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<nettime> Mapping territory
Rob van Kranenburg on Mon, 7 Jul 2003 00:32:07 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Mapping territory


Mapping territory

In Dreams of a Final Theory, Steven Weinberg speaks of the "spooky 
ability of mathematicians to anticipate structures that are relevant 
to the real world".  This text is about the spooky ability of 
designers to do just that, to anticipate structures that are relevant 
to the real world, however spooky the real world might become.
How hard it is to write about a world becoming strange, or new, or 
spooky, after the dotcom crash, after the high hopes of increasing 
productivity through IT, of readers and writers becoming publishers 
both , of liberty finally around the corner: a product to be played 
out in all kinds of gender, racial and cultural roles, a process to 
drive decision-making transparency in both offline and online 
processes.  Only to have woken up to the actual realization of a 
highly synergized performance of search engines and backend database 
driven visual interfaces. Postmodern theory, open source coding and 
multimedia channeling promised the production of a new, hybrid space, 
only to deliver the content convergence of media channels.
And yet, I claim that we are in the progress of witnessing the 
realization of such a new space. In places where computational 
processes disappear into the background - into everyday objects - 
both my reality and me as subject become contested in concrete daily 
situations and activities. Buildings, cars, consumer products, and 
people become information spaces by transmitting all kinds of data 
through Radio Frequency Tags that are rapidly replacing the barcode. 
We are entering a land where the environment  has become  the 
interface, where we must learn anew how to make sense.
Making sense is the ability to read data as data and not noise. A 
matter of life and death when dealing with the flowing reality of the 
earth's core:  "If we consider that the oceanic crust on which the 
continents are embedded is constantly being created and destroyed (by 
solidification and remelting) and that even continental crust is 
under constant erosion so that its materials are recycled into the 
ocean, the rocks and mountains that define the most stable and 
durable traits of our reality would merely represent a local slowing 
down of this flowing reality." (Manuel de Landa, 1997)
Reading this local slowing down of flowing reality has never been 
easy, in fact it has never been possible. There was no way of reading 
information in the data drawn by the patterns of the seismographs. 
Vulcanologists could but read in particular ways that refused to turn 
data into reliable information. Until Bernard Chouet, a physicist - 
after five years of intensive study - saw patterns where no one  saw 
patterns before, decided what was data and what was not data.   He 
focused on a particular pattern that no one had seen before.
The design challenge we are facing now is reading the flowing reality 
of our  surface. How to store real-time information flows? How to 
chart them? Which are our seismographs? How do we match real-time 
processes with the signified that they are supposed to signify? How 
to find ways of deciding what is data and what is not data in the 
space of flows?
Mapping the research process:
According to Wickens , people generally use one of three methods to 
navigate towards goals: landmarks, route finding and survey 
knowledge. This text - mapping territory - functions on the route 
finding level, given you an overview of the questions that will be 
addressed. Landmarks, are brief descriptions of facts, occurrences, 
statistics, experiences. Survey knowledge allows users to build an 
adequate mental model of the navigational space. Such a mental model 
may be described as a cognitive map. A cognitive map "allows the 
explorer to maintain an important feature known as situation 
awareness". Such navigation can not perform optimally without 
feedback procedures and dialogue.
Mapping territory: are we dealing we a fundamentally new situation or not?
Will ubiquitous computing enable something  fundamentally new?
When Cook's 'Endeavour' sailed into the bay that we know now as Cape 
Everard on April 22 1770, touching upon Australian shore for the 
first time, the British saw Aborigines fishing in small canoes. 
Whereas the native population of Tahiti had responded with loud 
chanting and the Maori had thrown stones, the Aborigines, neither 
afraid nor curious, simply went on fishing.
Only until Cook had lowered a small boat and a small party rowed to 
the shore did the Aborigines react. A number of men rowing a small 
boat signified a raid and they responded accordingly. The Aborigines 
must have seen something and even if they could not see it as a ship, 
they must have felt the waves it produced in their canoes. However, 
as its form and height was so alien, so contrary to any-thing they 
had ever observed or produced, they chose to ignore it since they had 
no adequate procedures of response. In Dreamtime, the Aborigines 
believed they saw an island. And as islands are common, you can let 
them drift by, you don't notice them, you don't perceive them as 
data. They thought Cook's boat was an island. When you see an island 
you do not have to look up. It will pass.
We find ourselves today in a similar situation. Our Endeauvour is the 
merging of digital and analogue connectivity as described by Mark 
Weiser in his 1991 founding text The Computer in the 21st century and 
Eberhardt's and Gershenfeld's announcement in Febuary 1999 that the 
Radio Frequency Tag had dropped under the penny cost. For most common 
users the ubiquitous computing revolution is too fundamental to be 
perceived at such. Some professional users believe in smooth 
transitions, as Tesco's UK IT director Colin Cobain, who says that 
RFID tags will be used on 'lots of products' within five years - and 
perhaps sooner for higher value goods;  'RFID will help us understand 
more about our products, he claims.  And some professionals believe 
"that what we call ubiquitous computing will gradually emerge as the 
dominant mode of computer access over the next twenty years.  
Intringuingly, it is Mark Weiser who believed "that ubiquitous 
computing will enable nothing fundamentally new, but by making 
everything faster and easier to do, with less strain and mental 
gymnastics, it will transform what is apparently possible." 
Contrary to Mark Weiser's claim that ubiquitous computing will enable 
nothing fundamentally new, I believe that ubiquitous computing will 
enable something fundamentally new, and the main question is : to 
what extent is does it have designerly agency?

