TagInternet of Things

Technology Isn’t Magic—It’s Haunted

Vice interviews Tobias Revell and Natalie Kane about the forthcoming Haunted Machines conference, and the problem with “magical” metaphors in technology, especially when it comes to the Internet of Things:

“The intention of that, whether explicit or not, is to obscure the technical and often financial and legal reality of the system by covering it up with those terms,” said Revell. In a world of things “just working,” the curators want to remind people that magic doesn’t actually exist; it’s a sleight of hand, a deception.

Full Story: Vice: Technology Isn’t Magic—It’s Haunted

(via Jay)

Dada Data and the Internet of Paternalistic Things

Flash fiction from Mindful Cyborgs co-host Sara Watson:

My stupid refrigerator thinks I’m pregnant.

I reached for my favorite IPA, but the refrigerator wouldn’t let me take one from the biometrically authenticated alcohol bin.

Our latest auto-delivery from peaPod included pickles, orange juice, and prenatal vitamins. We never have orange juice in the house before because I find it too acidic. What machine-learning magic produced this produce?

Full Story: The Message: Dada Data and the Internet of Paternalistic Things

See also:

The Nightmare on Connected Home Street

The Internet of Things Could Drown Our Environment in Gadgets

The Dark Side of the Internet of Things

Turning the Internet of Things to Against Slumlords

My latest for Wired:

To guard the safety and health of tenants, New York and many other cities require landlords to keep inside temperatures above a certain level from October until May. But not all building owners and managers follow the rules. Each year, heating complaints are either the number one or number two most frequent complaint to New York’s government services and information line, 3-1-1, says Tom Hunter, the spokesperson for a volunteer effort called Heat Seek NYC, citing data from the site NYC OpenData.

“Last year alone, 3-1-1 received 200,000 plus heating complaint calls,” he says. “Many more tenants go without heat and don’t call 3-1-1, so we don’t know exactly how many people are directly affected each year.”

Tenants can sue landlords over this, but historically, they’ve had to rely on their own hand written records of how cold their apartments get. And these records haven’t always held up in court. Heat Seek NYC hopes solve that problem by building internet-connected heat sensors to monitor the conditions of apartment buildings in order to provide a reliable, objective record that tenants and advocacy groups can use in court.

Full Story: Wired: How to Use the Internet of Things to Fight Slumlords

Previously:

The Dark Side of the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things Could Be Bad for the Environment

Mindful Cyborgs: E-Waste Redux and the Early Days of Social Media

This week on Chris Dancy and I talk about my e-waste in the Internet of Things article, “organic reach” on Facebook and how today’s social web is different from the social software of the early days of the net, such as IRC and Usenet.

Download and Show Notes: Mindful Cyborgs: From IRC to E-Waste Rapid Communion begets Complexity

The Internet of Things Could Be Bad for the Environment

pollution-getty

A bit more contrarianism from me at Wired today:

The pitch is that the Internet of Things will make our world a greener place. Environmental sensors can detect pollution, the voices say. Smart thermostats can help us save money on our electric bills. A new breed of agriculture tech can save water by giving crops exactly the amount they need and no more.

But this vast network of new online devices could also end up harming the environment. Manufacturing all those gadgets means expending both energy and raw materials. In many cases, they will replace an older breed of devices, which will need to be disposed of (so long, non-smart thermostat). And eventually, every IoT device you buy–and people are predicting there will be hundreds of thousands–will need to be retired too. Since all these devices will connect to the net, we should even consider the energy used by the data centers that drive them.

Full Story: Wired: The Internet of Things Could Drown Our Environment in Gadgets

Previously: The Dark Side of the Internet of Things

The Dark Side of the Internet of Things

Internet of Things

Another one from me at Wired:

The Internet of Things is coming. And the tech cognoscenti aren’t sure that’s a good thing.

