6 October 2010

Bruce Sterling interview by Rhys Hughes

Be the first to share

Bruce Sterling
Last week, La Stampa newspaper of Turin, Italy published an interview with Bruce Sterling, conducted by Welsh writer and essayist Rhys Hughes.

The complete English version of the interview has now been posted on fortykey (which by the way has a very interesting collection of essays). An excerpt:

Rhys: The ‘Internet of Things’ is a truly startling concept. I seem to remember that you once described it as “inconceivable before the 21st Century”. I find the prospect of everything in the world being linked together as alarming rather than uplifting, a threat to liberty. Are my concerns naive?

Bruce: I would agree that the privacy risks are always the first issues to strike thoughtful people. As people become more engaged with the many startling possibilities of the Internet of Things, they understand that those first concerns are primitive. They are not wrong, just simplistic.
It’s like learning about the railroad, and immediately thinking that it means that foreign spies will come to your town on the railroad. That is true. Yes, foreign spies really are a threat to your liberty, and they will use railroads. But railroads are alarming for many good reasons other than mere foreign spies.
The worst concern about a railroad is this: if a rival town gets the railroad, and your town doesn’t get that railroad, then your town dies. You will live a dead town. Posed in the rhetorical terms of the Internet of Things, this would mean a frightening “Internet of Things Gap.” This would be something like yesterday’s famous “digital divide.” When no one has it, then it might be bad to have it. When others really have it and you don’t, that deprivation is terrifying, unjust, evil. This would crush all your intelligent and skeptical reservations because it would reframe the debate in a way you could not counter.
The Internet of Things is indeed startling. It is also dangerous. But that’s just theory. To to have no real Internet is worse. To have no Internet while others do have it can be lethal. The Regione of Piemonte understood that problem, and that’s why I am able to type this to you on some very nice state-supported broadband.

Read interview

Be the first to share
27 March 2015
Sharp methodological critiques on current Big Data practices
Two methodological critiques on Big Data that caught our attention: In the Financial Times, economist and journalist Tim Harford points out that sampling bias and statistical errors are, if anything, magnified in Big Data research, …
24 March 2015
Ethnographic research drives IKEA’s global success
In a long Fortune Magazine article on IKEA's successful global expansion, author Beth Kowitt devotes quite a few paragraphs to the importance of qualitative, ethnographic research: "Today research is at the heart of Ikea’s expansion. “The …
24 March 2015
Presentations online of IEA energy efficiency behaviour workshop
The 11th and 12th of March, the International Energy Agency [IEA] in Paris hosted a workshop on energy efficiency and behaviour in the buildings sector. The goal of this workshop was for representatives from IEA …
23 March 2015
Design fiction personas illustrate possible impact of educational tech
People talk about the future of technology in education as though it’s right around the corner, but most of us get to that corner and see it disappearing around the next. This innovation-obsessed cycle continues …
23 March 2015
Design fiction, not science, hints at the future we actually want
The stories we tell ourselves about technology – typically, optimistic ones from would-be innovators, pessimistic ones from their critics – are usually too simple. Making them more complex can support a richer discussion about where …
18 March 2015
The considerations and limitations of feedback as a strategy for behaviour change
The considerations and limitations of feedback as a strategy for behaviour change Garrath T. Wilsona, Tracy Bhamraa & Debra Lilleya, Loughborough Design School, Loughborough, UK Published online: 12 Mar 2015 - Taylor & Francis Design for Sustainable Behaviour …
18 March 2015
The smartphone society
Just as the automobile defined the twentieth century, the smartphone is reshaping how we live and work today. Boston University sociology lecturer Nicole Aschoff explores it aLL. Half way down her leftist criticism of how the …
16 March 2015
Workshop_40/Wild energies: wind, fire and people in movement
For those in Torino: Workshop_40/Wild energies: wind, fire and people in movement Conducted by Marguerite Kahrl e Marjetica Potrč Friday, March 20 3.30 - 5.30, meeting with stakeholders Saturday, March 21 10.00 - 4.00, Participatory design in groups In …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

30 October 2014
The BancoSmart ATM by Experientia for UniCredit selected for ADI Design Index

Last year Experientia designed the interface of an ATM of UniCredit, a major Italian bank. The interface is now rolled out across the bank’s ATMs in Italy, to great satisfaction of the bank and the customers alike, since interaction speed is much faster and error rates went down dramatically. Last year UniCredit and Experientia also […]

See all articles