The disappearing computer,  - launched by Future and Emerging 
Technologies, the European Commission's IST Programme - is a vision 
of the future: "in which our everyday world of objects and places 
become 'infused' and 'augmented' with information processing. In this 
vision, computing, information processing, and computers disappear 
into the background, and take on the role more similar to that of 
electricity  (it. mine) today - an invisible, pervasive medium 
distributed on our real world."  In such a real world, Martin Rantzer 
of Ericsson Foresight, claims in A future world of supersenses: "New 
communication senses will be needed in the future to enable people to 
absorb the enormous mass of information with which they are 
confronted." According to him the user interfaces we use today to 
transmit information to our brains threaten to create a real 
bottleneck for new broadband services. "The boundaries of what 
constitutes consumer electronics and computers are getting blurred," 
says Gerard J. Kleisterlee, chief executive of Royal Philips 
Electronics, "As we get wireless networking in the home, everything 
starts to talk to everything."  In such a mediated environment - 
where everything is connected to everything -  it is no longer clear 
what is being mediated, and what mediates. Design decisions become 
process decisions in a mediatized environment. Such environments - 
your kitchen, your living-room, our shopping malls, the streets of 
old villages, websites, schools, p2p networks, are new beginnings as 
they reformulate our sense of ourselves in places in spaces in time. 
The goal of the Disappearing Computer project  is augmenting the 
world of everyday objects and places with information processing 
while at the same time exploiting the affordances of real objects in 
the real world.  Dr. Norbert Streitz, one of the key figures in the 
network, explains that this requires "an integrated design of real 
and virtual worlds and - taking the best of both - developing hybrid 
worlds with matching metaphors." The disappearing computer can, 
according to him, be thought of as genius loci, - the spirit of the 
place. As 'nature' and 'techn=E9' become hybrid spheres, people become 
'tags', or ghosts. What is the role and place of design in these 
information spaces that are mediated with computational processes 
that generate not data (linked to other data) - the kind of 
communicative process that we are familiar with - but information 
(linked to other information)?  The design challenge lies in 
confronting the move from interaction as a key term to resonance as 
an interpretative framework. Resonance refers most aptly to the way 
we relate to things, people, ideas in a connected environment. 
Interaction presupposes an ideal setting, agency and response. But 
mediation -the core business of interaction - is no longer a 
relationship. It has become the default position. The role of design 
lies in making visible what is not visible as such,  creating 
seismographs - ways of reading the flowing surface realities of both 
digital and analogue data - ways of reading them, as they will surely 
read us.

Landmarks:
Searching for sudden "bursts" in the usage of particular words could 
be used to rapidly identify new trends and sort information more 
efficiently, says a US computer scientist., Jon Kleinberg, at Cornell 
University in New York. The method could be applied to weblogs to 
track new social trends; "For example, identifying word bursts in the 
hundreds of thousands of personal diaries now on the web could help 
advertisers quickly spot an emerging craze, or  identifying word 
bursts within email messages sent to a company's customer support 
address might help maintenance staff spot a major new problem.

