of Things is already starting to engulf us...but could that include the one thing dearest to you? This article discusses the ethical and moral implications of tracking you and yours…
Scenario 1: You turn away from the pram for just a moment, you turn back and your baby’s gone. Your worst fear is a reality. Despite immediate action, mass publicity and months of searching, you never see your child again.
Scenario 2: Within an hour the police track down the demented kidnapper, rescuing your baby unharmed, thanks to the tracker chip you had fitted on them at birth.
You choose. It’s going to be simple, one day...
Or consider another scenario: you receive a call one morning just after dropping the kids off at school, alerting you to the fact your heartbeat is dangerously high, or that your blood sugars have plummeted. Within an hour you’re in hospital having avoided a fatal heart attack or coma. Your family still has a dad. Thanks to the chip that’s been monitoring your body for the last year.
It doesn’t require a huge leap in imagination to envisage an era sometime soon where our own flesh and blood can ‘be protected’ - monitored by a ‘service provider’ somewhere in the cloud. As the concept of ‘as a service’ goes, what else could be more compelling than the knowledge that this will be a service that will eliminate the risk of the things we most dread actually happening?
So before you reject the idea of us all being part of a constantly monitored network on the basis of morality or fear - something even more threatening than Orwell imagined from Big Brother in his 1984 visionary novel – what would you do if this was offered to you, on the basis it could save the life of someone you love?
True postscript: we lost a family cat last weekend. Oscar was found dead by the roadside having been missing for two days. He was already chipped of course, just not with something that could track his whereabouts. But maybe that’s just around the corner. Maybe the next cat will be saved by an app that will find him before he meets his fate?
What would you do? ...Can you envisage your family being part of the Internet of Things (most dear)?