Hwanho Choi (Barun ICT Research Center, Yonsei University)
Jaek Won Chung (College of Business Administration, Kookmin University)
Recently, the technical and technological term, “Internet of Things,” has become a buzzword in newspapers, government institutions, and in academe. The new technology enabling IoT is getting a response similar to that inspired by the emergence of groundbreaking technologies such as the Internet and Web 2.0. Journalists and policymakers are making positive forecasts about how the Internet of Things (IoT) will transform our lives, businesses, and public services. Academic articles in engineering and business offer detailed technical and technological information and requirements. Discussion on possible new business models and the transformation of the industrial structure are taking place. Although it has been commercially introduced to markets for daily use, the rapid development of the technology suggests that more complex services and products will soon dominate the markets. Previous research and newspaper articles predict that this advance will be integrated into large parts of our lives and that its impacts on people will be enormous. Given that substantial effects on consumers and society are predicted, the lack
of discussion about the issue is worrisome. Therefore, we carefully need to examine the consumer and social impacts of the new technology instead of simply celebrating it. We, thus, explore concerns about the effects of IoT technology on consumers and society, drawing on critical studies of digital culture and the business and management literature. We find that there are three issues to consider in the age of IoT: security, individuality, and commodification. We argue that the development of IoT technology should be based on security for privacy, encouraging autonomy, and offering sovereignty to participants. Its development should not be about the security to govern, the subordination of people to the technology, or promoting corporate capitalism. We therefore conclude that a serious discussion about the impacts of IoT is needed in order to understand how it will shape our future.
Journal of the Korea management engineers society Vol. 21 No. 1 (pp. 95-107)