Mapping territory: what kind of literacies do we need to design?
All things tend to disappear, and especially things man made. 
'Ephemeralisation' was Buckminster Fuller's term for describing the 
way that a technology becomes subsumed in the society that uses it.  
The pencil, the gramophone, the telephone, the cd player, technology 
that was around when we grew up, is not technology to us, it is 
simply another layer of connectivity.  Ephemeralisation is the 
process where technologies are being turned into functional 
literacies; on the level of their grammar, however, there is very 
little coordination in their disappearing acts. These technologies 
disappear as technology because we can not see them as something we 
have to master, to learn, to study. They seem to be a given. Their 
interface is so intuitive, so tailored to specific tasks, that they 
seem natural. In this we resemble the primitive man of Ortega y 
Gasset:
=8A.the  type of man dominant to-day is a primitive one, a Naturmensch 
rising up in the midst of a civilised world. The world is a civilised 
one, its inhabitant is not: he does not see the civilisation of the 
world around him, but he uses it as if it were a natural force. The 
new man wants his motor-car, and enjoys it, but he believes that it 
is the spontaneous fruit of an Edenic tree. In the depths of his soul 
he is unaware of the artificial, almost incredible, character of 
civilisation, and does not extend his enthusiasm for the instruments 
to the principles which make them possible.
This unawareness of the artificial, almost incredible, character of 
Techn=E9 - the Aristotelian term for technique, skill - is only then 
broken when it fails us:
"Central London was brought to a standstill in the rush hour on July 
25 2002 when 800sets of traffic lights failed at the same time -- in 
effect locking signals on red.
Every new set of techniques brings forth its own literacy: The 
Aristotelian protests against introducing pencil writing, may seem 
rather incredible now, at the time it meant nothing less than a 
radical change in the structures of power distribution. Overnight, a 
system of thought and set of grammar; an oral literacy dependant on a 
functionality of internal information visualization techniques and 
recall, was made redundant because the techniques could be 
externalised. Throughout Western civilization the history of memory 
externalisation runs parallel with the experienced disappearance of 
its artificial, man made, character. An accidental disappearance, 
however much intrinsic to our experience, that up till now has not 
been deliberate. This then is the fundamental change and the design 
challenge that we are facing in ubicomp; the deliberate attempt of a 
technology to disappear as technology.
It took me five years to figure out, to grasp, - understand - let me 
use the word resonate - these lines of Heraclitus: and I rephrase 
them in my own lines - "of all that which is dispersed haphazardly, 
the order is most beautiful." In the Fragments you read that these 
lines are incomprehensible as far as the Heraclitus scholars are 
concerned. They can not  link it as a line of verse with other words 
in other lines in verse. I read it and in reading I knew it to be 
true. Knowing that only as experience is not very productive in a 
society that has no non-iconic medium for transmitting these kinds of 
experiences. In order to make this experience productive; read: make 
it politically viable and socially constructive - in order to find 
ways of transmitting, ways of teaching experiences like this - we 
textualise them. We find analogies, we read initial lines as 
metaphor, as metonomy.  I went for a walk one day in the woods near 
=46., in the Belgian Ardennes. A beautiful walk it was, steep down, 
hued autumn colours, leaves fading into black. In the quiet meadow 
that we passed I saw autumn leaves, small twigs, pebbles sometimes - 
hurdled into the most beautiful of patterns by the strenght of water 
moving. I looked hard realizing there was indeed no other way of 
arranging them.
I recognized leaves as data. I recognized data as data. And I 
recognized the inability to find a way to come to terms with 
Heraclitus' line without walking, without taking a stroll in the 
woods and look around you, look around you and find the strenght of 
streams arranging.

Landmarks :
Mikhail Simkin and Vwani Roychowdhury of the University of 
California, notice in a citation database that misprints in 
references are fairly common, and that a lot of the mistakes are 
identical. They looked at a famous 1973 paper on the structure of 
two-dimensional crystals;  cited in other papers 4300 times, with 196 
citations containing misprints in the volume, page or year.  It 
appeared that 45 scientists, who might well have read the paper, made 
an error when they cited it. Then 151 others copied their misprints 
without reading the original. So for at least 77 per cent of the 196 
misprinted citations, no one read the paper. 
A group of prominent scientists announce the creation of two 
open-source peer-reviewed online journals on biology and medicine. 
They intend to bring the best papers in the public domain. Says Dr. 
Harold E. Varmus, chairman of the new nonprofit publisher, "Our 
ability to build on the old to discover the new is all based on the 
way we disseminate our results."

Mapping territory: If ubiquitous computing enables something  
fundamentally new, to what extent does it have designerly agency?
The status of theory in the larger field of design practice and 
design teaching has  generally been framed in terms of relevance. For 
the theoretical physicist Eugene Wigner, however, one of the central 
mysteries of science is the "unreasonable effectiveness of 
mathematics in the natural sciences". Steven Weinberg asserts: "So 
irrelevant is the philosophy of quantum mechanics to its use, that 
one begins to suspect that all the deep questions about the meaning 
of measurement are really empty, forced on us by our language, a 
language that evolved in a world governed very nearly by classical 
physics."  Wigner and Weinberg are able to label the theoretical 
foundations of their own practice as 'irrelevant' because they work 
within a well-defined paradigm towards the development of the latest 
unified theory, the string theory. They know where they are heading. 
And whereas theoretical physicists travel backwards towards a fixed 
point, designers can only move forwards to territory as yet unread. 
This territory, however, can be mapped. The status of theory here 
lies in it's ability to map out unexplored territory and function as 
a conceptual framework that distinguishes between productive and 
non-productive questions, determines when observations become data, 
and posits cognitive objectives. But it is not per se relevant. On 
the contrary, it concerns itself with the mechanisms of making sense 
on a daily basis, on a concrete level of dealing with the various 
experiences of reality that defy relevance.
=46ollowing up on a USA Today (August 5, 2002) piece on how new SUV 
interiors are being designed to be "more like living rooms."  Michael 
Kaplan noticed on Design-l that more and more people are leaving 
their SUVs in shopping center parking lots locked with the engines 
running (to power the air conditioners). He sees  "people sitting in 
them using their cell phones, watching television, or working on 
their laptops." He writes:  "It occurred to me that the SUV, for many 
people, is an extension of their home, a little mobile room they can 
detach and live in when they are not in their fixed home. All fine 
and well, if these things didn't consume so much energy, pollute the 
environment, take up excessive parking space, and pose danger to 
smaller vehicles. They should probably be taxed for the damage they 
do (lol). And I would think, too, that they could be designed better 
for what they are used for, have a solar collectors covering their 
huge surface area to keep the a/c running while parked."
This story narrates this now everyday experience of being grounded 
when we are on the road, being at home while mobile.  It also 
narrates the design tendencies of this increased interconnecivity of 
mediasystems - television, mobiles, computers - as it tries to 
immerse itself into very familiar objects, here the automobile. It is 
precisely because of the familiarity of the local space that 
mediasystems are added to the automobile, leaving its primary 
function - to make miles - intact. 

