Future vision of disaster – ubicomp to the rescue?!

Liz Goodman pointed out this peculiar ubicomp style vision of the apparently everyday being disrupted by disaster. I would echo Liz’s criticism that it (rather poorly) depicts a pretty awful future. Another (recent) ‘past computing future’ video to add to the list though.


The Ambient Life from Buro Knapzak on Vimeo

The at-best amoral (and probably, at worst, deeply unpleasant) use of a disaster that bears striking resemblance to various recent tragic events is astounding. I would hazard, to animate is not only cheaper but it retains the almost clinical cleanliness of (usually) anodyne ‘future vision’ videos. The narrative is facile to the point of being slightly offensive: the producers use this disaster imagery just to set up quite boring and glib analysis of communications infrastructure. That aside, the graphical aesthetic is, I suppose, interesting. As Liz says:

Do, however, watch it for the moment when an epileptic jogger recovers from an almost-seizure (monitored in real-time by the sort of highly paid doctor who wouldn’t be caught dead doing real-time monitoring in the US) just before a plane (!) rams into a skyscraper and the scenario turns to disaster in a busy city. Crowds running wildly, people checking their mobile phones (?) as debris rains down on them.

The above video, entitled “The Ambient Life“, was apparently made for the Freeband Communication research initiative, which is a Dutch national programme of research in and around ‘ambient intelligence’ (a largely European synonym for Ubicomp).

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One Reply to “Future vision of disaster – ubicomp to the rescue?!”

  1. Hi, Sam —

    Just got around to approving this trackback. Months later, I’m still irritated by the video. I think part of what irritates me is exactly that — the pristine, IKEA-style cleanliness. It’ s not just the “clean” disaster which gets to me — it’s also the antiseptic living room in the early part of the scenario. Why is it that there are no knick-knacks in the future?

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