The ubiquity of low-cost, low-power microcontrollers has spawned a new ecosystem of so-called “smart things” — from lightbulbs to diapers — that are connected to their users and to each other through the internet. This “Internet of Things” represents a paradigm shift in what it means to live in a networked society. If the internet for the past few decades has been about human social networks — connecting people globally — what does it mean that, since 2014 at least, the number of connected devices has exceeded the number of connected human beings online? In this Cafe, Mark Olson will discuss the technology enabling the Internet of Things and the issues raised by this new ecology: security, privacy, e-waste and machine autonomy.
About our speaker
Mark Olson is a media studies scholar in the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies at Duke University where he teaches courses on media: history, theory, and practice. His work focuses on emerging technologies — from surgical robotics to the internet of things — and their social, political and ecological impacts. He is currently teaching a seminar at Duke University, “Physical Computing and the Internet of Things,” that explores the creative and expressive possibilities of these new platforms.