Every new set of techniques brings forth its own literacy:, the 
deliberate attempt of a technology to disappear as technology, 
implies that designers not only produce new products but also the 
process procedures that gave birth to these products in these first 
place. 
In Smile, You're on In-Store Camera, Erik Baard describes how the web 
shopping process of following your customer every step of the way, 
might now become effectively used in an ordinary supermarket: "The 
algorithm looks for shapes of people and (passes) the same individual 
off from camera to camera by, for example, looking for a yellowcolor 
leaving the left side of one camera view to enter the overlapping 
right side of the next. " The algorithm is tuned with 
pressure-sensitive carpets. Neither Identix (formerly Visionics), nor 
the originator of the pressure-sensitive magic carpet, MIT Media Lab 
researcher Joe Paradisso, thought of these ways of using their work 
for tracking consumers: "I was thinking of music. I never thought 
about this for retail at all," said Paradisso, who has designed 
performance spaces where footsteps trigger bass or percussive sounds 
and torso, head and arm movements elicit higher, "twinkling" notes."

Ubicomp Applications
The editors of the first volume of Visual Communication, claim that: 
"at the same time as the study of language and communication has 
become more openly oriented towards practical problems, the practice 
of designing visual communications has become more openly allied to 
research."  The working notion of research, however in current 
academies is deeply infested with a sterile theory-practice dichotomy 
that functioned in a mechanistic worldview, but is hardly productive 
in a ubicomp world. We face the challenge of rethinking research as a 
performative practice based on creating applications for societal 
benefit. There are very few ubicomp applications at the moment that 
do not focus on control or surveillance issues. There is real need 
for applications that empower users in dealing with uncertain 
situations. Of my following work in progress, Anthony D. Joseph, 
editor of the Pervasive Computing magazine, says it "represents an 
interesting combination and application of medical and computer 
technology".

UBICOMP TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK FOR PEOPLE WITH OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER

Rob van Kranenburg * Resonance Design

Roger was a successful vice president of a bank, unremarkable in 
every respect, except one. Before starting a task, he had to pull his 
socks up and down five times. Exactly five. Roger (not his real name) 
had obsessive-compulsive disorder. Like a skipping record, OCD 
patients repeat an act or repeatedly think about a phrase, number, or 
concept. "Most of us are able to switch things off," says Hopkins 
professor of psychiatry Rudolf Hoehn-Saric. "In obsessive-compulsive 
disorder, the person can't." (M. Hendricks, "The Man Who Couldn't 
Stop Adjusting His Socks," Johns Hopkins Magazine, June 1995; 
www.jhu.edu/~jhumag/695web/socks.html)

In the US and Netherlands, one in 50 adults currently has OCD, and 
twice as many have had it at some point in their lives. OCD is a 
medical brain disorder that causes problems in information 
processing, creating a loop in the feedback procedure so that people 
miss the "ka-chung" that closes a car door or the click that shuts 
down the television. According to the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation,

Worries, doubts, and superstitious beliefs all are common in everyday 
life. However, when they become so excessive, such as hours of hand 
washing, or make no sense at all, such as driving around and around 
the block to check that an accident didn't occur, then a diagnosis of 
OCD is made. In OCD, it is as though the brain gets stuck on a 
particular thought or urge and just can't let go. People with OCD 
often say the symptoms feel like a case of mental hiccups that won't 
go away. OCD is a medical brain disorder that causes problems in 
information processing. It is not your fault or the result of a 
"weak" or unstable personality. (The Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation, 
www.ocfoundation.org/ocf1010a.htm)

