The Grim Meathook Future post
I very rarely stray into the world of politics on my blog...but this is too good to pass up. Please read this:
Thanks to Warren Ellis (not like he's a close personal friend or anything) for bringing it to my attention via his latest THE MINISTRY column:
Oh ... Spime Future? No, I'm not totally convinced of the Spime Future, or, as it is also sometimes known, The Internet Of Things. The idea is close to that of the noosphere, an invisible world of information flows. A Spime is an object (or blobject, or blogject) that exists as, around and within a constantly-updated, totally-recorded flow of information. In Sterling's words, "A Spime is an object that ate and internalized the previous industrial order." In practise, it's probably going to turn into that dumb idea of internet fridges that email shopping lists to the supermarket. If it's anything like my local Tesco online delivery service, the groceries won't turn up for four days and will be missing half the stuff you ordered anyway. Bruce Sterling wrote an excellent book on spimes called SHAPING THINGS, published by MIT Media Lab, which I recommend to you. A lot of people are thinking about this right now, and the conversation will soon start leaking into the wider world. There's also a fair chance that more and more people will be implanting hacked Radio Frequency ID tags and the like into themselves over the next few years. Which leads me to: There's a middle distance between the complete collapse of infrastructure and some weird geek dream of electronically knowing where all your stuff is. (I'm cheating: the end result of pure spime theory is electronic omniscience, which is not a useless concept.) Between apocalyptic politics and nerdvana is the human dimension; how this stuff is taken onboard by smart people at street level. You all know Bill Gibson's saw from his cyberpunk novels, that the street finds its own use for things. It still holds. But, right now, I think there's an urgency and a sense of envelope-pushing in exactly what uses are found for these things.