Sunday, July 6, 2003

Ubiquitous Computing and the City - Part 2

Thanks to everyone who offered comments and suggestions on the draft paper I recently posted!

According to feedback, I am currently working on the final revisions and I want to note the main problems and some random thoughts and references that are guiding my revisions:

First, the draft tends to gloss over the (potential) role of ubiquitous computing in >> SOCIAL CONTROL.

> CULTURAL THEORY

Negotiations - Gilles Deleuze
Postscript on the Societies of Control - Gilles Deleuze

Although there remain disciplinary social institutions, we have moved away from a disciplinary society (following Foucault) and towards a more pervasive and intrusive society of control manifested in multitudes of interconnected networks. Rathering than molding behaviour through segregation and fixing, societies of control modulate interactions by integrating and organising difference.

Pandora's Hope - Bruno Latour

A collective of humans and non-humans: "an increasingly large number of humans are mixed with an increasingly large number of nonhumans, to the point that, today, the whole planet is engaged in the making of politics, law, and soon, I suspect, morality ... The nasty problem we now have to deal with is that, unfortunately, we do not have a definition of politics that can answer the specifications of this nonmodern history" (214).

Empire - Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri

Empire is inhabited by the multitude: a hybrid of machines, communications networks and people. The multitude creates the network of communications, the means of production, and the product.

"The commons is the incarnation, the production and the liberation of the multitude." (303)
"Empire is characterized by the close promiximity of extremely unequal populations." (336)

(Something about Empire is too utopian, too Marxist for me ... )

See also 1000 Years of War: CTHEORY Interview with Manuel De Landa (One of my pet peeves is the claim that De Landa "makes sense" of Deleuze and Latour. His are very selective readings, and his realist, causal explanations are not entirely compatible. In this interview, De Landa distances himself from the two theorists.)

+ Lessig, The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World

+ Natural Born Cyborgs? Andy Clark (on cognitive extension and bad cyborgs)

> RADIO FREQUENCY IDENTIFICATION (RFID)

Association for Automatic Identification and Data Capture Technologies - RFID info page

RFID tags: Big Brother in small packages - Declan McCullagh, CNET

> UBICOMP & PRIVACY

Steve Mann and sousveillance

Resistance to surveillance society through sousveillance. "Sousveillance (roughly French for undersight) is the opposite of surveillance (roughly French for oversight). But by "sousveillance'', I'm not suggesting that the cameras be mounted on the floor, looking up, rather than being on the ceiling looking down like they are now. Rather, I am suggesting that the cameras be mounted on people in low places, rather than upon buildings and establishments in high places. Thus the "under'' (sight) means from down under in the hierarchy, rather than physically as in "underneath'' the floor."

(Something about this isn't quite right. He states that when surveillance is put in the hands of the people, the monopoly on surveillance is destroyed. But that doesn't resolve the problem of never-ending surveillance. Sousveillance is impotent in a control - rather than surveillance - society. And there's also the matter of whether we can bring down the master's house with the master's tools...)

Everyday Privacy in Ubiquitous Computing Environments (pdf) - Scott Lederer, Anind K. Dey, Jennifer Mankoff

Privacy Invasions in Ubiquitous Computing (pdf) - Marc Langheinrich

Making Ubiquitous Computing Visible (pdf) - Elizabeth D. Mynatt and David Nguyen

Privacy Mirrors: Understanding and Shaping Socio-technical Ubiquitous Computing Systems (pdf) - David H. Nguyen and Elizabeth D. Mynatt

Designing for Serendipity: Supporting End-User Configuration of Ubiquitous Computing Environments (pdf) - Mark Newman et al.

Second, there is little discussion of >> CONSUMPTION & COMMODIFICATION. How will Ubicomp manifest itself to "the masses" or become popularised? By including the Amble Time project (used in earlier iterations but removed in the draft) the discussion of Ubicomp can be extended to include using the technology as a form of interactive advertising and/or commodified tourism bringing us ever closer to sites of consumption. Need to think more about this ...

+ Feed, M. T. Anderson (distopia & consumerism)

Third, there is little discussion of the ability of Ubicomp to serve as a >> CRITIQUE OF EVERYDAY LIFE. Both Sonic City and Tejp offer some critique by drawing attention to social interactions (and mobile technology use) that have become mundane, but little additional attention is paid to the ability of Ubicomp to challenge our understanding of public spaces and/or to engage citizens in social critique. And surely it must be able to go beyond what Mann suggests. How to resist control in control society? Need to think more about this too ... Should look again at Play research on Slow Technology - "a design agenda for technology aimed at reflection and moments of mental rest rather than efficiency in performance. It is an investigation of the expressiveness of computational technology as design material with focus on time as a central design variable." This will also allow a more critical discussion of the speed of everyday life and the politics of real time (following Virilio).

>> STRUCTURE
will be too long if all this is added. edit and tighten. rearrange/redistribute the parts and their order.

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