We're Still Kind of Nervous About Smart Technology

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We've spent our whole lives hearing that science fiction is already showing us what the future will look like. So far it's had far fewer flying cars (although there are some) and far more suspiciously helpful AI. With the latter comes convenience, as well as privacy concerns and potential corporate overreach. We really want the convenience, but new data suggests we don't fully trust how we get it.


Researchers at the University of Warwick have just released a study showing that more than 2,100 British survey respondents worry about data breaches, identity theft, and overall security when it comes to devices like smart speakers, home security systems with cameras, wired thermostats, and even smart home appliances like dishwashers. Many are aware that using these technologies comes with a security risk, and they're not fully certain that doing so is worth it. The study is directed at business leaders, urging them to shape messaging that convinces consumers to buy in.

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There's some merit to that tactic, inasmuch as smart speakers, for instance, are often too boring for hackers to bother with. Hotels that use smart speaker technology, such as the Alexa devices available at some Marriott locations, promise a routine that deletes customer requests and data after checkout. But some skeptics won't be convinced, such as Chris "Captain America" Evans, who last year publicly grumbled about missing home appliances that "just worked." Things like voice shopping and smart houses may be real now, but the future isn't here — or set in stone — just yet.