About sniffing out new ideas
"tension between externality and affordance"
"sense and sensibility"
Goes over history of Etech
Proliferation of media
Overproliferation of alpha geeks and lifehacking
[using alpha geeks as canaries in the coal mine, if canaries could suddenly engineer oxygen tanks for themselves when the air quality got bad]
Attention: aggregation != attenuation
"telling stories about what our core audience is doing" [Michele: stories vs findings]
"this is not new" – homebrew computers, technology in snowboarding etc
Technology on track with longterm trend
technology uptake is accelerating
is bottom-up, grassroots
deeper social implications
better information makes a difference in adoption and use
harnessing collective intelligence – getting users to add their own data
slide with “"top sites on the internet" and number of employees – craiglist has 18! [where’s myspace on that list?]
metaphor: Von Kempelen's Mechanical Turk
- 1770 – 1830: chessplaying machine with man hidden inside.
Now a literal "mechanical turk" at amazon
Like castingwords.com – humans to do transcription
Tags on del.icio.us [Mike says, “But it’s not very useful! Liz says, “But tagging works great on Etsy]
And then digg
Bionic software – "taking user empowerment to the next level"
Public access to Alexa web crawl.
Conversation with a VC: "IA, not AI" intelligence augmentation, not artificial intelligence
Hacking the physical world – make and diy hardware
Ex: Natalie Jeremijenko and feral dogs
Instrumenting the real world
Ex: Kelly Dobson’s work "someone who’s just doing it for fun" [no, she did as part of her art practice, which is very serious - but that's part of the cultural division between cs geeks and artists.]
Getting better at documenting how to things
Like the code sharing culture in software, version control?
Version of make magazine in second life
Another physical computing hack: phone booth at Burning Man (Brad Templeton’s project) – it’s a wifi phone booth connected to satellite phone in truck using skype
Projects blending real and virtual interaction
Zimbra: demo of collaboration suite w zimlets [terrible, terrible demo! Very long. A colossal waste of time.]
Cory Doctorow introduces Bruce Sterling
"a machine for inspiring geeks"
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Free text on Internet
His blogs as commonplace books
Bruce Sterling’s talk: The Internet of Things
"a vast slow, terrific thing that is trying to emerge"
About 30 years away, which is how long barcodes took to permeate society
Web 2.0 – you can point to the people and examples
Mark Weiser – the top guru has been dead for several years now – people are trying to find a grab bag
The Internet of Things
"you don’t want to freeze your language too quickly" "you don’t want to freeze a technology into the shape of today’s language – limits people’s ability"
Ex: artificial intelligence and referring to computers as "thinking machines"
Computers are not "smart" in any useful sense; they don’t "think" or "know things"
Computers are just sitting there "ordinating" – we should try to figure out what that is instead of trying to make computers "think" like us
Look at Google: Google is kind of like what the 1960s vision of artificial intelligence is, except that it’s not presented as AI (unlike ask jeeves)
It doesn’t cling to the words invented by the past –
Pay attention to the things on the ground. What works? What matters?
Do I want a classical artifical intelligence? Or do I want Google?
Or rather, if you have one company with Alan Turing’s AI machine or Google, which company wins?
"The words misled us. I think we could have done better words."
Imagine back in the days of mainframes, some genius tech commentator had showed up…
We might have produced Google in 1980.
Internet of things – words come from present day, not from past – because the past didn’t get certain things.
Things that serve us because we physically move around the world, social interaction, etc.
Not about intelligence – but it can change our relationships to physical objects, physical spaces, in the real world. Linking and tracking and ranking and sorting.
1)with interactive chips and unique identities
2)local and precise positioning systems which sort out where you are and where things are
3)powerful search engines
4)cradle-to-cradle recycling and transparent production
5)3D virtual models and CAD/CAM – objects that are virtual before they are real
6)Rapid prototyping – fabjects, blobjects – manufacturing directly from virtual plans [ah, but Bruce is not a designer, so he misses the problem of moving directly from the virtual – misses the value of the physical in producing thought]
He calls these objects spimes – trackable in space and time. Manufactured objects that are material instantiations of informational systems. Begin and end as data. Information objects first, physical objects second.
Primary advantage of I of Things: I no longer inventory my possessions inside my own head – they are inventoried by voodoo, a host of things. I no longer bother to remember where I put things…I just ask, and then I am told. I have an Internet of Things with a search engine of things. I no longer hunt for my shoes in the morning. I just Google them! I am at ease in materiality in a way that people never were before. [oh, this is so sad, and so beautiful that Bruce Sterling believes in the myth of ease-in-the-world, of immanance.]
Spime: an attention pointer. A verbal framing device. He also wanted it to be googlable.
