Ambient Intelligence Technology – Critical Perspective, Ethical and Societal Issues

Philippe Goujon


The proactive and AmI technology into highly sensitive environment produces specific challenges that are inextricably linked to ethical and societal issues. Proactive systems such as AmI will make decisions without direct human supervision placing the technical system in a position of authority. The ethics of interactive computer systems that focuses on how such systems are (or can be) used by human users have been discussed at length, taking in account the possibilities of the technology presented in the project, it becomes urgently necessary to consider the implications of decisions made or influenced by computers. As specified by L Venter, MS Olivier and JJ. Britz the integration of mobile technology, wireless networks, ubiquitous computing and artificial intelligence with thousands of embedded devices such as sensors and actuators may result in networks that can proactively monitor and respond to human behavior without human interaction and with little supervision. Decisions that can influence or alter the environment will be made at faster-than-human speeds.(Venter et al. 2005) Ethics as applied to current interactive computer systems will not be adequate. The objective of this article is to analyze the ethical and societal problems related to the AmI technology. To reach that objective, we will firstly analyze the conditions for a critical perspective, the ethical references used as the foundation of our analysis and in the last part of this article the ethical issues raised by AmI.

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