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Pax Technica: the implications of the Internet of Things

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Professor John Naughton.

In 2016 Philip Howard, now Professor of Internet Studies at Oxford and a leading scholar on the impact of the Internet on politics, published Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up in which he tried to assess what the long term implications of this hyper-connected network might be. Among these possible implications, he noted, are:
  • The IoT is likely to bring a special kind of stability to global politics (analogous to the uneasy stand-off of the Cold War)
  • The new world order would be characterised by a pact between big tech firms and governments
  • Governments may have decreasing capacity to govern the IoT while corporate (and also bad) actors will become more powerful in the hyper-connected world that the technology will create.
  • The IoT will generate remarkable opportunities for society but the security and privacy risks that it could create will also pose formidable problems for society
  • The IoT looks like an unstoppable juggernaut, so we should learn from our experience with earlier incarnations of the Internet to try and ensure that history does not repeat itself.

Pax Technica is an ambitious and far-reaching book, and like all such volumes it raises almost as many questions — about international and national politics, governance, security and privacy — as it answers. The Technology and Democracy project at CRASSH seeks to use the book as a jumping-off point for exploring some of these questions. We will do this in a major one-day public event in Cambridge on November 24, 2017 featuring Professor Howard and invited experts from a number of relevant disciplines.

The event will open with a keynote address, after which three panels of invited experts will discuss specific implications of a hyper-connected world.

To book a place (which includes lunch and refreshments) please click here

This talk is part of the Technology and Democracy Events series.

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