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Must All Things Pass?: Designing for the Afterlife of (Internet of) Things

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

Published
Publication date11/12/2020
Pages45-52
Number of pages8
JournalThingsCon The State of Responsible Internet of Things Report 2020
PublisherThingsCon
Volume4
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

When viewed through the prism of environmental sustainability, today’s (Internet of) Things can justly be considered to be bad Things. How then might we turn Things from bad to good in relation to their impacts upon the natural environment? In essence, must all Things pass or is a meaningful and more sustainable afterlife possible for IoT devices? A creative and compelling way to highlight and better understand the threats and promises that emergent technologies might bring in the near future is to apply the Speculative Design method Design Fiction (DF). We developed a short sustainable DF entitled The Three Rights of AI which seeks to emphasise the limitations of present-day Right to Repair (R2R) legislation while at the same time explore novel possibilities for the sustainable afterlife of Artificial Intelligence (AI) assisted Things. The DF fuses the concept of R2R with that of AI Rights – a term used to denote how, in the future, advanced AIs could be granted so-called inalienable rights similar to those presently afforded to humans. What if AIs like Alexa are granted the R2R their ‘host’ device’s hardware and software in the future? What might the sustainable implications be for Things?