How could ubicomp be instrumental here? Phase 1 is researching if 
ubicomp applications can assess if a person has a tendency for audio, 
visual, tactile, or other kinds of feedback that would signal the 
task scenario's closure. In Phase 2, we would have to access, for 
example, if visual feedback on clothing or another appliance could 
break the chain of repetition for a person who functions on visual 
feedback but is dealing with an apparatus that does not provide such 
feedback. Working closely with psychiatrists and OCD patients, in 
Phase 3 we could test whether such ubiquitous computing applications 
could break the loop of repetition, assuming that it is the kind of 
feedback that is responsible for the taskloop's nonclosure.
A group of researchers performed experiments and concluded that "the 
OCD group performed significantly worse than controls in the temporal 
ordering task despite showing normal recognition memory. Patients 
were also impaired in 'feeling-of-doing' judgments, suggesting they 
have a lack of self-awareness of their performance" (M.A. Jurado et 
al., "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Patients are Impaired in 
Remembering Temporal Order and in Judging Their Own Performance," J. 
Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, vol. 24, no. 3, 2002, pp. 
261-269).
Based on these findings, research into ubicomp applications could 
focus on temporal markers and serendipitous feedback scripting into 
various scenarios to raise self-awareness.
The three phases just discussed are being developed within the 
framework of contemporary performance and theatrical practice. There 
we find an actualization of (and ways of dealing with) the bottleneck 
scenarios that information experts envision.
In this research as performative practice setting we can both 
acknowledge a certain group of performances as experiments in dealing 
with information overload, and acknowledge that  implementing digital 
connecitivity in an analogue environment without a design for all the 
senses , without a concept of corporal literacy, leads to information 
overload. In a ubiquitous computing environment the new intelligence 
is extelligence, "knowledge and tools that are outside people's 
heads" (Stewart and Cohen, 1997) In a ubiquitous computing 
environment the user has to be not only textually and visually 
literate, both also have corporal literacy, that is an awareness of 
extelligence and a working knowledge of all the senses. 

