This book’s subtitle could easily be My love and hate relationship with precarious yet magnificent digital technologies. It was early 2020. World affairs were looking grim, with static noise around impending pandemic clear to those who wanted to listen. I decided to buy a new iPhone 11 to cheer myself up. I was happy with my purchase until I tried the new virtual assistant Siri. Instead of a standard reply of‘good morning’ or ‘hello’ to my ‘Hey Siri’, a male Siri voice replied with a casual ‘uh-huh?’. To say that I was surprised and disappointed is an understatement. I spent days—if not weeks—trying to revert to a more ‘conventional’ Siri assistant, but to no avail. They all replied with a version of‘uh-huh’, and there was nothing I could do about it. There was simply no way to avoid this rude Siri but to stop using the service altogether which, of course, I tried to do. Yet, every now and then, I give in and say ‘Hey Siri’ for a convenience of a quick answer, even though I know I will immediately get angry about the ‘uh-huh’ response.
Technology is so enmeshed into our lives and the above example proves how difficult it is to opt-out. The role technology plays in contemporary society is not limited to our comfort, health, business success, travel, and entertainment. Its ability to harm us or make decisions about our human rights and civil liberties is undisputable. Yet, there is very little literature on the intersections of crime and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence or the Internet of things.
This book was written in lockdown during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and the process of writing it was cathartic and healing. Looking into the future is a good distraction from the present. Many people helped my thinking about our increasingly digital existence, either while having a coffee or as co-authors. They are (in no particular order): Marie Segrave (Monash University), Beth Radulski (La Trobe University), Maty Bosworth (Oxford University), and Leanne Weber (Monash University). Others are dear colleagues, on which intellectual tradition some arguments presented in this book have been built: Jude McCullough (Monash University), Dean Wilson (University of Sussex), Sharon Pickering (Monash University), Katja Franko (University of Oslo) and Emmeline Taylor (City, University of London). I would also like to acknowledge my dear friends and confindants who provided feedback for this volume, especially Michael Parry and Filip Orelj. Son, you are my beacon. I thank you all.
Thanks to Routledge and Tom Sutton for having faith in this project. After reading the book, please visit the book’s companion website www. crimetechbook.com and continue the conversation. And finally, to my family: now you can call me a bona fide tech geek, not just a pretend one with dozens of gadgets.