Bletchley Park hosts new exhibition on smart device impact

Hut 12 at Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park, in Milton Keynes, the former top-secret home of the British World War Two Codebreakers and birthplace of modern computing, is to be the first venue to host Never Alone: What Happens When Everything is Connected?, based on an exhibition created by the National Science and Media Museum

Opening on 3rd April and running until 1st November 2020, it will explore trends and issues around the Internet of Things – an ever-increasing network of internet connected devices, which now outnumber the amount of people living on earth. Drawing on Bletchley Park’s wartime story, Never Alone explores questions around security and privacy by examining the proliferation of smart objects over the last decade.

The exhibition in Hut 12 will look at four subject areas – objects that relate to tracking, surveillance and smart homes, and a final section on bias exploring the ways devices can reflect the human values of their programmers and developers. Contemporary items like an Amazon Echo Dot, internet connected toys (including the My Friend Cayla doll, which appeared in many ‘toy of the year’ lists on release in 2015/16 but was subsequently banned in Germany), will be displayed alongside a wartime radio and template forms used by World War Two intercept stations to track enemy movements.

Erica Munro, Exhibition Manager at Bletchley Park said: “Handling intercepted information at scale and exploiting it was key to the wartime work at Bletchley Park. The collection and exploitation of data is still an ever-more relevant topic in the twenty-first century. We are excited to be hosting this exhibition, looking at the impact internet-connected items have on our lives today. The exhibition considers the positive improvements these devices can make to our lives, as well as encouraging visitors to question how our personal data is used, and how the connected world should be managed today.”

Never Alone will be accompanied by a programme of workshops and talks running throughout 2020.

Entry to the exhibition is included with a general admission ticket, and groups of 12 or more are offered a discount on entry.