The Home in the Digital Age: The future of our daily lives

It is a truism that when things are too close we stop being able to see them. Nothing is closer to us than the places we wake up in each morning and return to each night. It is likely though that – in another saying – “familiarity breeds contempt” and though we may need to notice a new IT system at work we can be slow to pick up the changes and challenges that are right under our noses at home.

Over the past few weeks, we have suggested ways in which the new technologies impact on our daily lives. We have looked at the gathering storm clouds of the irresponsible activities of some social media sites, and the dangers to children and vulnerable young people. We have touched on the very real benefits robotics offers to the care of the elderly and those socially isolated. We have also tried to show how a multidisciplinary approach to these threats and promises is vital.

Just considering scientific applications loses the domestic context. The home. The home, as HRF has established, is “a complex field”.  Again, it is because it is so close to us that we can fail to recognize this. No two homes are alike but we all come from and go home to one. The personal and social implications of anything that impacts on the home go wide and deep.

It is for this reason that a team of experts from across the academic disciplines is meeting at the Royal Society of Medicine next week to discuss “The Home in the Digital Age.”

Sonia Livingstone OBE FBA, Professor of Social Psychology at the LSE, will give the keynote presentation on Digital Families: grand hopes, growing fears and everyday struggles. Francesca Toni, Professor of Computational Logic at Imperial, London will give a scientific perspective and survey of AI technologies being developed for the home. From the world of economics, Dr Stephen Davies of the Institute of Economic Affairs, Mei Lin Fung of the World Forum, and Dr Mia Mikic of UNESCAP will look at relevant strands from their own global perspectives. Professor Luisa Damiano brings insights from her work in Logic and the Philosophy of Science, and Professor Mohamed Gamal Abdelmonem his from his work as Director of the Centre for Architecture, Urbanism and Global Heritage at Nottingham Trent University.

Along with their respondents and other invited experts, these academics will make the level of discussion very significant indeed. All further details of the meeting and speakers are available on our website. We very much look forward to sharing soon the content and outcomes of “The Home in the Digital Age”, and all it offers to this debate – for today and for tomorrow in your home and in mine.