Web of Things
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Web of Things
How wirelessly connecting objects to the Internet can help organisations anticipate change.
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Towards a consensual hallucination

Towards a consensual hallucination | Web of Things | Scoop.it

The title "Towards a consensual hallucination" is a reference to Burning Chrome by William Gibson in which he refers to cyberspace as a "mass consensual hallucination". In 1982, as the networking technology and protocols firmed, and the cost of hardware made it readily available both in businesses and homes, Gibson surmised that our imaginations would fill in the gaps and create layers of experiences on top of what is ultimately non-existent space. Cyberspace is our way of understanding and giving shape to what is actually some very dry and tedious technology.

Hallucination is defined as an experience involving the perception of something not really present.


The internet has become the consensual hallucination. We have created structures to replicate physical reality in digital environments - websites are designed to recreate retail, leisure, education and social activities. It is very human to project our expectations of what things should be based upon how it has always been.


So 30 years on from Gibson’s mass hallucination, the internet is a daily staple. What are the next 30 years going to bring? I believe that we have reached a tipping point where we have begun to expect our real life to be shaped by cyberspace. In other words, internet-born cultural constructs will bleed through and influence our behavioural norms.

 

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Data Culture #3: Tacocopter and the digital creep

Data Culture #3: Tacocopter and the digital creep | Web of Things | Scoop.it

The digital age right now is at a point where it can log our lives in real time, know our location, recognise our face, then decipher our emotions. Tech will decide if you are looking criminal or even hungry and it will dispatch the appropriate robot to deal with you – bad luck if you get Robocop, better luck if the Tacocopter turns up.

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I've mentioned the partnership between IBM and the Louvre before but it takes on new relevance here. In essence they have created a smart building, transforming the very walls of the building into data collectors. The Louvre, in a sense, has had an Operating System installed.

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Art, of course, deals with issues around identity. Tech companies know concepts like the Internet of Things challenge our sense of who we are as individuals and collectives – for that reason, I think art should be part of the argument.

 

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Patrick Hussey is digital campaigns manager at Arts & Business – follow him on Twitter @arts_business and @PatrickRiot

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