For years, the prospect of an online world that extends beyond computers, phones, and tablets and into wearables, thermostats, and other devices has generated plenty of excitement and activity. But now, some of the brightest tech minds are expressing some doubts about the potential impact on everything from security and privacy to human dignity and social inequality.

That’s the conclusion of a new survey from the Pew Research Center. For ten years, the Washington, D.C. think tank has surveyed thousands of technology experts–like founding father Vint Cerf and Microsoft social media scholar danah boyd–about the future of the Internet. But while previous editions have mostly expressed optimism, this year people started expressing more concern. “We had a lot of warnings, a lot of people pushing back,” says Janna Anderson, co-author of the report.

Full Story: Wired: Why Tech’s Best Minds Are Very Worried About the Internet of Things

See also: Mindful Cyborgs: E-Waste in the Internet of Things, Enterprization of the Consumer, and More

HP Invents a Central Nervous System for the Earth

hp nervous system

Just days after Cisco signaled it will horn into IBM’s turf by rewiring an aging city in Massachusetts, Hewlett Packard announced this morning the first commercial application of its own holistic blueprint–the torturously acronymed “CeNSE” (short for Central Nervous System for the Earth). Much like IBM’s “Smarter Planet” campaign, HP proposes sticking billions of sensors on everything in sight and boiling down the resulting flood of data into insights for making the world a better, greener place. But what sets HP apart from its rivals is its determination to create a smarter planet almost entirely within house, from sensors of its own design and manufacture to servers to software to the consultants who will tie it all together. And its first customer could not be less green: Shell Oil.

Fast Company: HP Invents a “Central Nervous System for Earth” and Joins the Smarter Planet Sweepstakes

(via Grinding)

Adam Greenfield’s Everyware

Update: Adam tells me the book’s been delayed. Should be out soon though.

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but my friend Adam Greenfield has a book on ubicomp coming out: Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing. Actually, it was supposed to be out on the 18th, but Adam hasn’t mentioned the release on either of his blogs, and I haven’t been down to Powell’s to check yet.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to this book, because a. I don’t know much more about ubicomp than what I read in Smart Mobs. b. I’ve enjoyed Adam’s perspective on design/urban/tech issues at V-2 for the past few years, and his writing is always clear and enjoyable.

Here are a couple of interviews with him:

1. Interview from a French magazine.

2. Interview with Rebecca Blood:

I’ve been saying for about three years now that the first real business opportunity of the full-fledged everyware age is gonna be zones of amnesty — cafes where you can explicitly go to be offline and inaccessible. Maybe I’ll start a chain called Faraday’s Cage, or something. (It seems that a few coffeehouses and the like are actually starting to institute similar measures, at least during peak hours.)

Late update: I forgot this Podcast interview.

Notes from everyware talk by Adam Greenfield

Adam Greenfield‘s first book is available for pre-order on Amazon. I don’t know nearly enough about this ubicomp stuff, so I expect this will be the perfect opportunity to catch-up.

I’m not sure if these notes are from the book or from a talk with the same name, but they should give you an idea of the subject matter.

Wearable stuff

I’ve been thinking that wearable computing, ubicomp, and augmented reality won’t be very useful for existing computing tasks (designing, typing, book-keeping, data analysis, etc.) but will be useful in previously un-computerized jobs such as carpentry, bike messaging, and cooking. Wouldn’t it be useful for a carpenter’s goggles to calculate measurements and so forth while they worked? And wouldn’t it be nice for a cook to be able to see a recipe dangling in their field of vision instead of having to glance at a recipe? FedEx drivers or truckers would have the benefit of dash-based navigation systems, and existing GPS based handhelds would be adequate for foot-based delivery, but a bike messenger would have greater utility for a wearable navigation system.

For instance, here’s an activity that doesn’t usually involve computers: a wearable computing device for fisherpeople (via boing boing)

And by the way, here’s Microsoft’s new, ugly, always-on camera neckless:

I love the idea, but it’s even uglier than the MSN direct watch. Via 21f

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