Decided to make a spoof image that follows some others’ attempts to satirically reflect on the kinds of business models that seem to be creeping in for ‘Internet of Things’ products and services. My impetus is that I’ve enjoyed some of the recent posts on the @internetofshit satirical twitter stream, which lampoons IoT business ideas. These got me thinking…
Oh my god pic.twitter.com/7tRJ19BUYG
— Internet of Shit (@internetofshit) 18 February 2016
— Jeff Sonstein (@jeffsonstein) 18 February 2016
Many of the successful posts take to the extreme a model we are already experiencing – which is that we do not necessarily totally control those things we think we own. I am aware that other folk will probably have commented in more depth and with greater nuance, but there we are… this is just a blogpost! (I welcome suggestions for further reading though)
For example – I recently bought a Kindle Paperwhite and to remove the inbuilt advertising I had to pay (in addition to the retail price) a £10 fee to ‘unsubscribe’ from ‘Special Offers‘. So, I had bought the device but to remove the adverts I had to pay more.
This, of course, resonates with the inkjet printer business model – in which the printer manufacturer can almost give away some models because the ink itself is highly lucrative, which led to stories comparing it’s value to that of gold…
In my most recent lecture for my third-year option module (Geographies of Technology) I addressed some of these issues and invited the students to consider the following questions when thinking about an ‘internet of things and places’:
Questions of ownership/responsibility:
- Whose things?
- Whose data?
- Who has access? How? When? Where?
Questions of power:
- How are decisions made on the basis of the data?
- How doe these decisions influence our lives?
Questions of value:
- How can/should we negotiate the value(s) of our data?
- What are we willing to give(-up) for perceived benefits?
- When does giving away lots of data become not worth it?
Later the same day, on the train home, I idly tweeted a speculative satirical scenario:
“OK [fridge/oven], what can I cook for dinner in 20 minutes?”
“For an answer to that question you need to be Gold subscriber.”
— Sam Kinsley (@samkinsley) 2 March 2016
Which led me to create a still image (above). I think there’s a lot of scope of using speculative design techniques in a satirical way to provoke more debate about the kinds of relationship we want to enter into with and through the technologies we bring into our everyday lives. My key inspiration here is Anne Galloway‘s work, especially the beautiful Counting Sheep project.