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The Internet of Risky Things by Sean Smith

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Chapter 10. The Future of Humans and Machines

The IoT deepens and changes the interconnections between human space and cyberspace. To conclude, this chapter considers some of the deeper implications of these changes by presenting a semiotic framework for this interconnection, using this framework to examine the IoC to IoT transition, then examining other issues—ethics, boundaries, economics, life—relevant to being human in the new information age.

A Framework for Interconnection

In the coming IoT age, newfangled computer systems will smash into human processes. However, as Chapter 3 noted, this future has been here before. Much of my research work (and, before I returned to academia, my professional work) focused on the issues that arise when this occurs. What are the security and privacy issues if a citizen-facing government agency offers services over the web? Why does adding EMR systems to a hospital sometimes cause problems instead of solving them? Why do password rules intended to improve security actually make it worse?

Semiotic Triads, in 2013

This work led to a framework. When my colleague Ross Koppel and I were analyzing usability trouble in health IT [27], we found it useful to consider three things:

  • The mental model of the clinician working with the patient and the health IT system

  • The representation of medical reality in the health IT system

  • The actual medical reality of patients

Figure 10-1 illustrates. (This model could clearly extend to include other actors ...

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