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By (February 18, 2009) (,)


To be frank, this week’s readings made me feel physically uncomfortable. As I read them in the order Kati listed on the website, a sense of powerlessness, confusion and awe fell over me. Maybe it’s because this is my first semester at ITP or maybe it’s my fear of the dark under side embedded in these developing, yet still unknown technologies. By the time I got to the Spime, IPSO, Internet of Things, and Robotic Pet readings, I felt like I was reading about the Jetsons.jetsonsWhile some aspects of smart objects are clearly beneficial and appealing (like health and temperature sensors that could notify the user of dangers or changes to his body or immediate environment), the interconnected network of the Internet of Things just seemed overwhelming… and ultimately a way to decrease human productivity since our objects complete the majority of our tasks for us, so that we barely have to be humans any more. In the “Carmen: Traffic, Sustainability and Commerce” scenario, the subject shops exclusively online (as many do today), can physically pick up the goods, but her billing and money automatically transfer. Similarly, the only “work” and actual human interaction that Maria of “Maria – Road Warrior” has to do is actually give her presentation to “tough” audience…and take the flight itself to a “Far Eastern Country.”

Another thing that makes me uncomfortable is the way that the IPSO makers simply claim their IP (Internet Protocol) “is secure” – end of story – and that information stored on networked devices are “safe” and “private” simply because the user can select to keep his network private. If we have thousands of hackers in 2009, some even targeting the ITP server ;), I can only imagine what the outlook will be like in 2029. If all of a human’s information, health, educational information, commerce, work, finances, and lifestyle preferences is online, wouldn’t it be fairly easy to hack into a system which in fact be deemed “private” and perform a complete identity theft on a level we’ve never seen before? Maybe I’m afraid of the future; maybe I’m just paranoid. I think the thing that bothers me the most is that the public doesn’t really have a say in the technology being created that will inevitably effect them (both good and bad) and the race to create new effecting computing devices exists mostly in the private and informed realms. 


If I had to “animate” a non-human object, I would chose my guitar because I think that most instruments tend to have an imbedded personality in them anyway, developed by age of the instrument, the “history” of the instrument (where it went, who it was played by etc), its sound and its look. I mean look at Chuck Berry and his famous, hollow body guitar “Lucille,” who has been his musical companion for years (See photo).chuck_berry

I have several electric guitars, one of which is pink and has a vintage design and is very rare. In real life, I named it “Lickedy Split” (see below) and this name is fitting. I think it would be great if I could give the guitar a voice and install pitch and touch sensors so that it could tell me when a string was out of tune or if a string was worn out and in need of changing. I could also program it to be a sort of guardian angel, (since many musicians perform inebriated) where it could use light and sound to warn the user (me) of proximity to water (electrocution) and water damaging the guitar’s wood and electronics. It would be amazing if the guitar could also arrange it’s own travel since guitars can be really bulky and hard to transport. It might also have a teaching function where it displays on a screen, on the back side of the guitar, what the chord formations look like in order to is play a difficult song or diagram what a particular picking pattern is.guitarz The personality of this particular guitar would have to be sassy in order to live up to the rock and roll nature of the music that it plays and also feminine due to it’s pink hue and girly name. I would give it a voice, a screen and several light functions to communicate, but I would hesitate in giving it too many human qualities – it is a guitar after all… Lickedy Split’s vocabulary would be limited. We wouldn’t really carry on real conversations. 

February 18, 2009

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