Since the beginning, humans have made tools in order to protect ourselves and our loved ones. The simplest hut shelters you from at least some of the elements; a bow and arrow spares you from doing hand-to-hand combat with a sabertooth tiger; a writing implement lets you tell future generations how to do the same.
And yet, even now, there are no guarantees. Internet transmissions are inherently leaky. Becoming “smart” can make the most banal object hackable: your toaster becomes part of a botnet; your baby’s crib is a spy. Digital platforms have created new kinds of precarity, as they disrupt workplaces and algorithms handle scheduling and benefits.
This issue looks at how we use technologies to stay safe—and the novel dangers that these same technologies create.
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