Best Sentence #74
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?