The Aarhus conference happens once every 10 years and this time the theme is ‘Critical Alternatives’ (see here for more details). It has just been announced that ‘Making “World Machines”: Discourse, Design and Global Technologies for Greater-than-self Issues’ will be a one day workshop in the run-up to the conference itself on either August 17th or 18th in Aarhus, Denmark. At the moment, we are still finalizing the call for participation, so watch this space.
I have been discussing my wider concept of World Machines at OzCHI (http://ozchi.org/) this week. The workshop paper I gave was called:
Digital Interdependence: using inference, sensors and social networking to make world machines
(see http://designparticipation.net/social-iot-workshop-2014 for an overview of why I was addressing this topic).
I talked about the sharing work and what it reveals about collective vs individualist models. I considered how we expand the care for the world we found at local level to myriad clusters across the world. I asked how new technologies can be appropriated for social ends that increase our understanding of ecologies, as well as for more commercial exploitations. And I began to see how the sharing stories might be good examples – not that we scale up each activity, but that we make more of them and link them up better.
The idea of world machines is that they join up insights and constructive outcomes and link that to more information about how we can live together provided from the environment and other people. Using inference (the power to mine data), sensors (which can give us feedback on cause and effect) and social media and connections across everything (chatting and sharing), we can do things that improve our environment and the environment… and encourage an understanding of ecologies – the way that things interrelate.
Guy Lipman, who attended the NEF launch, has written a blog post on the Design for Sharing report: http://guylipman.com/2014/11/27/sharing-economy/. He picks up on our points about how relationships and trust and communities can be affected by the type of sharing activities we engage in. Another of his take-home points from the report:
We also need to keep in mind issues of access and fairness – if we create a marketplace that some people can’t access, that is going to create wider problems in our society.