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Re: <nettime> evidence of some "things"
brian carroll on Sun, 4 May 2014 18:58:25 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> evidence of some "things"


how people observe, think about, approach, relate to, and interact
with the 'smart' [device] likely spans from those who stay away from
such treacherous novelty to those who invest themselves in it ('all
the world's a stage- here is a webcam performance..') in some way, and
hybridization of devices is nothing new - which correlates with an
aspect of trial and error development or prototyping of future goods
or categories- though the networking aspect is, and it involves an
entire 'nother model or system within the artifacts as part of the
interface and interaction than previous iterations or relations.

thus how is the basic situation conceived and considered - the before
and after of pre- and post- networked and media-carnivalized devices,
whether electric, electronic or not, at the start. that is, what is
the core function of a device prior to this transformation (say
exampling development category "Internet of Things")

if "the experience" is what is mediated, encountered, interfaced and
interacted with, then beginning observation at that functional use
could yield a path of least resistance to what is networked, online,
digital, "internet/www", intranet/extranet (WAN) in terms of
datalogging, supply chains, logistics, surveillance.

and so thinking about it as a trial, an independent device fixed
somewhere in the concrete consumer landscape, this new beast of a
machine could be like an artificial lifeform tested against its
environment- how fit is it, can it survive, will people feed it data
and money, or can the information be sold, monetized, profit made
beyond the drinks dispensed and expanding a business model from media
commercials via signs (screens) to that screen becoming the point of
sale with the corporate agenda in its branding, marketing,
communications- an intimate one on one relation, customized as if
meeting a friend as context for the exchange, a familiar face (mirror
of self, say, looking into the metaphorical water and seeing
reflection).

so it can be very easy and immediate to jump into this analysis and
seek to describe or define, yet are these parameters the overall
structural condition of this exchange. is it an issue of data with
Facebook or the weather that is capable of describing and defining the
larger dynamics of what is occurring in its behind the screen
functioning and purpose, such that it the functionality can be mapped
out and understood as if an archaeological artifact of some strange
culture, the service person who tends to the device as if a focus of
study for anthropologists, and the 'smart cooler' users of
sociological and psychological interest, these in relation to business
models, prior to internetification and networked multimedia integrated
into cultures, business and popular. are there taboos, for instance,
for certain peoples and not others. are youth more likely to embrace
the technology or experiment.

so business and other interdisciplinary analysis could occur, and
describe things in a context of language or statistics, yet what about
the thing itself as an artifact. is the beverage dispenser understood
as an entity, prior to this additional layering of (informatic)
functionality. do people or observes have a sense of what is going on
in these relations, some semblance of grounded understanding of How It
Works, not just the dispenser though also, the manufacture of canned
beverages in factories, via raw materials and chemical additives and
labor issues going back decades, their global shipment and
distribution networks, the history of such drinks in culture, the
relation of soda shops where such drinks were made custom at a counter
by soda jerks, prior to or in parallel with mass manufacturing and
radio/television/news advertisements marketing the portable sealed
sugary drinks.

in that, at some point these mass distribution networks did not exist,
the dispensers had to be invented and put into the field, assimilated
and normalized as everyday cultural objects, melding into the
background as a 'known entity' world wide even. peoples languages and
communication may stop at certain borders and boundaries, yet a Coke
machine is a understandable beyond this limit of particular
spoken/written language via its corporate brand and symbolism, and the
product it sells. it could be considered a universal, even, in some
sense, moreso than the words that are needed to describe it in one
country or the next.

one of the areas it seems a tremendous gap exists in education and
culture is that visual analysis is not related to that of words, for
description, in basic communication. and so 'words' can seek to
describe the artifact at issue, yet its shape, form, geometry, details
may be very important to understanding what it is and how it functions
in the various parameters involved. this is where archeology is
involved, though also the basic realm of the physical environment, of
machines and buildings and 'things' that populate environments
alongside people and nature and other lifeforms.