The main question from a design educational point of view then 
concerns the kind of skills and kind of literacies that a designer 
needs to function. And these turn out to be those that are most 
foreign to an educational practice today, as this new situation needs 
designers that can assess emergent literacies, unforeseen uses, 
unintended use, and resonance - not interaction - as the key producer 
of causalities. For such a designer the default position is one of 
uncertainty, of being able to cope with a continuous delaying of the 
act of closure, of an 'end'. In the new 754i BMW sedan the iDrive, 
also known as the miracle knob  "is designed, through a computerized 
console, to replace more than 200 that control everything from the 
position of seats to aspects of the navigation of the car itself to 
climate, communications and entertainment systems." In  May 2002 
15,000 7-series were recalled. "BMW tried to do too many things at 
once with this car, and they underestimated the software problem," 
says Conley, ex-CEO of EPRO Corp." Only two-thirds of hardware has 
been unleashed by software. There are so many predecessors and 
dependencies within software that it's like spaghetti-ware. It's not 
that easy to get all these little components to plug and play." 
When the product and the process gets confused, pitfalls arise. What 
does this mean for connectivity in a business environment? It means 
that there is a need for tools to master this merging of digital and 
analogue processes of communication and database-driven systems. As 
the environment becomes the interface, where is the company 
dashboard, the familiar readers of situation, actions, scenarios?
Ubicomp pitfalls:
In Insourcing Information Management: Ford CIO Mary Adams makes 
information management a core competency and is cutting costs. How? 
She is bringing more IT people-and projects-inside. She recognized 
"that the highest return on investment comes from technology that is 
deeply integrated into the core operating systems, practices and 
processes of the company-not a strategy that puts an Internet veneer 
in front of things that still need to be fixed. " Ford is bringing 
much of what was outsourced back inside: from having 146 different 
premier IT providers they are down to eight.  Adams: " Insourcing 
gives you more control over the quality and speed of your IT work. 
It's about taking complete ownership and accountability for most IT 
work done at Ford and, in some ways, it's being able to test, prove 
and develop in-house more cheaply than before. In that way, it 
reduces risk."   Insourcing is strategy that is also  helping to 
avoid the "primary reason for the high failure rate of the first 
generation of customer relationship management projects: a failure to 
align software capabilities with the actual needs of customers.
Pitfall: How do you know what services to insource without losing 
touch with emerging services and needs?
In Customer Relation Management:  Gartner research director Beth 
Eisenfeld claims that it is "crucial to identify and quantify the 
processes involved in a company's interactions with customers to see 
where they break down, and then to redefine them across all 
departments. Only then does it make sense to add technology to the 
mix. It is possible -- even likely -- that a company may have 
hundreds or thousands of such processes, Eisenfeld said. But the 
sheer numbers should not be cause for alarm. Identifying them will 
enable a CRM newcomer to establish meaningful priorities." 
Pitfall: How do you map these hundreds or thousands of processes in a 
dynamic way?
In media convergence: Tim Fenton, Managing Editor, BBC News 
Interactive claims:  'At BBC News Interactive, we believe convergence 
of basic production is necessary if we are to continue to increase 
efficiency and deliver a consistent service across all media. At the 
same time, we believe our audience is diverging and we are going to 
have to produce a greater number of better-targeted services. 
Reconciling these two is our greatest organisational challenge.'   
This reconciliation is now attempted by the move in stealth 
marketing, in guerrilla marketing from using mixed media (radio, sms, 
billboard, television) to create user experiences to designing 
experiences by mediating the environment.
Pitfall: Attempting this reconciliation media convergence and 
audience divergence with concepts that are infused by the scarcity 
principle, will not be able to detect emergent literacies, needs and 
services.
In  profiling strategies: "Federal aviation authorities and 
technology companies will soon begin testing a vast air security 
screening system designed to instantly pull together every 
passenger's travel history and living arrangements, plus a wealth of 
other personal and demographic information." Says Robert O'Harrow Jr 
=2E The government's plan is to "establish a computer network linking 
every reservation system in the United States to private and 
government databases. The network would use data-mining and 
predictive software to profile passenger activity and intuit obscure 
clues about potential threats, even before  (italics mine) the 
scheduled day of flight=8A.Computers would apply statistical algorithms 
to correlate physiologic patterns with computerized data on travel 
routines, criminal background and credit information from "hundreds 
to thousands of data sources," NASA documents say.
Pitfall: Note the extremities to which the designers will go to 
script serendipity into their profiling strategy: data-mining and 
predictive software, obscure clues, statistical algorithms, 
physiologic patterns, computerized data from "hundreds to thousands 
of data sources".
What becomes the toplevel skill in this environment? Serendipity used 
to be an interpretative tool, the skill to lay bare hidden 
connections. Now the ability to read data as data has become the top 
level skill. How else are you going to make sense of the serendipity 
that is scripted into your profiling strategies? How do you 
differentiate between content and context is your content is 
inherently contextualized?
Mapping territory: Extelligence: buildings, cars and people become 
information spaces
The ultimate aim of all creativity is the building! And the italics 
are original to Walter Gropius Manifesto of the Bahaus (April 1919): 
"Let us together desire, conceive and create the new building of the 
future, which will combine everything - architecture and sculpture 
and painting - in  a single form=8A." In a ubicomp environment, 
architecture will become once again the core unit of design. For 
something has fundamentally changed; the very nature of information 
itself, no longer analogue, no longer digital, and not hybrid 
neither: buildings, cars and people can now be defined as information 
spaces. Anthony Townsend, from Taub Urban Research Center, has been 
asked  commission by the South Korean government to "turn an 
undeveloped parcel of land on the outskirts of Seoul into a city 
whose raison d'etre will be to produce and consume products and 
services based on new digital technologies. " The main challenge lies 
in the realization that "half of designing a city is going to be 
information spaces that accompany it because lots of people will use 
this to navigate around." Townsend claims that telecommunications in 
a city in 2012 is going to be a lot more complex: "The most 
interesting thing about it will be that you won't be able to see it 
all at once because all these data structures, computational devices, 
digital networks and cyberspaces that are built upon those components 
will be invisible unless you have the password or unless you are a 
member of the group that is permitted to see them."  In such an 
environment, the people themselves - human bodies- become information 
spaces too.
In an attempt to achieve a harmony between a town center and a 
distribution network, officials of the Wal-Mart Corporation announced 
in March 2003 the opening of Walton Township, guaranteeing its 
residents a literally bottomless supply of consumer goods, for a flat 
all-in monthly fee.  According to Valerie Femble-Grieg, who designed 
it, the key to Walton is "a literal superimposition of municipal and 
retail channels."  In an effort to control 'leakage,' the export of 
flat-fee goods outside the Township by community subscribers, 
Wal-Mart plans to institute a pervasive inventory control system 
consisting of miniature radio-frequency tags broadcasting unique 
product and batch ID numbers."  The tree major U.S. car manufacturers 
plan to install rfd tags in " every tire sold in the nation". The 
tags can be read on vehicles going as fast as 160 kilometers per hour 
from a distance of 4.5 meters.  In January 2003, Gillette began 
attaching rfd tags to 500 million of its Mach 3 Turbo razors. Smart 
shelves at Wal-Mart stores "will record the removal of razors by 
shoppers, thereby alerting stock clerks whenever shelves need to be 
refilled-and effectively transforming Gillette customers into walking 
radio beacons."  London Underground will in all probality have about 
10.000 CCTV's  by 2004 (it now has 5000). The systems architecture - 
MIPSA , Modular Intelligent Pedestrian Surveillance Architecture - is 
programmed with scenarios - "such as unattended objects, too much 
congestion, or people loitering - and when it detects one of those, 
it alerts the operator through a series of flashing lights and 
messages."

"To determine what is suspect, the system memorizes the features of 
an image that are constant, and then subtracts those to figure out 
what is happening. It looks at patterns of motion and their 
intensity. Things that are stationary for too long in a busy 
environment raise alarms.."
Are our current designers equipped to deal with these fundamental 
issues and dilemma's, where what used to be media ethics has now 
become building ethics itself?

