From September 2005 to June 2006 a team of thirteen scholars at the The University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication explored how new and maturing networking technologies are transforming the way in which we interact with content, media sources, other individuals and groups, and the world that surrounds us.
This site documents the process and the results.
I've been thinking about the relationship between space and networked things as I write this report with Nicolas Nova for our workshop on objects that blog and I've realized (without too much surprise) that that workshop and my thinking about "place" and networked publics are pulling together, particularly in the context of the Internet of Things.
When the place group presented its thinking on the role of place in the context of networked publics, I felt that it was important to consider how a world in which Things will alter the patterns of usage, movement and mobility with space. (I'll capitalize for now to distinguish between networked Internet of Things things and non-networked things, and so as to be succinct I'll do an end-run around Heidegger, Kant and Latour, but not for long Anne!) And I'll call the differentiated kind of movement and rules of occupancy within this different kind of place, motility, so as to emphasize what I think is a safe speculation: a world in which Things that co-occupy physical space are known (by the other occupants of that space) or assumed to have the ability to disseminate, record, and perhaps even put in context what happens in that space and circulate such within the network will change the patterns of use, the kinds of social practice that obtain, and the imaginary about that space. This kind of space and the rules of tenancy are different from space in which such "blogging" characteristics are not assumed about things.
The easiest analogy is to think about how patterns of usage and the "rules of tenancy" for occupying space are altered when that space contains surveillance technologies. (By rules, I mean both the unwritten as well as the more formalized in terms of law, as well as social policy.) The work of the R&D collective The Institute for Applied Autonomy is one of the better examples of really bringing to the fore the way surveillance technologies changes the way we think about, move through, and generally occupy space. Their project iSee takes DIY plotted locations of urban surveillance and, using Google Map-like techniques (way before Google Map-like techniques were formalized), creates new pedestrian paths so as to avoid as much surveillance exposure for those wishing to stay uncharted.
This to me is a great, perhaps even canonical example of the ways in which place, mobility, together with the capacity of networks is impacted. There is something more than just surveillance upon hapless occupants of physical space. In this example, there seems to be an important relationship as well between the Internet and mapping practices as well. The example is a very early one, in Internet years and Internet practices (pre-Google Maps, as I mentioned, and there really is no networked Thing, strictly speaking), but it anticipates in my mind a confluence of networks, Things and differentiated social practice as a result of blending these together.
I am speculating here that the introduction of the "Thing" that is networked in such a way as to circulate within both physical space and networked space will changes the ways in which we occupy space, deserves closer attention by the community of folks working on explicating as well as making this new kind of networked place.
So, what does it all mean? It means that the Internet of Things is less about RFID tags everywhere and more about a different kind of architecture, where boundaries and paths are shaped also by networked Things.
And what are the stakes? Assuming we care about changes in the rules of tenancy of place and are concerned about this kind of architecture, we may want to explicate these new rules so we can think through ways to create more habitable space.
Why do I blog this? Because I am trying to create what I think is an important connect-the-dots game between Internet of Things euphoria, Internet of Things dystopia and a pragmatic set of "design patterns" so that this stuff becomes legible to the "doers" —Â those who create the worlds in which we will be tenants (most likely the designers, engineers, policy and standards body folks and so on who are the architects and machinists of these worlds.)
How much will *you* pay for IM? AOL is betting that at least the corporate world will cough up money for "pro" IM capabilities. A partnership with WebEx gives them IM with video, security, conferencing, etc. Time will tell if people will pay for it, and whether the competition (Yahoo, Google, MS) respond in-kind.
more @ ZD Net
In "The New Organisation", the Economist tackles the question of how the workplace has changed in the fifty years since William Whyte's the Organization Man. I'd like to venture further here and suggest that the 20th century was determined by hierarchies—Fordist, top-down hierarchies in the first, modern half, Post-Fordist flattened hierarchies in the second, postmodern half—while the 21st century will be determined by networks. In network culture, your role isn't so much where you fit into a hierarchy or what you do as an individual, it's where you stand in the network.
Technorati Tags: network city, network culture, networked publics
43Folders brought to my attention the Burdens of the Modern Beast, a Washington Post article on how today's networked individual (43Folders suggests we might call them urban crap wranglers) is carrying more and more stuff around with them. This article has personal resonance this week: as I've been working simultaneously on my lecture on Philip Johnson at Yale as well as my Network City, and Networked Publics work, I've found myself carrying not just my laptop bag, but a giant orange Patagonia bag filled with books. With the lecture at least temporarily under control, I suppose I can focus and just carry a book or two with me. But still, as this flickr tag set (this one too) shows, we have this insatiable desire to take stuff with us. The most interesting observation in the Post article is from cultural historian Thomas Hine, who suggests that this proliferation of items in our personal kit reflects “the tendency of our society to dispense with sources of shared stability -- the long-term job, neighborhoods, unions, family dinners -- and transform us into autonomous free agents.
Net Neutrality is a crucial issue for networked publics and the topic of one chapter of the collaborative book we are pursuing will address this topic. On Tuesday Internet content providers such as Google and last mile telecoms such as telephone and cable companies clashed over regulatory policies that might enforce net neutrality. The stakes aren't so much the current implementation of broadband as the future. Telecoms have expressed their desire to build what would amount to a second, super-fast network that would deliver only privileged content to the consumer. For example, your DSL or Cable Internet provider would be able to transmit HDTV-quality content to your home in real time whereas other content providers would have access only to a slower network. Founding father of the Internet and Google evangelist Vint Cerf spoke in favor of Net Neutrality, arguing "We risk losing the Internet as a catalyst for consumer choice, for economic growth, for technological innovation and for global competitiveness."
Meanwhile, at a conference marking the 10th anniversary of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, John Thorne, a senior vice president and deputy general counsel at Verizon stated bluntly "The network builders are spending a fortune constructing and maintaining the networks that Google intends to ride on with nothing but cheap servers. It is enjoying a free lunch that should, by any rational account, be the lunch of the facilities providers." In contrast, Om Malik's blog, Daniel Berninger fires back, stating that the future of the Internet and even of the technology industry in this country depends the adoption of Net Neutrality.
We have no interest in being anti-establishment,
This from Bruno Giussani's blog, capturing some legible thoughts on the tension between blogs and conversations. I like these kinds of conversations because they take a bit of the wind out of the blimp of exuberance and give lots of delicious food for thought for creating new kinds of near-future culture-making machines.
Sure, Technorati and others are trying to make it easier to track discussions on specific topics - although they only capture part of the blogosphere and sifting through search results is not very efficient. Trackbacks and tags do help, but trackbacks are not universally implemented and seem to be used less and less, for whatever reason, and tagging is far from being an exact science. Feeds and feedreaders are a great way to manage quantity (Robert keeps track of several hundred feeds, I'm just below 100 and trying to remain there) but don't solve the qualitative problem of locating the next participant in the discussion you launched.
The era of telegraph has finally come to an end. Effective 27 January, Western Union announced that it is no longer sending telegrams. The company will remain, having made a transition to wiring money some time ago. While this was predictable—the last time I saw a telegram was in the early 1980s and even that was unusual—what are the next forms of media to die? Always an inferior format, cassette tape must be on its last legs by now. More ominously, Quantegy, formerly Ampex, the last US manufacturer of reel-to-reel recording tape had a near death experience last year. So, too, the days for analog broadcast television continue to draw near, even though the original US date of transition in 2007 has been extended. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for media!
Technorati Tags: networked publics