so imagine that drink dispenser has a lineage of its development. that
it has a genus and species so to say. that vending machines themselves
are an enormous area of similar such case studies in waiting or
research that has been conducted, and that this condition is being
interfaced with from the outside, observed, while there could be a lot
of hidden knowledge, awareness, ideas, concepts, beyond the consumer
using the machine or playing marionette in tune with its accordion
monkey machinery, er.. 'socially mediated' in some strange awkward
dance between citizens and corporations as the forces that be attempt
to find their balance.

in this way, the beverage cooler as a vending machine is going from an
electromechanical device which holds money (like a bank or fortified
safe) and provides a beverage (like a soda store used to do) within
packaging (the soda container) thus a delivery mechanism that replaces
a need for carrying a container to drink from, and it has its own
signage or display via lighted panels and other tags, to denote
branding and pricing (like a store advertising to the street, and
shelves displaying wares/goods/merchandize). and so this device is
together a variety of functions that previously and still co-exist
elsewhere, integrated into its form, a particular kind or style of
vending machine for beverages. and these are standardized, to the size
of the soda can or other items held inside on display, in a
refrigerator, basically, another aspect of its structural, conceptual,
functional and cultural genealogy. so the idea that this beverage
vending machine has existed prior to its internetification and is a
clearly established 'type' that is recognized by people and has been
expertly developed for its purpose.

the 'smart' aspects of networked digital media and information and
statistics and monitoring a latest layer, which it seems correlates
most closely with an 'information kiosk' as a generic approach, that
is then merged or hybridized with the [device], whether washing
machine or refrigerator or vending machine.

so mention of types of artifacts leads to the issue of typology, which
is a framework that can begin to map out the interrelations between
various tools or artifacts, and their structural and-or functional
relations. for instance, the electric refrigerator as artifact (in
homes since electrification, now standard) having parallel development
in trucks and vehicles that are refrigerated, and in warehouses, and
in vending machines, which actually have some of the same physical
dimensions (scale, massing) so perhaps the vending machine for drinks
is a look at the future of the networked home refrigerator, for
instance, in its informational dynamics, in some way.

the point being that types interact with other types, and within this,
artifacts with other artifacts, and themes or structures or frameworks
can develop or exist that inform how these entities materially and
informationally exist, beyond a particular narrowed interaction in
economic parameters of use inside a business model.

what are the networks or systems involved, prior to the networked
kiosk aspects of the beverage cooler as a type, what buildings are
connected to it (manufacturing, headquarters, resources), what systems
needed to maintain (vehicles, maintenance), how does it compare to a
corner store or gas station selling cans of pop inside, via coolers or
a vending machine with a surrounding context. is the vending machine
in some sense a building- a machine that is functioning in place of
where a store and person once would have existed, or does it represent
or extend these dynamics, as distributed ATMs (automatic teller
machine) have done for banks, as an interface to that programming and
functionality, today whether by mobile phone banking apps or ATMs,
likewise, cola via phone apps, or in some sense, tapping into the
logistics of this beverage distribution, and linking into the hidden
map of where the closest refrigerated cooler is, to make the desired
exchange.

perhaps the user is conceived of by the corporate marketing department
as the guerrilla or viral marketer, perhaps unknowingly - all it takes
is a usable or worthwhile app and word of mouth or various likes and
social chatter - and the marketing budget shifts away from mass media
to electronic kiosk media.

further, the issue of the display or screen, the television (hdtv)
today as a computer-device, these various dimensions and dynamics then
part of the new signage, the beverage cooler or vending machine for
drinks then becoming the interactive billboard - perhaps a precursor
to interactive television in some way, the gamification of retailing
and consumer relations and brand identity, by what people can do or
how they can be organized by these highly-engineered and considered
networks, potentially. hive mind and smart mobs (if that is the
correct term) then being corporate driven, marketing campaigns
potentially shaped by smart kiosks, the issue of GPS waypoints and
treasure hunts then also perhaps having a place, as with grocery
stores (building type) functioning of coupons or specials or deals on
merchandise then perhaps transferring to these localized and
distributed machines, via app, which functions as sales ad and cashier
and store, via minimal real estate. is this the most efficient
transmission and distribution network for the particular item, for
instance, or is it not and is subsidized by other larger volume sales
(seemingly more likely).

