Why Things Matter

11 Nov
I was really amazed myself when I was exposed to the idea of “Internet of Things“. I personally had an experience myself in which I indulged myself in deep thinking, asking myself if non-living objects around are able to communicate with each other through languages I’m not aware of. But at that moment of time, what I was thinking was merely an affectionate kind of approach. The “Internet of Things” concept is much more different. Although it translates the idea of communication between “things” through network and Internet system, it uses a technological approach in making this possible. So in short, a contrast of humanity versus technology?
Our communication with the Internet & the computers is one important example of Internet of Things. Even without us realizing it, we are actually communicating with these objects all day long! The Internet & the computers are definitely non-living things, but the fact that we are interacting with us (and got addicted with it) tells a lot in the sense that non-living things are now able to create meanings in our lives & experiences.

Internet of Things – The point where there are  more objects to the Internet than people.

Julian Bleecker’s article of “A Manifesto of for Networked Objects – Cohabiting with Pigeons, Arphids and Aibos in the Internet of Things” highlighted the fact that the concept of “Internet of Things” had been well implemented through Blogjects. At one point, objects are indeed communicating with each other but we need to be connected first in order to be able to communicate with these objects. But putting non-living things aside, have you ever wonder if what will happen if your pets started talking to you all of a sudden? A “I’m hungry. Feed me” statement coming out of nowhere will definitely shock me. It’s just not appropriate & not logical for animals & non-living objects (our daily appliances) to start speaking to humans. But think about it. They shouldn’t talk, but how about communicating with each other? Not through languages, but some kind of signals or systems. That’s what Internet of Things is all about.

This video pretty much explains about “Internet of Things” in a simpler way.

Video URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mf7HxU0ZR_Q
Bleecker also exposed us to a few common characteristics possessed by these intelligent objects which I find pretty interesting and humanized.

Blogjects trace and trace where they are and where they’ve been

It’s somehow like the check-in software for mobile devices as well as the Facebook check-in feature, isn’t it? Now even a criminal on the run will be detected through Blogjects. It’s convenient in a way, especially for parents who want to know the location of their children. It’s just an act of concern. But how about adults? It would become a type ofprivacy issue and we (me included) will definitely don’t want to combine both my personal & public lives in the same location. For me, I would still want to remain the flexibility I have with objects, in the sense that I only want to connected when I want to, not unconsciously. Imagine every single object on yourself having a chip which anyone can access to and check on your location. That would definitely be a threat to the privacy & security issues of individuals. Thus, technology can be so, but it would be great if technology can be customized as well for safety concern. Perhaps instead of being a compulsory thing, technology can be optional. Some prefer to know where’s their luggage of their mobile phones are, but some might prefer the manual way of seeking for them to avoid any unwanted risks.However, from a different perspective, objects connected with the Internet can also help individuals in a positive way. For instance, as mentioned in the lecture, small & portable objects such as a shoe can help in detecting heart rates and this might be able to save one’s life!

Blogjects have self-contained (embedded) histories of their encounter and experience.

As if they are having a live of their own. In this case, how are we going to define humanity? What makes human, human, when humans can be easily replaced with created objects. What makes humans unique is the embedded emotions in human beings and the ability to think and act on our own. Thus, personally, I think that it is important toset a limit on what an object can do and cannot do. Objects, anyhow, are tools to help us in conducting our work efficiently, definitely not to take over our lives. However, I still think that it’s cool to have objects start talking to us. It reminds me of Beauty & the Beast, when the candles & clocks start talking. It makes them more than a tool. But anyhow, there must be a limit and both humans & objects should not cross the line.

Blogjects always have some form of agency – they can foment action and participate; they have an assertive voice within the social web.
This makes Blogjects an individual, with his/her very own personality & appearance. Thinking of the varieties of designs objects have today, it’s not hard to single out every single object (with its very own design) in making him/her unique – as one. Objects today somehow are having a lot of similarities with humans, with their own appearances and also their own unique capabilities (the functions). Even objects now are personalized. And when they are personalized, it makes them stand out as one, not in one category or group. Thus, they have their own voice, their own personality, and their own capability. It’s good to have useful & unique objects blending in with our lives. They are like pets – although they can’t move – but if possible, they can communicate with us, and this function will definitely make things better.
If you are to ask me, would I prefer to have communication between objects? I would say yes, it makes things easier, but I would prefer not to have these objects dominating our lives. Because the more they dominate our lives, the less human we become. Where will all the meaning of cooking our own dinner go? Where will we get all these meaningful experiences? Most importantly, will our bonds with other individuals be affected? Or will our bonds with these objects be more meaningful than our bonds with other individuals.
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One Response to “Why Things Matter”

  1. ramconvergmedia November 17, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    I agree, with what you say about “how are we going to define humanity? What makes human, human, when humans can be easily replaced with created objects”, with the rise of artificial intelligence, we will look at machines as if they were humans. In fact, we will soon be communicating more with objects and machines than with humans and having a social communication with them. However I do not think they will be “dominating our lives”, and make us “less human”. Because, we are the one who are still in control and the one who program and use machines. – commented by Ram Peow Loong Naidu

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