Xiaomi and the Promises of the Good Life? Issues of Security and Risk in the Making of the Smart Home in China

Gladys Pak Lei Chong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Informed by Foucault’s governmentality, this article examines the making of the smart home in China. Operating within the nexus of security and risk, smart homes foster a discourse of the ‘the good life’ that accelerates AI’s integration into the population’s daily life. Taking Xiaomi (a renowned smart home technology company) as a case study, I trace how commercial practices formulate issues of security and risk in three smart home products: smart door lock, home surveillance camera and virtual home assistant. Drawing on visual and discourse analyses of Xiaomi’s promotional materials, this analysis is structured around three levels of relationships: (a) trust and ontological security; (b) the practices of government and the practices of self (c) and the technologisation of Chinese society. This analysis demonstrates that Xiaomi further advances the state-driven technologisation of Chinese society, in which subjects are guided to embrace the positive dimensions of technology for self-actualisation and self-management. However, the technology that makes domestic life and the physical home more reliable, less prone to risks and more secure has at the same time further eroded social relations and trust.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScience, Technology and Society
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Feb 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • General
  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication

User-Defined Keywords

  • artificial intelligence (AI)
  • China
  • governmentality
  • risk
  • security
  • smart home
  • Xiaomi

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