What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Ubiquitous Computing?

Though ubiquitous computing can make many daily activities faster and more cost-efficient, ubiquitous systems may threaten privacy and create questions surrounding user consent. In a home augmented by ubiquitous computing, smart lighting and air conditioning systems could contact worn sensors to monitor residents’ comfort levels.

Using the data gleaned from sensors, the automated home can constantly change temperature and lighting to maintain a maximally comfortable environment. This type of system can reduce waste and aid environmentally sustainability.

In a kitchen with ubiquitous computing, a refrigerator might communicate with cupboards, survey suitably tagged food items and plan menus using food available on hand. The refrigerator would warn owners about spoiled food. Communicating with the Internet, the system could inform humans about manufacturer recalls.

It is potentially difficult to implement pervasive computing while maintaining adequate privacy protections. Ubiquitous systems gather a great deal of sensitive personal data, and managing this data involves navigating legal, technical and ethical challenges.

Ubiquitous computing could create ethical dilemmas involving user consent. With few exceptions, individuals have traditionally used computer systems consensually. If computer systems become pervasive in all aspects of daily life, this could force people to engage without consent. In fact, individuals might well interact with these systems unwittingly.