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robertogreco : networkedobjects   6

The truth about smart cities: ‘In the end, they will destroy democracy' | Cities | The Guardian
"The smart city is, to many urban thinkers, just a buzzphrase that has outlived its usefulness: ‘the wrong idea pitched in the wrong way to the wrong people’. So why did that happen – and what’s coming in its place?"



"In truth, competing visions of the smart city are proxies for competing visions of society, and in particular about who holds power in society. “In the end, the smart city will destroy democracy,” Hollis warns. “Like Google, they’ll have enough data not to have to ask you what you want.”

You sometimes see in the smart city’s prophets a kind of casual assumption that politics as we know it is over. One enthusiastic presenter at the Future Cities Summit went so far as to say, with a shrug: “Internet eats everything, and internet will eat government.” In another presentation, about a new kind of “autocatalytic paint” for street furniture that “eats” noxious pollutants such as nitrous oxide, an engineer in a video clip complained: “No one really owns pollution as a problem.” Except that national and local governments do already own pollution as a problem, and have the power to tax and regulate it. Replacing them with smart paint ain’t necessarily the smartest thing to do.

And while some tech-boosters celebrate the power of companies such as Über – the smartphone-based unlicensed-taxi service now banned in Spain and New Delhi, and being sued in several US states – to “disrupt” existing transport infrastructure, Hill asks reasonably: “That Californian ideology that underlies that user experience, should it really be copy-pasted all over the world? Let’s not throw away the idea of universal service that Transport for London adheres to.”

Perhaps the smartest of smart city projects needn’t depend exclusively – or even at all – on sensors and computers. At Future Cities, Julia Alexander of Siemens nominated as one of the “smartest” cities in the world the once-notorious Medellin in Colombia, site of innumerable gang murders a few decades ago. Its problem favelas were reintegrated into the city not with smartphones but with publicly funded sports facilities and a cable car connecting them to the city. “All of a sudden,” Alexander said, “you’ve got communities interacting” in a way they never had before. Last year, Medellin – now the oft-cited poster child for “social urbanism” – was named the most innovative city in the world by the Urban Land Institute.

One sceptical observer of many presentations at the Future Cities Summit, Jonathan Rez of the University of New South Wales, suggests that “a smarter way” to build cities “might be for architects and urban planners to have psychologists and ethnographers on the team.” That would certainly be one way to acquire a better understanding of what technologists call the “end user” – in this case, the citizen. After all, as one of the tribunes asks the crowd in Shakespeare’s Coriolanus: “What is the city but the people?”"
smartcities  cities  surveillance  technology  stevenpoole  democracy  2014  usmanhaque  danhill  adamgreenfield  songdo  medellín  leohollis  urbanurbanism  data  internetofthings  networkedobjects  californianideology  juliaalexander  communities  medellin  colombia  iot 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Goodbye, Cameras : The New Yorker
[Craig has now posted a better, expanded (including lots of sample photos) version of this article on his website: http://craigmod.com/journal/photography_hello/ ]

"One of the great joys of that walk was the ability to immediately share with family and friends the images as they were captured in the mountains: the golden, early-morning light as it filtered through the cedar forest; a sudden valley vista after a long, upward climb. Each time, I pulled out my iPhone, not the GX1, then shot, edited, and broadcasted the photo within minutes. As I’ve become a more network-focussed photographer, I’ve come to love using the smartphone as an editing surface; touch is perfect for photo manipulation. There’s a tactility that is lost when you edit with a mouse on a desktop computer. Perhaps touch feels natural because it’s a return to the chemical-filled days of manually poking and massaging liquid and paper to form an image I had seen in my head. Yet if the advent of digital photography compressed the core processes of the medium, smartphones further squish the full spectrum of photographic storytelling: capture, edit, collate, share, and respond. I saw more and shot more, and returned from the forest with a record of both the small details—light and texture and snippets of life—and the conversations that floated around them on my social networks.

In the same way that the transition from film to digital is now taken for granted, the shift from cameras to networked devices with lenses should be obvious. While we’ve long obsessed over the size of the film and image sensors, today we mainly view photos on networked screens—often tiny ones, regardless of how the image was captured—and networked photography provides access to forms of data that go beyond pixels. This information, like location, weather, or even radiation levels, can transform an otherwise innocuous photo of an empty field near Fukushima into an entirely different object. If you begin considering emerging self-metrics that measure, for example, your routes through cities, fitness level, social status, and state of mind (think Foursquare, Nike+, Facebook, and Twitter), you realize that there is a compelling universe of information waiting to be pinned to the back of each image. Once you start thinking of a photograph in those holistic terms, the data quality of stand-alone cameras, no matter how vast their bounty of pixels, seems strangely impoverished. They no longer capture the whole picture.

