On the Value of the Counterfactual and How the Smart Home Informs It

Anders T. Christensen, Henning Olesen, Lene Tolstrup Sørensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Few of us have time to ponder the existential risks of a new technology like that embodied by smart home devices. The enthusiasm for the features they offer easily overpowers any skepticism one might feel. The companies pushing smart home technology are of little help in this regard, as they always seem to prioritize minimizing the effort required to acquire and set it up. In this opinion piece, we offer an answer to the question of why one might be concerned about having the mundane details of one’s life logged by smart home devices. By virtue of their physical sensors, smart devices help tech companies establish markers of normal behavior for each of the households they are in, markers which are, essentially, tools to detect the moments when we deviate from our normal behavior. These moments, in turn, represent opportunities for third parties outside of our control to swoop in when we are most easily influenced, but not necessarily, of course, in the direction that serves our best interest.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSurveillance and Society
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)241-243
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2021


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