A new word is a new tag. What Julian Bleecker calls a "theory object" – a cloud of associated commentary and data. Passed around and linked to.
Every time he goes to a conference, the word spime grows as a "theory object," because of the work that the audience is doing. It is accreting attention. The word "theory object" is itself a theory object, with trackback, and links, and a website and an FAQ, and a database and some user-centric graphic web apps!
[Mike: Jim Mason is so excited. He actually is]
New words can sound silly or dangerous.
Hype is a system call on your attention. Hype is only bad if you drink it by the barrel and case.
The opposite of hype is not the true. It's argot. Jargon is not reality. Argot is not the truth. It’s a geek cult language. It has no traction in the real world. A small knowledge-clique does not have enough people in it to successfully name its own inventions and practices.
Adam Greenfield: "Everyware, the Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing"
Interviewer asks Adam, why coin a new word? Adam says, all the words already in use is contentious. Associated with one or another viewpoint/institution/funding source. Wanted people relatively new to the ideas to have a rough container for them so they didn’t get bogged down.
"I kind of admire this term Everyware; it’s more elegant than Ubicomp, which is a verbal disaster." Somewhat confusing in verbal speech because it’s a pun. Not sure it carries enough new freight with it – too much of the old with it. Will this word scale upward?
Bruce thinks internescine definitionary struggles are good! Healthy! They mean we have escaped a bog.
For a technologist the bog is bad – makes it hard to sell things.
For a writer, the bog of disciplinary struggle is the wetlands of language, the most fertile area.
Don’t destroy the wetlands because you like the highways. Compares it too New Orleans.
It will not be ubiquitous or computation.
Not everyware but patchy and limited, like phone cells and RFID tags.
Not a Ma Bell, Bruce thinks. Time will tell.
You don’t want to avoid the contentiousness of those definitional struggles [so why did Bruce invent his own word, huh?]
The words are a signifier for a clash of sensibilities that really needs to clash.
Web 2.0. Tim O’Reilly: "network as platform"
Bruce thinks Tim’s definition is not prolix. If you are a techie, it can be exciting. But break it down, it’s a roll call of people Tim considers important as a contemporary class. [Awesome]. With the accomplishments Tim can point to in public. There is room for verbal improvement here.
Alan Lew “The laws of cool.” – not language-centric; too much of a techie banner ad. “I am highly skeptical of Web 2.0”
1)Web 2.0 – generational change looking at what is happening right now, not looking at what was happening – not sure we can describe while in the midst of it.
A wagon train is not a town
Serious semantic problems of not knowing yet what we are talking about
Not certain if open content platforms align with decentralized control. “A priesthood of backend and middleware coders”
Bruce says that Alan is saying: Web 2.0 is actually just a ploy to return Internet’s technical power to geek clique that built Web 1.0. “They stole our revolution, now we’re stealing it back…and selling it to Yahoo!”
Lew: People who make a big deal of Web 2.0 are trying to take a shortcut to understanding the social economic political and cultural changes underlying it.
Lew: Very few people are trying to understand those deep implications before building or trying to evaluate success.
Bruce doesn’t think that we EVER get a full assessment of the technology. The Victorian Internet, which just gives up and tries to recast that experience with the words we have now.
Web 2.0 is a lashup – that might be considered its virtue.
We don’t get clear divisions these days – we get “theory objects”
I go on about this because it matters – it’s part of the work of the technology. Like naming. Verbal incantation that turns the baby into a social actor. She is a real person – she can be tagged, ranked, sorted.
The victory is to make new concepts everyday and obvious.
Simpson Garfinkel – RFID Applications Security and Privacy.
RFID printed on film – threatening in many interesting ways.
ThingLink – a version of Everyware and Spime
Ulla-Maria – "ThingLinks are unique identifiers, ID codes for things"
Bruce says that Ulla-Maria is an expert in handicrafts…[what was the point]
Wiki is another good neologism
Julian Bleecker’s blogjects – conversational conversation-piece that contributes to discourse because they spew information that makes some difference in the physical world – Bruce likes it because it is "semantically legible"
[Ironic – Matt and I just spend a dinner talking about how awful spime was as a word]
Blogject is a word for the today – you can get grants to do it.
A spime would be like a blog that emits objects.
Because spimes are blah blah blah. They will tell you how to make themselves.
EKOs – evocative knowledge objects
"acronyms are the small change of the tech world"
An ecology of things – classes at Art Center College of Design
Verb: to instantiate
If no one thinks what you are doing is dangerous, you have no power to change the world.
You need to feed the critics.
Object of the past: emerging tech that is now receeding – still a presence – trash – the stale primordial soup of passive thingness that rots in our biosphere. We are burying all that is dead within us.