Adam Greenfield | Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing | New Riders Press, first edition, March 10, 2006
- Website here
- See A List Apart for Introduction here and Conclusion here
(...) In everyware, the garment, the room and the street become sites of processing and mediation. Household objects from shower stalls to coffee pots are reimagined as places where facts about the world can be gathered, considered, and acted upon. And all the familiar rituals of daily life, things as fundamental as the way we wake up in the morning, get to work, or shop for our groceries, are remade as an intricate dance of information about ourselves, the state of the external world, and the options available to us at any given moment.
In all of these scenarios, there are powerful informatics underlying the apparent simplicity of the experience, but they never breach the surface of awareness: things Just Work. Rather than being filtered through the clumsy arcana of applications and files and sites, interactions with everyware feel natural, spontaneous, human. Ordinary people finally get to benefit from the full power of information technology, without having to absorb the esoteric bodies of knowledge on which it depends. And the sensation of use - even while managing an unceasing and torrential flow of data - is one of calm, of relaxed mastery.
This, anyway, is the promise.
The stakes, this time, are unusually high. A mobile phone is something that can be switched off, or left at home. A computer is something that can be shut down, unplugged, walked away from. But the technology we're discussing here - ambient, ubiquitous, insinuative into all the apertures everyday life affords it - will be environment-forming in a way neither of those are. There should be little doubt that its advent will profoundly shape both the world and our experience of it in the years ahead.
As to whether we come to regard that advent as boon, burden or blunder, that is very much up to us, and the decisions we make now.