and from here, having a sense of the basic artifact, as a sketch, say
drawing a rectangular volume as a visual placeholder for all this
data, it still could appear isolated as an event and entity. that this
just involves the pop cans and the machine, and the corporation and
its delivery trucks. though also, cables and wireless antenna, and
where do these go- are these telecommunications occurring through
another company and are other vending machines similarly on these
networks. and then, of course, the power plug itself. following that
electric wire into the wall, back out onto the street through
electrical cable carried to a likely wooden pole where it is suspended
for miles and miles and that energy routed various ways until reaching
a powerplant, which is where the electrons are generated and pushed
from, to the data-machine, so that it can function as a sign, as
screen, as display, as store, as wireless and networked data
telecommunications, as store, bank, refrigerator, etc. so whatever
economics, social or cultural event, it is also tied into this power
network that sustains it.

and any given artifact that is electrical, corded at the least,
similarly ties into this system, which is global. a few may not,
though the vast majority do, including battery driven devices where
manufacturing occurs via this same energy complex, as part of the
expansive programming of how resources are made into artifacts.

another aspect about type and typology is that this is off the map for
academic studies, seemingly, in its geometric characteristics. and
instead would be mediated by text, rather than the typological forms
that are visually their own language. in that, vending machines of
certain functionality tend to look alike or share traits. and this is
something archaeologists deal with when excavating a site, going down
layers into dirt from the accumulated endless layers of dust that hide
away what once was, its information and also, its context.

and what is discerned when finding an artifact is its characteristics,
its shape, patterns, material, various composition, and then dating
it. this is all about types, whether it is related to something that
has already been discovered or it has not yet been cataloged, and thus
calls into question existing models and views and stories about how
things fit together, in that remote distant realm, as can be deduced
by material artifacts, as it is merged with writing, beliefs,
religion, ideas of the era- if it exists.

and what occurs -and perhaps like language or ideas, and relations- is
that a style or type of pottery or artifact may be discovered at some
layer or depth, in a location far from expected, and what once was
believed to be an accepted understanding then must be reevaluated
because the assumptions are wrong -- somehow there was a connection
between places, and a gap in understanding may exist for accounting
for this similarity or this correlation - where A:A in certain
parameters or dynamics - say coloring or dye or patterning, or use of
clay that is not local, and thus pottery unearthed thousands of miles
away could indicate trade routes etc, or relocation of a tribe, and
that this is in some way like an 'archeology of knowledge', though
when taken in the context of the ruins of mind (freud) -- it can be
about memories lost in time or through distancing, such as about our
own common experience that is not integrated, and thus lost to
ourselves, that may be unearthed here and there, and then it is an
issue of how this is mediated, do the models and stories allow
connections to exist, or does the language deny the possibility and
enforce limits, say mediating the rich cultural dynamics involved in a
networked kiosk merged with a vending machine, only in terms of online
social media for its value or paramters or truth, and then dialoging
or discussing that narrow view that is basically inside the business
model, providing feedback about its tunability to culture as a mode of
acceptability perhaps, on those terms or if not a moral/ethical
dimension implicit - which may be important, yet the context could go
far beyond this and may involve the entirety of culture, whereby the
vending machine is a tiny part of a gigantic process of such automated
development, this only one of a vast many such artificial lifeforms,
as if a robot-in-waiting even, and having a discussion about it in
terms of its interface as designed, than of the entity itself, its
ecosystem, its framework of operation, all of which inform and are
relevant to analysis, and required, it would seem, to have grounded
observations at the cultural level, beyond that of a yea or nay
consumer interaction or critical buy-in, which again could be part of
the business model, the analysis in those narrow parameters, viral
marketing, free advertising, which is not about the individual, but
about the ideas, 'new ideas' or novelty seemingly, in some way though
not in others - and the question is how to get to these others if only
words are mediated and not say maps or geometries or types involved,
like looking at diagrams of how things work as a whole.

