Sunday, June 12, 2016

Thoughts on Rose's Enchanted Objects: from a Terminal World of Endless Glass Slabs to Ambient Orbs, GlowCaps & Beyond

I read David Rose's Enchanted Objects with great interest. I am a confessed gadget fiend and love trying out all the new devices that people are always making. David Rose provides a good perspective on how to think of gadgets and objects. He starts out by sketching a dystopian world where people are always looking at flat glass slabs, a world he calls terminal world. This is, of course, the world we currently live in. He then provides a more expansive view where one can imagine interacting with objects, not just in the sense of literal computers but more in the sense of things that traditionally are held and touched. He goes through a plethora of interesting objects such as a balance table for promoting conversation, the Lockitron lock and, of course, his Ambient Orb and GlowCaps. (These latter two things he particularly spearheaded.) He talks about a lot of key concepts in thinking about objects such as multimodality (dealing with different senses at the same time), having a shadow digital presence for physical objects in the real world and modularity between components to deal with obsolescence. He also talks a lot about the subtle problems we have in dealing with objects such as the "filter bubble" (where we are essentially just dealing with a virtual world and not the real world) or the uncanny valley (when objects get too lifelike and this seems a bit spooky and it is almost better for them to be stranger).

He deals a bit with the issue with privacy and surveillance talking about the cameras in the Innovation Center where he worked. But I could imagine going into a lot more detail on the future world of information storage in the cloud and its privacy implications.

In any case, it was a overall a good read and really gave me a lot of valuable thoughts on the physical world of the objects that I love to play with.


Amazon Book
Enchanted Objects: Innovation, Design, and the Future of Technology
by David Rose

Amazon Review