Internet of Behavior grows but can the industry get ahead of public misgivings?


Internet of Behavior grows but can the industry get ahead of public misgivings?

Ethics concerns continue to delay the deployment of current and new biometric surveillance technologies. For every positive use case there seems to be two cautionary tales, and many emanate from China.

A pair of articles published by the technology-collaboration association AFCEA picks up this narrative regarding the coming Internet of Behavior. The IoB combines all forms of biometric identifiers and the many related demographic datapoints to analyze and influence behaviors.

Unfortunately for the nascent industry, the fullest example of how the Internet of Behaviors can operate is autocratic China’s social credit score program.

Beijing is using its vast network of facial recognition cameras and the vaster database of personal information that it has collected on its citizens to coerce behaviors and loyalties in line with the ruling Communist Party.

The articles, in the AFCEA’s publication Signals, lean on a 2019 report by technology consultant Gartner Group that predicts the Internet of Behavior will influence the benefits and services eligibility of 40 percent of people globally by sometime this year.

In 2021, the IEEE posted a short summary of IoB, concluding that it is “set to generate considerable momentum in the development of the sales industry.” The financial sector is keeping tabs on it, too.

Quoting Rand Corp. researcher Mary Lee, the publication notes “there’s not a lot of clarity” about who owns the data and how it is used and managed.

The same Signals author, in the second piece, suggests a solution to that ambiguity — train AI to explain it to people, an endeavor under development since at least 2018. The term reportedly was coined in 2012 by a University of Helsinki professor.

XAI, as the concept is known, could make Internet of Behavior apps transparent, enabling them to be part of a “more trusted and understandable framework in changing human behaviors.”

U.S. military R&D lab DARPA has made the case for XAI. Officials say machine-learning systems need to be able to explain themselves and how they will operate.

Current social trends do not indicate a growing public trust of technology or even logic, but business investments are being made.

Azena, a German software startup funded entirely by the Bosch Group, is working on the technology. Its web site promises that the “Internet of Behavior is here to stay.” BMC Software also is involved.

Article Topics

behavioral analysis  |  biometric identifiers  |  biometrics  |  data protection  |  ethics  |  explainability  |  Internet of Behavior  |  social credit  |  surveillance


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