those in the futures market or into stock trades already _model these
dimensions and dynamics for whatever industries are in focus. that
ecosystem is where the money is, and the truth of its performance.
like a conceptual weathervane of some sort, trending or momentums not
unlike behavioral twitches that send a flurry of nerve activity to
rewire or strengthen connections - this information then materializing
as money as a store of energy, etc. so absent this modeling, it is
about words, perhaps about memes or signage whereby a pattern of an
event is described or discerned, that then frames what is happening.
so that this larger context is then made finite by a specific instance
in narrowed terms and then evaluated in high relativism, as to its
truth or its motives or its function, though lacking the empirical
data of experiences beyond that interaction or interface, due to
language, in that it is not possible to write out all these
connections and rationalize them, they are an enormous question
requiring many minds to contemplate, and yet there is no map to view,
no pictures in the endless books that capture the essential condition
in its archetypal and typical and typological essence.

anything. a wind-up watch. electronic quartz watch. digital watch.
'smart watch'. these artifacts are of a common type that is likewise
going through a similar typological transformation as the vending
machine. it is part of a typological development, of variance in
typology and hybridization. (and so too, the bell tower, clock tower,
grandfather clock, to atomic clock, atomic watch, gps watch, tv/radio
watch, calculator watch, fitness tracker/watch, etc).

it is not far from the realm of the spork - a combining of spoon and
fork in a single utensil. very similar, except now there is the data
kiosk dimensions and dynamics - the monitoring and networked aspect,
in this latest edge condition of development. notice, especially in
consumer electronics, the oddball fusions, sometimes an entire record
player incorporated into a boombox centered on the cassette tape. or,
how the CD player merged with the alarm clock, taking over clock
radios. now, or most recently, the iPhone/iPad merging with everything
as if a parasitic secondary lifeform of some kind, attaching itself to
car dashboards, music instruments, and other equipments, as an
interface and functionality yet also a boundary or limit of conception
- based on what the associated apps allow or limit in these relations,
which can be deadening to these interrelationships. somewhat akin to
feature creep or some threshold whereby innovation stops happening and
is replaced by making things different colors as a marketing strategy,
the deeper issues no longer actively interrogated in the design as if
the thinking has been done and here is the solution - social media
data kiosks or networked digital jukeboxes everywhere as threat, as if
it is going to help engagement with life and not promote escapism from
it. that compromise, yeah, i will just buy more soma (music, movies,
games) and remain pacified/pacifiered.

and so if this is a condition, what is the question, how is it
approached, from the playpen of subjugation that is held together by
false viewpoints and narratives and histories, or from thinking and
observation freed from the inaccuracies of existing dogma - especially
with regard to science and technology as default viewpoints that
cannot be questioned due to their superior objectivity and methodology
which is FICTION. philosophy is at the core of all these enterprises.
Thales who discovered the spark in amber, electrostatics, at the
beginning of 'scientific development' and yet this viewpoint is
off-limits in the present day. common POV is ungrounded by default,
without delving into the grid and matrix of relations, dealing with
plugs and sockets and wires and poles and towers and antenna of
cyberspace and electrical power systems. anything claimed cyber (even
'mind' in a noospheric context even) or virtual, or informational (to
a certain extent) must be brought into an existing known framework,
placed, situated, to have a chance at understanding that is not warped
by the problems of finite independent observation -- because language
can line-up that is a false-viewpoint.

