Liesbeth Huybrechts is doing a Phd research in Cultural Studies on the use of new media as critical things in participatory design and art projects. She is researcher and teacher in higher art education at the Media & Design Academy in Genk....
Internet of Things: what is it?
Currently we can discern two main blocks of thought on IoT. The first is a reactive framework of ideas and thought that sees IoT as a layer of digital connectivity on top of existing infrastructure and things. This position sees IoT as a manageable set of convergent developments on infrastructure, services, applications and governance tools. It is assumed that, as in the transition from mainframe to Internet some business will fail and new ones will emerge, this will happen within the current governance, currency end business models.
The second is a proactive framework of ideas and thought that sees IoT as a severely disruptive convergence that is unmanageable with current tools, as it will change the notion of what data and what noise is from the supply chain on to 'apps'.
The Internet of Things; imagine a world where everything can be both analogue and digitally approached - reformulates our relationship with objects – things- as well as the objects themselves. Any object that carries an RFID tag relates not only to you, but also through being read by a RFID reader nearby, to other objects, relations or values in a database. In this world, you are no longer alone, anywhere.
It holds dangers, but it also holds promises.
And maybe it can be the positive solution, the logical step in the history of outsourcing memory to objects, devices and the environment, for the challenges we all face today of an ever growing individualization that might tempt citizens into breaking with existing solidarities ( among race, gender, ethnicity, age…) that are currently harnassed through the nation state.
What if through The Internet of Things we can create a layer of data, open to all, through which individuals can decide for themselves what they are willing to pay for, to get direct feedback from their voluntary donations, to coordinate community spending that has a direct bearing to their needs, to negocaite with other people in other parts of the world how to use their money?