The Best Sentence of the Day

This blog is a cut-up of a dissertation in progress. Each day, I will post my favorite sentence that I have newly scribed. Everything out of context, but suggestive. I hope.

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I'm a game designer, a games researcher, and a future forecaster. I make games that give a damn. I study how games change lives. I spend a lot of my time figuring out how the games we play today shape our real-world future. And so I'm trying to make sure that a game developer wins a Nobel Prize by the year 2032. Learn more here in my bio or get my contact information on my contact page.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Best Sentence #74

It's the weekend, and on the weekends because I work so hard, I like to give you a little cluster of sentences instead of just one. Woo!

The text below is the introduction to one of the more non-intuitive arguments of my dissertation-- that the original social vision of ubiquitous computing has actually been realized to a large extent in gamer culture, but without the ubicomp technology. Sort of a "We love the vision, but we don't need to wait for embedded sensors and computer-augmented objects, etc., to make it happen" kind of thing.


Is it possible for the design philosophy of ubiquitous computing to manifest first as a pervasive social architecture, and only later (if ever) as a widespread technological infrastructure? New media theory traditionally posits the opposite flow of influence: social adjustments follow the introduction of novel systems and devices. As William J. Mitchell observes in his 2003 Me++: The Cyborg Self and the Networked City: “We shape our technologies, then our technologies shape us” (6). From Raymond Williams’s seminal 1974 article on “The Technology and the Society” and Langdon Winner’s influential 1986 essay “Technologies as Forms of Life” to Mitchell’s more recent work, scores of theorists have explored how new technologies change our daily habits and restructure our relationships at every scale, from the intimate to the civic, from the private to the global-public sphere. But in the case of ubiquitous computing, must the promised technological innovation precede the social reorganization to which the field aspires? Or could, instead, ubiquitous computing’s social vision inspire a new pattern of everyday life in advance of its widespread technological realization?


Blogger Anonymous said...

I must apologize to say that Ubiquitous computing seems little more than a pipe dream. I admit that I have not read all your posts, nor am I an expert in the field, nevertheless, I feel there is a very important factor being left out. I am not a religious person, but there are many people out there that are, this especially concerns christians.
I feel that when ultimately applied, Ubiquitous computing, as fulling its own intentions will involve integrating with the human body, this of course would become in religious context the mark of the beast.
Any person of academia may like to think that this issue is of little consequence, but consider the consequence of a populous confronted with their greatest fear. I should think along this line that as Ubiquitous computing is realized, violent opposition to growing technology will erupt. This moment will be one of two things, the dawn of a new era, or the end of days.

11:26 PM  
Blogger Jan said...

I am not very familiar with the jargon in this field - so please excuse my use of possibly incorrect terminology:
I think every new technological advance brings with it social change. And often it seems that the technology happened first, and the impact on society was a delayed consequence. However, I want to suggest that it depends on where you start your observation. Typically social pressures result (admittedly often indirecly) in the technological advance, which has as a consequence social change.

It is therefore a classical feedback loop, where change in the one results in change in the other.

2:41 AM  
Blogger FATMAN! said...

i agree with anonymous.

7:15 PM  

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