30 Jan

The Social Life of Objects

This wired news post from imomus is a delightfully skeptical take on ubiqcomp (or some variety of the term).  He questions the relative value of these technologies and makes an argument that is reminiscent of Georg Simmel’s notion of the "blasé attitude."  The ubiquity of information-laden objects might, in fact, reduce a subject’s ability to "experience" the environment.  In his words:

Last year I coined the slogan "ubiquity is the abyss" to argue that the total accessibility of pop music in our current environment was killing the medium. Could the same thing apply to physical objects themselves, when — if — the time comes that they’re all ranked, uniquely named and located? Could objects have their finest and final hour at the same time, as recorded music seems to be doing right now?

The programming of objects, he suggests, might lead to the destruction of object-ness.  What we interact with is the hierarchy of data as opposed to the physicality of the object.  We order data instead of experiencing things.  In other words, what Bruce Sterling calls a spime (the data traces that accompany each object), or even what Julian Bleeker calls a blogject (the automated data creation of non-human actors), are the new "things." 

Link: Wired News: All the World’s a Tag.

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