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.


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bullets of truth everywhere -digital resistance

As the internet, being a distributed system, allowed individual nodes to broadcast to the entire network, the rise of cyber libertarianism occurred referring “to the belief that individuals—acting in whatever capacity they choose (as citizens, consumers, companies, or collectives)—should be at liberty to pursue their own tastes and interests online.

From the outset, decryption was seen as a game of codes and secrets, it gave cracking codes a playful element. The revolution of the PC lead to the appearance of hacker culture and the first settlers of the wild west, or electronic frontier. This game turned into something else as the information being extracted was like forbidden fruit, one hacker describing it as “heroin through an addict’s veins”.

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my voice is higher than your voice- the social network revolutions

When considering social media as a tool, its power comes from connectivity. Participation in the use of this kind of dialogic media is both self-rewarding and addictive, which leads to people wanting to be heard. Because of this, the internet has turned into a political space due to its fast mobilization, mass involvement and scalable openness.

These features have led to social media becoming an important tool in coordinating protests and demonstrations. This was clearly seen in Ukraine during the Euromaidan protests as social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter were used “for coordinating protest activities and sharing information, to inform protesters about urgent news and issues, discuss plans of future actions, warn against using violence, share advice on how to deal with police forces, and much more.” As the response and utility of social media become obvious and much better organised and aggregated, use extended out to people offering legal and medical advice online.

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tweeter turned journalist – bridges made of pebbles

As we shifted towards a more distributed media mode of communication and away from legacy media, consumers became prosumers, as participation is its own reward. “The emergence of such produsage is further enabled by a shift towards a more equitable media environment which allows all participants to both receive and send information, on an (almost) equal basis.” Data is growing at a 40% compound annual rate, this doesn’t just mean the amount of information is increasing, but also the speed. Industrial media feedback loops are too slow to keep up with modern media channels, mainly social media.

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personal data in exchange for cat videos- the walled garden

The rise of the distributed network created the internet, as there is no central control centre and each end node is equal and possesses control, the information network is independent of the infrastructure over it runs. As Kevin Kelly explains, this “internet is a copy machine.” But what happens when walled garden platforms such as Apple App store and Facebook curate the content being sent out and tie it to the platform, stopping it from being copied across to other places? This is no longer the internet, as the walled garden “is a closed ecosystem in which all the operations are controlled by the ecosystem operator.” Because of this, these platforms are storing our data and treating it as a form of currency. In order to continue using these platforms, we must exchange our personal information and data. Bruce Sterling describes this exchange as “the internet had users, stacks have livestock.” As the users have become a source that produces surplus value.

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My remediation uses the biblical tale of Adam and Eve, which is set in a literal walled garden, in which the couple live under a similar “ecosystem operator”. It seemed like the perfect example to incorporate a quote by McKenzie Wark, “In exchange for the poll tax of personal data, we get to watch each other’s cat videos, while Google becomes some new version of the state, presiding over all our bitty lives, master of all our data, in aggregate.

“anyway, here’s Wonderwall” – music covers on the long tail

Since the development of the distributed information network, people were given more opportunity and platforms to create and spread their own content, without the restrictions of the gatekeepers, filters and costs that legacy media forms need to work through. This led to mass production of content and information, and the services which held this content “automatically gets better the more people use it.” Because the users are the ones adding value to these platforms, this encouraged the rise of mass amateurization, with everyone producing and broadcasting their own content. The internet became a space where even the most unpopular content could remain accessible and included, this resulted in the development of the long tail, which extends to infinity and contains content only a few people will desire, but even so, still has an audience.

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a world that is both everywhere and nowhere* – about presence bleed and what it means for our working life

*Cyberspace as described by John Perry Barlow

As Kevin Kelly explains, “We now live in a new economy created by shrinking computers and expanding communications.” This new economy rose from a new form of labour- liquid labour- which caused a shift to the immaterial, working with information flows instead of physical matter. This move from industrial to information work means that we no longer work on factory lines, but on computers and phones.

Organisations that function within this global network economy rely their production on information, meaning that information is their power and value. In order to achieve a shorter feedback loop in order to receive information faster, the logic of free information flows is that labour is always available and unrestrained by borders, which means workers are optimally always available.


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spinning a distributed network- the world wide web

As discovered last week, proximity is no longer a physical or timely issue when it comes to communication since the rapid progression of technology. This led to the world becoming a “global village”, meaning that no matter how far away, it is possible to connect to people all around the world. John Perry Barlow explained that this new world is “both everywhere and nowhere.” leading to the breakdown of material barriers and a free flow of information. This overthrow of matter has been described as “the central event of the 20th century” and the information flow increased even more due to the introduction of distributed networks, which broke down hierarchy and control and enabled any node (user) to have control of information.


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