The Internet of Things is Coming — yes, but…

July 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

..but who will be doing all the work?

This paper argues that automation (machines operating on their own) is being replaced by heteromation (human labor, often low wage or unpaid, being used to fuel the operations of machines: think FoldIt or Google, where we input the data…).

A far cry, the authors point out, from the dreams of “augmented intelligence”, a fusion of human mind and machine-driven computation such as Licklider’s “man-computer symbiosis“.

Unless labor-relations (with the exception of data-entry jobs) is not the right tool to view the on-going developments in interface/wearable tech/body hacking. Does entering a search in Google qualify as “labor”? Does playing a video-game qualify as “labor”? I agree it qualifies as cooperation with machine intelligence, but in this sense, heteromation would actually designate some sort of magical working with digital tools that we’ve become, indeed, quite familiar with–unless I really am my computer’s slave.But then again, aren’t we all?

The Internet of Things is Coming — yes, but…

July 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

…but what language will it speak?

Well, maybe this one.

What about a world where all objects speak “material design”, immersive, easy on the eye, clear in their functionality, elegant, coherent?

The Internet of Things is Coming — a July conference

April 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

This came through the mail this morning. Consider attending:

Date: 3rd – 5th July 2014

Venue: York St John University

Confirmed Keynote speakers:

  • Dr Alison Powell (London School of Economics and Political Science)
  • Gerald Santucci (Head of Knowledge sharing, European Commission)
  • Bas Boorsma (Director, Internet of Everything for Cities, Cisco Corporation)

 

Call for papers

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an umbrella term used to describe a next step in the evolution of the Internet. While the first phase of the web can be thought of as a combination of an internet of hyper-text documents and an internet of applications (think blogs, online email, social sites, etc.), one of the next steps is an Internet of augmented ‘smart’ objects – or ‘things’ – being accessible to human beings and each other over network connections. This is the internet of Things.

Underpinning the development of the Internet of Things is the ever increasing proliferation of networked devices in everyday usage. Such devices include laptops, smart phones, fridges, smart meters, RFIDs, etc. The number of devices in common usage is set to increase worldwide from the current level of 4.5 billion to 50 billion by 2050 and may even include human implants.

By dint of the above, life as we know it on the planet will undergo a multitude of minuscule but incredibly significant changes that will alter not only how we relate to each other and the world, but also how we conceive of ourselves as beings within it. This situation proposes a pressing question: do we want to simply leave market forces to shape our reality? Or is there a deeper need, given the significance of this technology, to consider its ramifications within a philosophical context? For as computational devices become ever more central to how we relate to and interface with each other, so too do they begin to create new systems of power relations between people. To create a system of power is to impose a social dynamic. The design and deployment of the Internet of Things is thus not simply a matter of software/hardware architecture but also of politics; ethics; belief; citizenship; and social and civic relations. It is to this end of examining these issues more deeply that we are convening this conference.

The CFP closes May 20.

The Internet of Things is coming – Jay B. Nash, 1932

April 13, 2014 § 3 Comments

Jay B. Nash, Spectatoritis, 1932, p. 265:

The machine frees. True. (…) Within our grasp is the leisure of the Greek citizen, made possible by our mechanical slaves, which far outnumber his twelve to fifteen per free man. These mechanical slaves jump to our aid. As we step into a room, at the touch of a button a dozen light our way. Another slave sits twenty-four hours a day at our thermostat, regulating the heat of our home. Another sits night and day at our automatic refrigerator. They start our car; run our motors; shine our shoes, and cult our hair. They practically eliminate time and space by their very fleetness.

(Nash’s book has little however to do with machines, but more with a critique of how modern Americans use their new-found, machine-liberated leisure not in creative ways — but rather by consuming “passively” commercial entertainment, This criticism sounds drearily familiar today. At the time it is part of a whole host of writings that try to look into the notion of a “leisure society“…)

The Internet of Things is coming – Philip K. Dick, 1969

February 27, 2014 § Leave a comment

Philip K. Dick, Ubik (1969):

Back in the kitchen he fished in his various pockets for a dime, and, with it, started up the coffeepot. Sniffing the — to him — very unusual smell, he again consulted his watch, saw that fifteen minutes had passed; he therefore vigorously strode to the apt door, turned the knob and pulled on the release bolt.

The door refused to open. It said, ‘Five cents, please.’

He searched his pockets. No more coins; nothing. ‘I’ll pay you tomorrow,’ he told the door. Again he tried the knob. Again it remained locked tight. ‘What I pay you ,’ he informed it, ‘is in the nature of a gratuity; I don’t have to pay you.’

‘I think otherwise,’ the door said. ‘Look in the purchase contract you signed when you bought this conapt.’

In his desk drawer he found the contract; since signing it he had found it necessary to refer to the document many times. Sure enough; payment to his door for opening and shutting constituted a mandatory fee. Not a tip.

‘You discover I’m right,’ the door said. It sounded smug.

From the drawer beside the sink Joe Chip got a stainless steel knife; with it he began systematically to unscrew the bolt assembly of his apt’s money-gulping door.

‘I’ll sue you,’ the door said as the first screw fell out.

Joe Chip said, ‘I’ve never been sued by a door. But I guess I can live through it.’

 

The Internet of Things is coming — Woody Allen, 1968

January 28, 2014 § 1 Comment

Woody Allen, “Mechanical Objects”, San Francisco, August 1968:

About three years ago I couldn’t stand it anymore. I was home one night. I called a meeting with my posessions. I got everything I owned into the living room. My toaster, my clock, my blender. They never been in the living room before. And I spoke to them. I opened with a joke. And then I said “I know what’s going on, and cut it out!” I have a sun lamp, but as I sit under it, it rains on me. And I spoke to each appliance, I was really articulate. Then I put them back, and I felt good. Two nights later I’m watching my portable television set, and the set begins to jump up and down, and I go up to it. And I always talk before I hit, and I said “I thought we had discussed this, what’s the problem?” And the set kept going up and down, so I hit it, and it felt good hitting it, and I beat the hell out of it. I was really great, I tore off the antenna, and I felt very virile. And two days later I go to my dentist in New York. I had gone to my dentist, but I had a deep cavity, and he’d sent me to a chiropodist. I’m going into a building in mid-town New York, and they have those elevators, and I hear a voice say “Kindly call out your floors, please”, and I say “sixteen” and the doors close and the elevator starts going up to sixteen. And on the way up the ellevator says to me “Are you the guy that hit the televison set?” I felt like an ass, y’know, and it took me up and down fast between floors, and it threw me off in the basement. It yelled out something that was anti-Semitic.”

 

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