It’s clear now that the Nikon D70 and its ilk were a stopgap between that old Leica M3 that I coveted over a decade ago and the smartphones we photograph with today. Tracing the evolution from the Nikon 8008 to the Nikon D70 to the GX1, we see cameras transitioning into what they were bound to become: networked lenses. [Max Fenton adds on @Reading: "And books into networked screens."]Susan Sontag once said, “While there appears to be nothing that photography can’t devour, whatever can’t be photographed becomes less important.” Today, it turns out, it’s whatever can’t be networked that becomes less important."

[Update: see also http://kottke.org/14/01/goodbye-cameras-hello-networked-lenses ]
cameras  iphone  mobile  photography  cellphones  networkedcameras  2013  craigmod  internet  web  metadata  sharing  change  books  maxfenton  reading  networkedcontent  networkedobjects 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Mass + Text
Text from the about page: http://massandtext.tumblr.com/post/51958922935/what-is-mass-text ]

"Mass + Text wants to understand the relationship between language (analogue and digital signals), physical objects, and the communities they anchor. I’m curious about how we translate thought into form, and back again.

Mass + Text happened because I like words, and I like the idea that objects are a byproduct of their cultural context. I think there’s an interesting back and forth between said things and made things, and this is an attempt to think-through-writing till I make some sense of it.

I’m not quite sure what I’m doing, but I’m going to scratch this itch anyway. What I do know is that the emergence of ubiquitous computing is going to bring together language and objects in weird and interesting ways, with implications for architecture, media, journalism, consumer technology, and fashion. This is my attempt to begin to make some sense of it.

***

The ease with which we’re able to summon and dismiss texts on glowing rectangles makes us forget that language isn’t weightless. The ways in which we call out and respond to each other are deeply anchored within physical things. Heavy things. We make meaning by spilling oceans of ink, crushing mountains of herbs and minerals into pigments, and by sliding slabs of quivering muscle against each other.

And even when we summon an idea from the depths of cyberspace,and it leaps onto our screens, that idea is bound to this plane by physical objects. Language exists within at least three dimensions.

So if language can shape mass (indeed, if language is mass), what will new forms of communication mean for the things we build, and the way we build? Can we incorporate content into spaces and objects in ways that go beyond merely turning them into display screens? How does this communication influence our relationships with our tools?

With ourselves?

***

Areas of interest:

• the evolution of media and journalism: what does it mean that ESPN is interested in the data being harvested from wearable tech such as the Jawbone UP? If the medium is the message, how will media companies design for wearable computing devices that have very little room for display screens?

• internet-connected devices: the coming wave of “smart" devices offers an opportunity to rethink everything from how these objects look to what they do. How do you design analog/digital interfaces that take into account qualities of mass such as weight, texture and temperature?

• architecture: we can speak to our spaces, and our spaces can speak back (through location-based Foursquare tips, geo-triggered alerts, changing room temperature to suit our personal profile, etc.). The built form is how we interface with the city, and changes to that form have implications for everything from our ideas about privacy, community, and to discussions about who has the right to the city.

• fashion: we know clothing can be language, but the use cases of clothing-as-tool have been surprisingly few, i.e. clothing can keep us warm, and they offer some measure of protection from weapons, but that’s about it. How can we make clothing even more useful? And how will those utilitarian scripts be reflected in aesthetics?

• histories of communication: everywhere mass intersects with text, an idea finds its way into our world, be it when a finger strikes against a keyboard, or when someone’s vocal chords rub together. I want to understand that threshold, liminal space where a concept is impregnated within an object, and given form."
text  communication  objects  emmanuelquartey  language  digital  communities  community  blogs  ubicomp  internetofthings  networkedobjects  senses  media  journalism  wearable  technology  jawbone  architecture  design  fashion  history  interfaces  ux  mobile  smartdevices  analog  wearables  iot 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Beyond the “smart city,” part II: A definition | Urbanscale
"What do we call places where the above things apply? In recognition of the increasing ubiquity, everydayness and unremarkability of the technologies involved, we call them cities."
data  cocities  sustainability  adamgreenfield  smartcities  urbancomputing  definitions  2011  networkedobjects  services  efficiency  mobility  enhancedmobility  transparency  information  access  urban  urbanism  everyware  resources  urbanscale  serendipity  delight  citymagic  socialequity  inclusion  citizenagency  inclusivity  inlcusivity 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Five Billion « Thoughts
"It’s important to note that this number does not reflect either the number of people owning a mobile phone and that the United Nations Millennium Declaration remains a crucial milestone to reach for the mobile industry. However it shows that homes, bridges, cars, laptops and netbooks, white goods, plants, spimes, and other objects have a mobile phone subscription and are likely to become the most important target segment for mobile operators around the world."
mobile  phones  spimes  via:blackbeltjones  networkedobjects  infrastructure  urbancomputing  everyware  communications  information  raphaelgrignani 
july 2010 by robertogreco

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