Nicolas is CTO and co-founder of Sen.se, a company offering smart environments and a platform to operate all kind of connected objects. He takes care of all the R&D activities, hardware and software, and has a special interest in wireless...
Entry Nr 7: What is the opposite of Panopticon Contest? : Iskander Smit
Iskander Smit: The Panopticon; to a city of trust via empathic products
A very nice challenge to think of a possible future based on the ideas of the Panopticon. I like to think and maybe dream a bit on a possible and likeable future that is shaped around this concept. I share the worries of an evolution to the Panopticon due to the connected world we transform into, maybe just partly deliberately, and also not only driven by governments, but especially by the big four platforms of data services (Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon) that build this to control the use of our devices.
But in that sense I also am an optimist and have hopes for another movement, driven by a growing emerging of data literacy of people. Ignited by front-runners that create tools to use our virtual identity. We will see an extra layer between the products and services we use and our own private identity; our real selves. This layer is the control of the services that adept fully to our wishes. Let's call it a meta data layer.
The Panopticon is shaped around this meta layer; here is where we find the model of surveillance. But I think there is another use of this layer. And this will be connected to the new context we grow into when the products we use are becoming fully flexible, self-produced, access-based, and adaptive.
With the Panopticon we can transform these products into something you can call empathic products. Products that have an identity and will have true relationships with us. Products that kept their history and tell stories. And in the dialogue that the products have with us - the one user - will shape in a form that make us become one. Not by fully adapting to our wishes, but by being a counterpart, a mate. Products that can be a mirror for ourselves as we need it.
Products will have a history more and more, because all products will be used products. We have this full access based economy where we not own stuff, but use it. And share it with others. And in that sense the products will be the hubs with new connections, with shared experiences. We will learn from the use. Access base products will be shaped in realtime in our makerbots. And dissolve after use to the raw materials. The stories of use are not lost however; we store these in the cloud and make them available for others. Stories that are connected to places in the city and moments in time.
The stories will shape the empathic products as much as our own profiles do. The products are the embodiment of our own profiles. Using products means building profiles. But these profiles will remain in the meta layer of data and only used to shape our living. We control this layer and we have maximum insights.
Because we connect the meta layer data to ourselves and the products will be made by us, we will grow into a society where person to person contact and relations rule.
We model our existence with this relations even more. Networked models are the only way to get things working. Big players are valued for their expertise and we still love to love brands. But those can be everywhere and in every level. It could be Apple still for their design mentality that can be used to create my own products, or a local designer that provides advise in shaping our products we produce ourselves.
The meta layer will be an important field where we can expect some of the current big players to try shape it. Apple and Google can leverage the current position combined with their patents in IoT (1). But initiatives as open source hardware and BERGcloud will be an even important driver for the movement.
The City of Trust is built on this context of products that is shaped for us and the products are the hubs of our relations. The city is the holder and fundament of the layer of meta data that functions like a Panopticon. The surveillance concept is used to build and to find the relations in history and serves us in a meaningful life.
(1) Planes, Alex, in The Motley Fool: Who will Control the Internet of Things?