As the Internet of Things (IoT) starts to permeate into the central infrastructure and important aspects of our lives, it is critical to question the socio-political implications and analyze the embedded epistemology behind the algorithms that govern the technology.

The vision of the ‘smart’ home, in which IoT technology often has ‘smart’ features, is a fast growing industry. Within this framework, the embedded algorithmic dynamics in our domestic domain should not be undermined; it requires a critical analysis.

Through a Design Research investigation of the algorithmic processes concerning the ‘smart’ home, I will explore how human experience is represented and oversimplified within the quantified approaches inherent in the current notions of ‘smart’ technology derived from Artificial Intelligence (AI).

By bringing into the research the figure of the IdIoT, the projects interrogate the algorithmic logic and problematize the implications of translating human behavior into a numerical logic. In this algorithmic context where the complexity and unpredictability of the user’s daily life is replaced with digital/numerical determination, the idIoT critically thinks of the socio-political implications that result when translating our behaviour into data.

By getting away from the idea of a deterministic model of intelligence as well as a controlled model of human behavior which characterizes technological developments, the investigation focuses on our complex nonlinear existence, considering the systemic implications beyond the primarily technical domain of efficiency and problem-solving.

The outcomes highlight the importance of developing a critical approach towards the algorithmic dynamic of our surrounding. In the fast-paced world of Silicon Valley’s technological culture and its commercial imperative, the lack of critique of ‘smart’ deterministic algorithmic logic reinforces the importance of pursuing critical investigations in the topic; new conceptual frameworks are needed.

Dr. Delfina Fantini van Ditmar completed her PhD at the Royal College of Art under the supervision of Dr. Ranulph Glanville. She holds a BA in Biology and was awarded the 2011 Heinz von Foerster Award by the American Society for Cybernetics.

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