The purpose of this paper is to explore and engage with connections between the evolving technology of the Internet of Things (IoT) and notions of convenience. In particular, the concept of alpha convenience is introduced in order to articulate the broad scope of Internet “any-everything” connectivity, here called “alpha convenience.”
The recommendations of Constructive Technology Assessment are followed in order to evaluate technology before implementation. The seven value drivers articulated by Fleisch (2010) are utilized in order to envision-specific aspects.
Three critical aspects relating to alpha convenience are identified and discussed: gossiping technology, personalization and the disempowered smartphone user. It is argued that extreme forms of convenience shift traditional areas of human agency onto technology. It is also noted that alpha convenience tends to develop as ubiquitous feature of future society, making it difficult, if not impossible, to opt out.
The paper focusses on one powerful concept, although the IoT is merely one of several terms used to deliberate the role of next-generation information technology and society. Notable competitors include semantic web, ubiquitous computing, pervasive computing and ambient intelligence.
The IoT is predicted to be an intrusive feature into everyday life and the paper identifies important aspects.
This is the first critical discussion of the IoT and convenience. The paper aims at conceptual innovation. Overall, there is a substantial lack of critical scrutiny of the emerging ideas of the IoT.
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