Connecting All the Things with Sam LaFell

After reading an interesting pair of articles, I will attempt to break down what each article is getting at, I believe.

“Things” article quotes Sterling — when “properly understood, a thing is not merely a material object, but a frozen technosocial relationship.” Things also talks about “gizmos”,which are mostly just what we use to connect us to this global network. In other words, our phones are gizmos.

The famous Disney movie, The Little Mermaid, “I’ve got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty…”

The second technology in the internet of things are “spimes proper,” which are seemingly created to be autonomously connected to the global network. It seems like a contradiction, but these “spimes proper” don’t need to be prompted to connect or interact with the network, as this is their only function. This is a nice way to think about the phenomenon of Smart Dust, initially military technologies that are millimeter sized computers. Smart Dust can be used to create the smart house that the article mentions, but also to update us more accurately on things such as train and bus arrival times. This “Internet of Things” ideas helps us not only to consider things as their material selves, but also their capabilities to function in a digitized world.

The article on 3D printing works to shift the understanding of home-made, machine-made, and other distinctions that are used to differentiate producers and consumers. This begins to play on the idea of a “prosumer,” in a globalized economy in which consumers also produce. Though this is not to be confused with Fuchs’ definition of a prosumer.

Check out Nick Allen’s thoughts on 3D printing.

3D printing is a phenomenon because, “Critical making is to connect technological systems and practices to critical scholarship and ideas.” This could explain why 3D printing is popular among academia and entrepreneurs.

Both the articles this week attempt to make us think critically about how we interact with specific aspects of life. Each “thing” in life is more than likely connected to the “Internet of Things” and can function beyond what we typically think. They also force us to consider the endless possibilities behind new technologies, such as 3D printing. It’s a week of new possibilities.

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