the very physicality of perspective is needed, and it is not an easy
skill to develop without some help, because these are actually issues
of geometry, and of logic. they are mathematical relations and truths,
structural relations and dynamics that exist that cannot be addressed
via written language alone, it is far too involved and multilinear and
vast (n-dimensional) and it is as if observers have no map, no
compass, no tools, no diagram or ability to make models needed to
communicate at the level necessary, which is very physical, as
physical as taking photographs - excepting making frameworks instead,
building or developing these models, maps, that are missing, and
diagramming the structures that are known to exist yet disappear in
the dust of lost thoughts as texts disappear and evaporate in meaning,
to a local specific focus, only to be regenerated ad absurdum in an
extremely lossy format, the truths carried degrading via their
continuing conveyance, losing their realism as things change yet the
ideas do not, and no longer match the events in the world, so detached
the thinking, so far from accounting for what is actually occurring
beyond the limitedness, the enforcing of shared views that are not
serving humans and only a select few, via entropic movement of
validation via repetition to bad ideas

it is not that people do not have the capacity, it is that a condition
of lost literacy and a new and ancient environment exist that has
never been accurately and adequately accounted for, in its depth and
range, beyond the problems of language, which is like a civilization
tomb today. periscope depth, perhaps, viewing this or that object or
event, though otherwise thoroughly and hopelessly buried in ideology
and views of the past that no longer exist as reality, yet are
believed to by the army of fossilized clay information workers toiling
away in this false perspective, serving the machine with every move
that is unknowing of its own origin and greater purpose and it seems
this relates to the fundamental issue that information is more about
money than truth, today

to encapsulate, the 'Internet of Things' as a concept is an issue of
cosmology that if mediated outside the accurate framework for its
existence (electromagnetic civilization) cannot be accessed except in
narrowed and ungrounded terms that rely on patterns within language,
signification, rather than the deeper truth involved. it is the
problem of relativism. there is no empirical framework to analyze
[types] of artifacts in a singular view, especially electromagnetic.
to seek to analyze the "smart" doohickeys (sensors, dataloggers, etc)
outside an electromagnetic condition, natural, artificial, virtual, is
unreal - like looking at shadow figures on a cave wall.

and it seems apparent that in addition to the lack of a grounded
cosmology, this pre-electromagnetic  worldview that is the default
also does not require grounding of 'information' with truth, via
logic. so power and conformity of view is what determines what is
believed true and functions as truth, by sharing of perspective, which
is taught by indoctrination. the false perspective sustained by mass
media detached from sanity.

it is so profound a disconnect that truth may not even exist in
civilization at this point. only pseudo-truth, and likely very minimal
in a spoken or written context. and that this is where the encounter
begins and often remains when conveyed in words and texts, at this
extreme remove from actual events in their truth, versus the
spin-states or skew as presented or re-presented, and shared and
shared, a- like. pattern matching as if it equates with or equals
truth, at the level of the sign. every signifier free-floating. then
observing like this, which is what relativism allows, encourages,
gives value to, as it serves the antihuman machinery and exploitation.

can it be dealt with as a process of making observation or is it so
impossible that it defeats any efforts. and my belief is that the
sheer ability to communicate and signal about these events and
situations indicates that it is not over, that point-line-plane,
person to person, observers to observers, geometrically
interconnecting, that a decentralized modeling and awareness can be
built up, established, recognized, tested, though what it involves to
get to empirical analysis is a massive effort and investment, at scale
of the world of these events. and the need for tools, so that each
person who is thinking about the issues can be their own research
station or outpost, and enter into a distributed database the
typologies, the parameters, dynamics, and then merge these with the
combined research effort into a shared model. to test ideas, overlay
hypotheses, restructure and test assumptions, again and again, about
what this is, what is going on, and how it can be shaped to benefit
human functioning and serve the necessary purposes instead of function
against life and freedom


John Hopkins <jhopkins {AT} neoscenes.net> wrote:

> "In collaboration with global creative agency TKM9, CCA* the company
> used interactive digital signage installed on beverage coolers to
> collect data= on sales and consumer interaction, and share content
> with customers at the point of sale â such as discount offers
> and weather reports. With the device, CCA is also able to draw
> consumers into an interactive multimedia and social-media experience,
> via the coolers and the consumers' own devices, offering games,
> contests, Facebook posts and more."
 <...>


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