Skip down to main content

The Internet of Things is Poised to Change Democracy Itself

Published on
30 Jun 2015
Written by
Philip Howard

Phil Howard wrote an article about the Internet of Things for Politico.

This might sound unlikely at first, and it won’t be felt right away. But it’s important to realize that when we look at the Internet of Things, we’re seeing a technology, or rather a technological system, that will not just pose challenges for governments, but change them completely. In all of history, there has never been anything like the constant and intimate feedback loop that the Internet of Things is creating between citizens and whoever is on the other end of their data.

In researching my new book on the IOT, I spent a lot of time with the computer scientists and entrepreneurs who are designing new device networks. But I looked at their projects as a social scientist, considering them in the long history of how technology and infrastructure affects human politics — a history that goes all the way back to the Roman Empire.

The conclusion I couldn’t escape is that the Internet of Things will be the most powerful political tool we’ve ever created. For democracies, the Internet of Things will transform how we as voters affect government — and how government touches (and tracks) our lives. Authoritarian governments will have their own uses for it, some of which are already appearing. And for everyone, both citizens and leaders, it’s important to realize where it could head long before we get there.

Read the full article here.

Related Topics