"In her new book, “Hello Avatar,” artist and media theorist B. Coleman looks at the same virtual terrain and sees, rather than impoverishment and imaginative constriction, increasing personal agency, and even fulfillment."
"Faster than we realize the physical world is coming online. “Whether it is with RFID tags or another kind of sensor,” Coleman writes, “one finds information systems that, in real-time, track objects whose presence can be read by satellite, radio or scanner.” Media theorists use the term “social objects” for these in-building climatic sensors, GPS-equipped cars and phones, and an array of other trackable consumer products, and consider them part of a burgeoning “Internet of Things” that monitors energy use and geographic locations — the objects’ own and ours as well. And here lie more dystopian possibilities: “At what point do our ‘smart’ houses, cars, and appliances begin to report on our behavior?” she asks. “The risk lies in the prospect that as the thing becomes sensible, the human subject, as a subject of a network culture, becomes more thing-like.” She believes such fates can be mitigated if designers can make media technologies that are more transparent to us than we are to them."