Week 1 – introduction (Miriam Harvey)


I’m a distance learning student, studying this MA very slowly over a period of three to four years (one course per semester). I work full time in Berkshire utilising my digital skills in different roles, adapting my skills to changing digital requirements in the workplace.

Beyond the day job, I am interested in digital culture from a number of perspectives including its impact on an ageing population. About ten years ago my mother-in-law fell in her sheltered home. It took her an hour to crawl across the room to pull a cord that alerted a call centre, who were then able to use a speaker system to talk to her while calling me and an ambulance. Obviously, I saw a lot wrong in that system. More recently my mother used her Apple Watch to call for help when she needed an ambulance. Without any delays, this was a clear improvement on my mother-in-law’s experience a decade ago.

I was pleased to find an example of smart city technology in one of this week’s list of readings and weblinks that I know would be helpful to older members of my family, which was Internet of Things (IoT) sensors on traffic lights to detect if someone needs more time to cross a road (Bates, 2019). However, from personal experience, I am becoming increasingly aware of an over optimistic trust in technology to keep people safe and healthy. I expect I’ll be writing more about that in the coming weeks.




Bates, D. (2019). ‘How Smart Cities Can Make Seniors Independent?’ in Smart Cities Library (source Tantiv4 15 October 2019). Available from: https://www.smartcitieslibrary.com/how-smart-cities-can-make-seniors-independent/

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