your toaster is watching you- internet of things

Heading towards the future, we are moving towards an internet of things, which encapsulates physical objects connecting to the internet and becoming tangibly social able. These objects gain a sensory capacity allowing them to dynamically register changes to their environment, they store and process information as well as independently initiate action.

In 2008, the number of things connected to the internet exceeded the number of people on earth.  “Once (these) “Things” are connected to the Internet, they can only but become enrolled as active, worldly participants by knitting together, facilitating and contributing to networks of social exchange and discourse, and rearranging the rules of occupancy and patterns of mobility within the physical world.” These objects, for example, have capabilities such as tracking a human’s blood pressure and heart rate and connecting this information to other devices to track health for insurance purposes, or an alarm clock that can alter a person’s wake up time in consideration of external, time effecting instances.

When it is not only “us” but also our “Things” that can upload, download, disseminate and stream meaningful and meaning-making stuff, how does the way in which we occupy the physical world become different?” It raises questions on the experience of a place, the perception of objects and being human.


My remediation uses Brad, the anxious toaster, as an example of an internet object. I used 1984 as a representation of how these objects function under a form of surveillance, observing their surrounding environment in order to adjust its actions as for an object “to be truly smart, must learn from the cumulative data within its realm to understand and guess what likely choices might be for a given agent and then facilitate or enact these on behalf of that agent.” Brad the toaster is “in constant contact with other connected toasters like him — and thus keenly aware of how much action they’re getting.” And when he senses he is not being used enough he will respond in ways such as wiggling his handle to get your attention. This demonstrates the responsive intelligence objects are developing through their connection to the internet and other objects.

3 thoughts on “your toaster is watching you- internet of things

  1. The whole concept of this weeks lecture is incredible, the way that everything is becoming so connected and “smart”. I thought the idea of Siri, or smart TV’s were amazing when they first came out because of what they were able to do but now we are making everything to be connected, even things like toasters which you spoke about in your post. A lot of people don’t like the idea of being in a constantly connected world because of the way that it can intrude on your privacy and although I think there are some things about this connectivity that scares me, like being filmed through your TV, I think overall it makes for a much easier life since these smart “things” will be doing so much of the work for us. That being said I am the sort of person that isn’t at all worried about the fact that your devices can listen to what you are saying in order to advertise relevant products to you, I just think it is convenient, so my threshold for what is intruding on my privacy is pretty relaxed.


  2. Hi Emma!
    I loved that you used the toaster as an example of how the internet of things has turned even the most inanimate object into something that will speak to us with the help of technology. Your remediation makes me think about how creepy the concept of big brother is, and how its even creepier now that your toaster may have these capabilities! Is the internet of things going too far? I think its headed that way for sure! What do you think?


  3. I love your remediation, using a toaster to demonstrate an Internet object is a great idea! This topic felt like we were discussing an episode of ‘Black Mirror’, rather of our own reality! Your blog makes me question if I will have a home filled with these multifaceted, high-tech devises in the near future…


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