An esteemed colleague sent an email about the internet of things. Here’s what I think.
Chindōgu (珍道具) is the Japanese art of inventing ingenious everyday gadgets that, on the face of it, seem like an ideal solution to a particular problem.
However, chindōgu has a distinctive feature: anyone actually attempting to use one of these inventions would find that it causes so many new problems, or such significant social embarrassment, that effectively it has no utility whatsoever.
We’re back to postwar borax America, and 1970s/80s Japan – comfort and bounty for select areas of the Bay Area and a relentless supply of brogrammers telling themselves that they’ve invented the next post-it. Invent it and they will come! What, who doesn’t want a NFC-nail-file-cum-quantified-self-inator?
It’s internet-of-things and VR and AR for the sake of it. Have a control-alt-delete wand or a clear vynil hat that allows you to smoke while swimming, but now with GPRS and LTE. It’s funny, in a cringeworthy The Office way. While the enmusculated nootropic-toting “brahs” of the valley are busy punching code into boiled eggs that tell your fridge when they’re off, the future is a scene reminiscent of Mugatu from Zoolander pitchedly yelling how he invented a the piano-key neck tie, or worse, a giant internet of things, bluetooth-enabled e-bubble bursting as the likes of Woolies and Coles realise all those talking fridges and spin dryers with wifi that feed your robot dog are actually a bunch of overmarketed gimmicks floated to the already bloated consumer; Fox quietly abandons its stance that it’s a “billion dollar industry” and we watch as the industry shits itself.
Of course, consultancies – such as the one I work at – tend to do well out of such affairs, so $bring it.
There’s a trend of “no interface”: Microsoft is using it’s heavy, embarrassing and clunky headgear as a way to force plain old windows into your face while you’re making toast ( page 32 of the PDF ). That’s not augmented reality in any way at all – it’s obscuring reality by shoving Microsoft and it’s banal 21st century clippy into your breakfast cereal.
“Oh it looks like you’re making toast, would you like some help with that?” Christ. It’s not long before someone lashes out in frustration at a poorly timed notification and crowns their daughter in the eye.
This is a shame. Augmented reality shouldn’t be taking what’s on the screen and making it a bit translucent and waft around your face like an irritating insect. AR, like technology more generally, works best when it’s not even noticed.
Which brings me back to “no interface” – i’m all for it. But I’ve yet to see it in any of the IOT propaganda. But maybe that was the point?
Also I just bought a Nutribullet to mix up that protein, because my hand-blender was only good, not great. Hello irony you old tart.