Events are new magazines, and ThingsCon was one of the best events I’ve seen. Anthropologists, business people, feminists, futurists, writers and comic book people were speaking about “Internet of Things” as if they were in command of that world. Even the most intensely geeky tech presentations were built on big ideas.
As Warren Ellis said at ThingsCon, we may be living in the last days when nobody knows where we are — when the home is still like an aristocrat’s castle, distinct from the rest of the world.
We may think we’re just networking computers, but our cars are the computers that carry us, our keyboards are the computers that write, our planes are the computers that fly.
Too many people think that the “smartest” thing a thing can do is to spy on other people. We must put human values into things, we must beware of the clashes among things. A smart house can clash with a happy house. The thoughtless convenience of seamless design can clash with the need for control and dignity.
The users clash with the people.
Our geek hood clashes with our personhood.
High-tech music streaming clashes with the needs of an Alzheimer’s patient, struggling to listen to the old tunes that carry lost memories.
The history of an object clashes with the need to re-design it for the present day. Design can obfuscate the thing’s meaning, it can hide the shame of our misdeeds from us. Political power today is mediated by tools, so to understand power now we must know our tools and their uses — things made “for us” and things made “at us.” The Internet of Things is not a distinct space of screens, it integrates minds with bodies and objects.
A manifesto of these smart people is underway… still open to suggestions and mutations on the website iotmanifesto.org
1) we don’t believe the hype
2) we design useful things
3) we aim for the win win win
4) we keep everyone and every thing secure
5) we build and promote a culture of privacy
6) we are deliberate about what data we collect
7) we make the parties associated with it product explicit
8) we empower users to be masters of their own domain
9) we design things for their lifetime
10) in the end we are human beings!