Landmarks:
In SMART MOBS, Howard Rheingold documents the role of text 
coordinating mass demonstrations against President Joseph Estrada in 
January 2001.
DARPA is two-year-old $50-million Human ID at a Distance program. 
And  while automated face recognition receives the most attention, 
DARPA is  also funding efforts at a handful of universities to 
identify people  through their body language. The theory is simple: 
in the same way that  each person has a unique signature or 
fingerprint, each person also has a  unique walk. The trick is to 
take this body language and translate it into  numbers that a 
computer can recognize.  One approach is to create a "movement 
signature" for each person."
Bemoaning the loss of old skills is probably not the most productive 
way to critique the new technologies.  The greater need is to 
recognize that, precisely *because* of the labor-saving capabilities 
of our high-tech tools, the art of mastery demands greater skills and 
more arduous discipline than ever before.

Mapping territory: Vision
"As thousands of ordinary people buy monitoring devices and services, 
the unplanned result will be an immense, overlapping grid of 
surveillance systems, created unintentionally by the same ad-hocracy 
that caused the Internet to explode. Meanwhile, the computer networks 
on which monitoring data are stored and manipulated continue to grow 
faster, cheaper, smarter, and able to store information in greater 
volume for longer times. Ubiquitous digital surveillance will marry 
widespread computational power-with startling results."
The most intriguing aspect of Bauhaus is that the most successful 
unit, - the unit coming 'closest to Bauhaus intentions', as Gropius 
stated, the pottery workshop - was located 25 kilometers from Weimar, 
in Dornburg. It was hard to reach by train, and hard to reach by car. 
The workshop master Max Krehan owned the workshop, so there was a 
business interest  from the start. The relationship with Marcks , the 
Master of Form, was not contaminated with formalized roundtable 
discussions, but was a productive twoway (abstract-concrete) 
interrelationship. 
"More important still, in terms of what Gropius hoped for the entire 
Bauhaus, was the way in which the pottery workshop operated in close 
co-operation with the local community in which it found itself. It 
made pots for the community and the town of Dornburg leased the 
workshop a plot of land which the students used for vegetables and on 
which, it was hoped, they would build."
So what can we learn from this? That we must not aim to define, alter 
or transform practices, processes, places or people. What should be 
aimed at to define is a vision. A vision that should be able to 
inspire and empower designers in their concrete experience of agency 
in this undesignerly new world, towards a humanistic and optimistic 
positive attitude in the role, function and leadership of the 
designer in his and her capability to make sense, to work within an 
uncertain framework of unforeseen consequences, unintended uses, and 
procedural breakdown.
Three basic ideas underlie this vision: one; the dominance of a yet 
to be developed  concept of life and living as slow becoming, as in 
Eug=E8ne Minkowsky's idea that the essence of life is not " a feeling 
of being, of existence, but a feeling of participation in a flowing 
onward, necessarily expressed in terms of time, and secondarily 
expressed in terms of space."  , two; the dominance of a yet to be 
developed concept of slow money, so as to focus on the design process 
on the one hand and the sustainability of the design products on the 
other, and three a working concept of our former notion of control, 
as resonance.

   Weinberg. S. Dreams of a final theory Vintage, 1993, p. 52.
   From the BBC documentary, Volcano Hell: "Chouet's methods have 
commanded wide respect and have been increasingly used around the 
world. In a dramatic demonstration last year Mexican scientists used 
Chouet's method to predict an eruption of the mighty volcano 
Popocat=E9petl. Tens of thousands of people were safely evacuated just 
before the biggest eruption of the volcano for a thousand years. No 
one was Shurt." 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2001/volcanohell.shtml
   Whittaker, L. A. 'Human Navigation', in ''Human Factors and Web 
Development', in Forsythe C., Grose, E., Ratner, J., (eds.) Human 
=46actors and Web Development New Jersey, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 
1998, p. 64.

   Shops reveal plans to replace barcodes, By Steve Ranger [04-09-2002]
   Mark Weiser, "The Computer for the Twenty-First Century," 
Scientific American, pp. 94-10, September 1991
   http://www.disappearing-computer.net/
    At Big Consumer Electronics Show, the Buzz Is All About 
Connections January 13, 2003 By SAUL HANSELL, 
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/13/technology/13DIGI.html?ex=3D1043457162&ei=
=3D1&en=3D124b1e27fe81246e
   Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 10:35:02 -0600 (CST) Subject: [>Htech] New 
Scientist: Word 'bursts' may reveal online trends Reply-To: 
transhumantech {AT} yahoogroups.com Word 'bursts' may reveal online trends 
,Will Knight.
   From:   Chris Hutchings [SMTP:chris.hutchings {AT} VISCOMM.CO.UK] 
Sent:   Saturday, January 25, 2003 1:18 AM To:     IDFORUM {AT} YORKU.CA 
Subject:        Re: the future of...

