Beyond The Object

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Information about Beyond The Object

Published on February 13, 2009

Author: neilmulholland



Slides for a lecture delivered to 2nd year Glasgow School of Art Design students. This lecture forms part of an informal staff exchange between Historical & Critical Studies at GSA and the Centre for Visual & Cultural Studies at Edinburgh College of Art.

Beyond the Object Glasgow School of Art - 12th February 2009 Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK: Scotland Licence

1999 1973 2009 Chris Anderson Free: Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business

Ambient Intelligence (AmI) requires convergence Minister for Convergence Stephen Carter recently appointed by Gordon Brown

Ubiquitous Computing – Key Terms ‘Everyware’ (Adam Greenfield- The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing) where information processing has diffused into everyday life, and virtually disappeared from view.

Ubiquitous Computing – Key Terms AmI (Ambient Intelligence) electronic environments that are sensitive and responsive to the presence of people – another way of describing the deployment of Everyware

Ubiquitous Computing – Key Terms RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) – a specific form of AmI everyware. I will focus on RFID as an example of everyware.

R Fiscal ID RFID introduced via its cost benefits/ potential, e.g: Tracking of orders, just-in-time precision, monitoring of best-before dates. This reading of the technology is managerial or economically determined.

e.g. of Economic Determinist view of AmI: “The Wall*Mart Standard” What WallMart wants allegedly effects the whole marketplace regardless of whether or not RFID is necessary in all commercial arenas. What evidence is there for this? e.g. of WallMart’s global market hold:

22 million Germans reportedly carry a quot;Paybackquot; loyalty card. What 10,000 of these consumers do not know is that the Payback cards they picked up at the METRO Future Store in Rheinberg, Germany contain more than just the promise of rewards - they also carry hidden RFID remote tracking chips.

R Fun ID Social acceptance of RFID; technology introduced via its entertainment, leisure and ‘exclusiveness’ – by its role in the ‘experience economy’. From an managerial perspective, this appears to be mainly retail-related acceptance (macrosociological), but it could just as easily be seen to be led by social interactionism (microsociological). Is AmI really human-centred rather than technologically or economically determined? It’s obviously misguided to assume that the new technology will determine social behaviour – could be that RFID is the product of social behaviour and that it adapts with it.

This leads to Social Constructivist readings of AmI: “Passive Technologies are being superceeded by interactive technologies”. = ‘Closed networks are replaced with open networks’ Note that the social constructivist reading of AmI could be taken as utopic or dystopic depending on the evidence you use to illustrate them. Let’s start with some fairly positive illustrations (RFunID) of RFID implemented in design contexts and follow them up with a few dystopian examples (RFearID):

Inspa World


The mobile phone is equipped with a 13.56 MHz RFID reader. The reading range is very close, about 1-2 cm. This facilitates touch-based interaction - the TouchMe physical selection paradigm. This demonstration is created in VTT Electronics in co-operation with Nokia. The tags have various directions or commands for the mobile phone. These include actions such as: Initiating a phone call to a number specified in the tag Adding a phone number to the address book Opening a WAP page Opening a WWW page Sending an SMS

Encourages more impulse or ‘tabbed’ buying: You walk past a poster. Swipe your RFID-reading mobile phone over it, phone goes online and allows you to by the product. Swipe the cover of a CD to hear a 30 second snippet of the music it contains. Other examples include: When was your bottle of beer made? Swipe the bottle... When is the next collection of rubbish due?....swipe your bin What's the Amazon link to an author?....swipe a book From a business perspective, RFID can be embedded in

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