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By (February 20, 2009) ()

The Internet of things, spimes or blogjects can definitely find their place in our modern life, considering that most of the technical barriers for making things connected and “aware” have been overcome. It seems to me that there are some issues with the ethical or psychological implications of being surrounded by all these intelligent devices. The challenge is to find applications of these technologies that are interesting enough to get people involved and eager to have a “relationship” with their objects.

I find similarities with the way social networking became popular in the last years. Probably issues of privacy and sharing of personal information on a huge and unsafe digital network have always been a problem, since the early stages of the Web. So why people all of a sudden decided to share even more of their personal information, providing not only personal data, but also information about their life, their hobbies, activities, friends? They were stimulated by the promise of some kind of reward. People who joined Facebook, for instance, were attracted by the promise to get access to the information about other people, being them current friends or people they met years before and lost contact with.

Making things intelligent, sensing our behavior, monitoring our public or private spaces can really find some interesting socially convenient applications. The designers of spimes and these types of technology often illustrate projects that deal with the respect of the environment (objects that measure CO2 emissions, and so on). I am personally more interested in applications for a smaller scale, and in finding what type of information our personal objects in our daily life could provide to/about ourselves and to/about our network of friends.
But we also have to consider that all these devices will produce more and more information, with the risk to invade privacies or make people psychologically uncomfortable. For example, would you feel comfortable if your plants would be able to tell your Twitter friends that they are dying for your lack of attention?

February 20, 2009

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