Practica – The Internet of things & cultural due diligence


How shall we address the cultural challenges of the digital world in which we are immersed? What are the backers and the hackers of our increasingly internet interconnected world offering to us and taking from us? For starters, we can talk with ourselves and among ourselves, share and and engage colleagues and clients in discussing it.

The massive hack of the internet of things could be compared to a terrorist attack or a hurricane, but, because it appears in the virtual world rather than the real world (of which it is a part), we don't feel the drenching rain, the swelling flood or the impact of bombs and the hail of bullets unless we experienced personal loss. Let's leave alone the question of who the perpetrators are, their motivation and what they hope(d) to achieve and create some good discussions with clients, students and each other about the impact of the virtual world which has become such a massive and invasive part of our culture.

My first approach to this challenge of cultural due diligence would stem from the "two chair" approach of my Gestalt psych background. I suggest sitting down and, in your imagination, putting your internet program or internet of things thing in a chair facing you. The object facing you could be anything from your actual social network site to the self-driving car you are thinking of buying when it's ready. Speak to it, ask it questions. Then, exchange chairs and imagine you are now that program or device and let it respond to what you have said or asked. Let the conversation go on, changing chairs each time as the conversation passes to yourself or to the other. Be real, be personal.

You can do it as a group exercise, then debrief the high points and learnings and perhaps explore a take-home agenda that suggests itself. Or, do it yourself. Record (write or dictate) and review, then note what you discover and what might be next.

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