Risk evaluation of pervasive computing

A quote from Jürgen Bohn, Vlad Coroama, Marc Langheinrich, Friedemann Mattern, Michael RohsLiving in a World of Smart Everyday Objects – Social, Economic, and Ethical Implications. Journal of Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, Vol. 10, No. 5, pp. 763-786, October 2004

Today’s technical infrastructures, such as the phone system, television, and electricity, are relatively easy to use, even for people with no special qualifications. This also entails the ability to detect malfunctions: for example, if you lift a telephone receiver and do not hear a dial tone, it is immediately evident that the phone (either the handset or the landline) is not working properly. However, this type of predictability of system behavior can no longer be taken for granted in an ambient-intelligence landscape, as systems are expected to function without users noticing their presence. This will make fault detection and diagnosis fundamentally difficult, especially for the layman (Estrin et al. 2002). Additionally, users might continue to rely on a failed service (e.g., an automated backup service or the self-diagnostics of a smart product) without noticing, thus increasing the damage done until the problem is finally discovered.

Why do I blog this? the articles describes a pertinent risk evaluation of pervasive computing. I was hooked on that one (originally I was looking for references about predictability of applications), other risks are important too.