Trading privacy for convenience with today’s technology

BLUFFTON, Sc. (WSAV) – “The big thing today is… the internet of things. This is the inter-connectivity of all these different devices,” David Nelems, executive director of the Don Ryan Center For Innovation.

These devices listen to your commands and answer your questions, and have names like Alexa and Siri.

“You have to think of it this way, I’m bringing this device into my home and this device listens to me all the time,” Nelems said, “Facebook, all those companies, they’re all about data ya know, so are they really listening to us more than we think, are they watching more than we think they’re watching?”

Nelems said it’s a sacrifice people make, trading privacy for convenience.

“Unfortunately there’s not a lot that people can do, either they want the device in their house and they’re willing to trade the privacy for the convenience or they don’t want it and they won’t bring the device in their house,” he said.

For many, having a friend like Siri is worth it. 

“If I got a question I need the answer to,” said Allan Miller, “She works with all that, anything you need help with, Siri can help you with it.”

“At first it was a little scary to me and unnatural but I now rely on Siri in some instances,” said Kappi Harrell, “And I just experienced Alexa for the first time two weekends ago and it blew my mind.”

Others, avoid it altogether.

“I see stories of people that have put things on Facebook…the best way to avoid things like that haunting you is to not do it,” said William Bodoh, “The computer can beat Garry Kasparov, the world’s chess champion, um that impresses me, it’s also kind of scary…I don’t want to be at the mercy of a computer.”

“We are dependent on the technology companies, Google, Apple, Amazon to fix any vulnerabilities these devices may have,” Nelems says. 

And ultimately, he says, “there is sometimes no good answer other than ‘if you’re scared of it, don’t have it.'”


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