Smart Technology & Ethics


The term smart technology refers to the incorporation of computing and telecommunication technology into previously unable technologies. What makes technology smart is its capacity to connect and collaborate with other networked technologies, hence enabling automatic or adaptive functioning as well as remote access or operation from anywhere.  The application of ethical reasoning to the practical challenges of technology constitutes smart technology ethics. The reason smart technology ethics is gaining significance is that new technologies provide us with greater power to act, requiring us to make decisions we did not previously have to make. Previously, in smart city policy acts were confined involuntarily by our infirmity; now, with so much technical power, we must learn how to be constrained voluntarily by our judgment: our ethics. And how to work on these Ethical issues of smart cities

How to Resolve Privacy Risks Posed by Widespread Surveillance?

JAN 23 Smart Technology & Ethics 1

To resolve the ethical issues of smart cities we need to understand what are the Privacy risks posed by widespread surveillance. These risks are as follows:

  • When discussing smart cities, the first thing that comes to mind as contentious is widespread surveillance. On the one hand, the panoptic combination of ubiquitous cameras, facial recognition, and the collecting of personal data from sensors is the ideal technical option for preventing and eradicating crime.
  • Human rights organizations, on the other hand, have reasonable concerns about widespread monitoring as a threat to civil freedoms. A corrupt government can learn your every action, habit, medical condition, and other confidential information which goes into the formation of smart city policy. This could endanger your life and freedom.
  • Some government systems are so corrupt that they cannot adequately protect the personal information of their residents. Consequently, social engineering (which is only separated from targeted advertising by a thin line) and blackmail can become serious issues.


As a smart environment developer, you should aim to limit the risks of mass surveillance by the following three concepts:

  • Establish policies for data transparency for the residents. People may have more faith in the system if they are aware of precisely which aspects of their lives are disclosed to the government and how they benefit from this.
  • Include citizens in the process of decision-making. This will enable them to determine which information to share with the governing bodies.
  • Ensure that a satisfactory balance is reached between security and privacy. The collecting and storage of personal information to enhance security creates additional security vulnerabilities.

How to Resolve Vague Standards for Data Ownership and Oversight?

To resolve the issue you need to understand what are the issues associated with it:

  • The notice-and-consent model is no longer applicable when you deal with automated systems that handle your data numerous times per day.
  • How often do you read the terms and conditions? Every website you visit contains a lengthy wall of text in legal jargon that explains the terms you automatically agree to by continuing to use the site. In this way, smart city hardware is identical to cookies, with the exception that it manages more sensitive private data than cookies.
  • Moreover, the regulations that could significantly impact your life are embedded in the source code of public IoT. They are always changing, making it difficult to ensure that everyone is aware of each modification.


To resolve this issue we need to use Smart Technology & Ethics. The solution in line with this is provided below-

  • There is not yet an effective answer for the inherent uncertainty of public infrastructure automation. As technology improves, effective digital tools will likely emerge in this field.
  • Various policies might be implemented to address this issue. As a policymaker, you can establish lengthier implementation periods that will provide ample time to inform the public of planned sensitive changes and assess the public’s reaction before their introduction.
  • Certainty dictates that an effective awareness network must be in place.

How to Resolve Issues associated with Unequal Citizen Inclusion?

To resolve the issue, let us look at the problems associated with unequal citizen inclusion-

  • The concept of a smart city is inherently technocratic. This offers tech-savvy individuals an advantage over those with restricted access to the benefits of intelligent infrastructure.
  • If a segment of individuals is excluded from reaping the benefits of a smart city, it is doubtful that they will be included in the decision-making process for data policies. This can create a dangerous divide between various social groups and pave the way for new types of digital segregation.


The solution to resolve unequal citizen inclusion is listed below-

  • Allow for questions: A user should be able to continually inquire as to why an AI is doing as it does. This should always be clear and prominent in the user interface.”
  • Smart city developers should use three primary practices to address this issue.
  • Democratization: To achieve equal inclusion, simplify the public engagement procedure as much as necessary.
  • Feedback: Collect and analyze interaction input across the board to make the necessary improvements.
  • Proactive teaching: Make intelligent systems an inherent element of the universal educational system and provide access to instructional materials that are easy and obvious (games, podcasts, videos, documents, etc.).

How to Resolve the Issues with Predictive Bias in Policing?

In tandem with widespread surveillance, predictive policing is a potent crime-prevention strategy. But there are issues associated with it-

  • As with the latter, this practice has a negative aspect: partiality.
  • When training AI on the activity patterns of police officers, human bias may be introduced into the algorithms. This contradicts the fundamental concept of automated, precise decision-making based on the objectivity of large amounts of data


The solution to resolve the issue is listed below-

  • The primary solution to this problem is to ensure that the data used to develop artificial intelligence (and this applies to all AI cases, not just predictive policing) is free of prejudice. A demographically diverse team of engineers could be one means of accomplishing this goal.
  • However, there is still a chance that human error will enter the data collection and cause technological complications. Therefore, the predictive policing system powered by AI should always prioritize prevention above violent law enforcement.

What are Some Other Ways to Resolve Ethical Issues of Smart Cities?

Here are the measures recommended by the aforementioned civil rights organizations:

  • Transparency
  • Public debate, audit, and monitoring
  • Independent expert assessment
  • Social services participation

Smart city technology is here to stay, and it is futile to oppose it. As a policymaker or engineer, you must now work to acquire the trust of all segments of society by addressing their key concerns. There are three primary areas of emphasis citizen awareness, the inclusion of varied demographics in the decision-making process on an equal basis, and the availability of intelligent public infrastructure. This will ensure Smart technology & Ethics in Smart cities.

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