The Internet of Things: Smart devices, quantified self, dolls and vibrators

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Image by Namita Aavriti, courtesy Cayla the hackable dollImage by Namita Aavriti, courtesy Cayla the hackable dollIf an object has a chip, it becomes smart, and by extension our houses become smarter – and so do our cities, hospitals, toys, phones. But what about the inventors, the creators, the owners, the users of all these smart and tiny things – are we becoming smarter?

I am fascinated by the ubiquitous ability of internet technologies to animate things, transform them into hubs, bypass walls and diminish distances. I am fascinated by the fact that behind all this infrastructure of the internet are simply cables of different sizes and length connecting computers, developing and integrating systems.

Now any object can become THE computer, the exchange point where data is transferred, collected and processed.

And in this continuum I feel exposed. It is not so much about the fact that the doll Cayla can see and observe the chaotic status of my bedroom or the uncleaned dishes. It is indeed disturbing that an object can potentially hack into my privacy and broadcast the inside of my home, or talk and reach out to little girls and boys. And what about the vibrator with integrated camera and light that can connect to the wi-fi and can shorten, almost eradicate, the distance with my lover. That too can be hacked and used for a bot-net attack against those others whose rights, beyond that of privacy, I care and defend the most.

The hacking in itself is more than disturbing – it is a permanent, potential status of aggression – but still to be hacked is also the state of being connected and using the internet.

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