   Ortega Y Gasset, The Revolt of the Masses,
    "The worst gridlock the capital has seen for years was caused by a 
computer which crashed as engineers installed software designed to 
give pedestrians longer to cross the roads.". Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 
09:55:35 +0100 From: Adrian Lightly adrian {AT} pigeonhold.com Subject: 
Gridlock as 800 London traffic lights seize

   From: Premise Checker checker {AT} mail.sheergeniussoftware.com 
Mailing-List: list transhumantech {AT} yahoogroups.com Date: Sat, 14 Dec 
2002 09:48:06 -0600 (CST) Subject: [>Htech] New Scientist: Scientists 
exposed as sloppy reporters Scientists exposed as sloppy reporters, 
by Hazel Muir.
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=3Dns99993168
   Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2002 17:52:10 -0600 From: Ian Pitchford 
ian.pitchford {AT} scientist.com To: 
evolutionary-psychology {AT} yahoogroups.com
Subject: [evol-psych] New premise in science: Get the word out quickly, onli=
ne
   Doors  of Perception, Meeting for Interaction Design Course 
Leaders, 17 November 2002, with Jo Gell, Smartlab, Brenda Laurel, 
Pasadena, California, Jouke Kleerebezem, Jan van Eyck Academie, Emma 
Westecott, The Interactive Institute, Nico Macdonald Design Agenda., 
Philipp Heidkamp, K=F6ln International School of Design, Brendon Clark, 
Mads Clausen Institute for Product Innovation, Alan Munro (DC 
Steering Committee)
   Smile, You're on In-Store Camera  By Erik Baard 
http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,54078,00.html

Visual Communication, volume 1, number 1, February 2OO2 ISSN 1470-3572

   In: Pervasive Computing, Jan-March 2003. The third work in progress 
discusses how ubicomp applications could help people with 
obsessive-compulsive disorder by providing them with additional 
audio, visual, or tactile feedback that helps break repetition loops. 
This area of research represents an interesting combination and 
application of medical and computer technology for societal benefit. 
-Anthony D. Joseph  http://dsonline.computer.org/0303/f/b1wip.htm
   From: Dewayne Hendricks dewayne {AT} warpspeed.com January 16, 2003 
Consumer Products: When Software Bugs Bite By  Debbie Gage
<http://www.baselinemag.com/print_article/0,3668,a=3D35839,00.asp>
   CRM SPECIAL REPORT: Practical CRM for the Uninitiated By Erika 
Morphy CRMDaily.com January 15, 2003 
http://www.crmdaily.com/perl/story/20467.html
   EJC News. http://www.ejc.nl/cp/courses.asp?recordID=3D496
   Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, February 1, 2002
   Designing the century's first digital city, By Sandeep Junnarkar , 
Staff Writer, CNET News.com, September 18, 2002, 12:00 PM PT 
http://news.com.com/2008-1082-958461.html
   From: "futurefeedforward" fff {AT} futurefeedforward.com Date: Sun Mar 
23, 2003  07:27:39 PM US/Central To: bruces {AT} well.com
   Surveillance Nation, Technology Review, April 2003
   Surveillance Nation, Technology Review, April 2003
   Stand still too long and you'll be watched New imaging software 
alerts surveillance-camera operators to suspect situations by 
monitoring patterns of motion By Kim Campbell | Staff writer of The 
Christian Science Monitor 
http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/1107/p17s01-stct.htm

    List-Archive: http://www.aoir.org/pipermail/air-l/ Date: Sat, 18 
Jan 2003 11:16:47 -0800
   Date: Tue, 30 Apr 2002 04:10:49 +0100 From: andrew hennessey  
<a.hennessey {AT} btopenworld.com> Reply-To: fsml {AT} yahoogroups.com To:  
fsml {AT} yahoogroups.com Subject: [fsml] Walk This Way. Walk This Way 
http://www.techreview.com/articles/wo_cameron042302.asp. By David 
Cameron   April 23, 2002
   From: Steve Talbott [mailto:stevet {AT} OREILLY.COM] Sent: 28 January 
2003 20:16 To: NETFUTURE {AT} MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU Subject: NetFuture 
#141 Issue #141     A Publication of The Nature Institute      
January 28, 2003 Editor:  Stephen L. Talbott (stevet {AT} oreilly.com). 
Notes concerning *One River: Explorations and Discoveries in the 
Amazon. Rain Forest*, by Wade Davis (New York: Simon and Schuster, 
1996). Paperback, 537 pages, $16.
   Surveillance Nation, Technology Review, April 2003
   In the sense that Paul Hawken describes it : " The promise of 
business is to increase the general well-being of humankind through 
service, a creative invention and ethical philosophy. In : Hawken, 
Paul. The Ecology of Commerce, A Declaration of Sustainability, 
Harperbusiness, 1993.
   Whitford, Frank, Bauhaus, Thames & Hudson, 1984, p. 73-4
   Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Foreword by Etienne 
Gilson, Beacon, 1969, p. xii in the Introduction.
-- 


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