When talking about technology there are very few moments when we get to discuss its effect on the political landscape of the UK. This is one of those moments.
Algorithmic regulations. The term is a relatively strange one. It is doubtful that many outside of the development world have even heard of it, let alone know what it means. The truth is that it is far more complex, far more interesting, far weirder than it can ever be given credit for. The simple fact is that algorithmic regulations could completely rewrite the political landscape in years to come.
Politics is an interesting topic. The longer it goes on the more likely it is that some stupid rule or other is introduced. Nowadays not every rule makes sense. Not every law seems applicable to everyone. Instead it sometimes seems like there is a disjointed nature to the law that makes it as unpredictable as the crimes it is designed to prevent. Cutting straight to the point however it is possible to see how the Internet of Things can be used in order to make the most out of the legal system. Ultimately speaking, it can act as judge, jury and executioner.
Not convinced? Let us look at an example.
Regulations monitoring satnavs can determine whether or not a car is speeding. It can interact with smart road signs in order to monitor traffic. It can suggest diversions to avoid traffic jams, or even congested routes to slow someone down. Automatic cars could take control, drive safer if they sense that their driver is unsafe. Traffic lights can rework traffic when police are in pursuit, and wanted cars can be stopped instantly. Everything to happen in the car would also be recorded, so there would be a log of people who are breaking the law.
The mathematics involved are incredible. The ethical implications on the other hand are less so. What this has led to is a movement wherein law and order is only needed in a very limited capability with, it hastens to be added, a legal system not so much dictated by the book of the law but rather by programming development. It runs the risk of becoming a society dictated not by what should be done but rather what can be done.
This being said, algorithmic regulations do have their upside. They are completely unbiased, taking out the human error in law enforcement and removing political motivations. They allow for a no-arguments absolutist situation wherein it is known for certain whether or not a person committed a crime. Rather than having situations where crimes can take years to process, the system will become much smarter.
So does this make the IoT the first step towards a world wide regulated governing body similar to the world of Star Trek? It is hard to say but it is certainly possible. The Internet of Things has incredible potential to be a force for good and a force for evil. It can be used to liberate and oppress. All we can hope is that it is used by the right people for the right reasons.