Week 5 Assignment

Reading Response – Chipchase, Hidden in Plain Sight, You are what you carry CH4.

Again Chipchase has encouraged me to think about the ordinary and mundane tasks I perform in everyday life, in a way that I haven’t before.

I was able to relate to many of the points he discussed -I too have the ‘keys, money, phone’ point of reflection before leaving my room everyday to ensure I have remembered everything, but it was the analysis of these objects that interested me. Thinking about these objects in terms of offering us our primary needs is so accurate, and the secondary needs come from the other things we carry around -sunglasses, paper, pens, water, panadol etc are all ‘non-essential’ things that I take with me to alleviate my sense of perceived redundancies, they are the contingencies/items I may need.

This reading made me realise that I have a very small range of distribution, I like my belongings where I can see them. I think this is due to a high perceived risk, perhaps because I am in an unfamiliar country and still getting used to things in Singapore and also from past experiences like my house at home being robbed a few times. Therefore my sense of security has heightened both inside and outside of my home. Other contextual factors include being a foreigner and a traveller which has also boosted this sense of awareness and the safety of my surroundings. As I go to foreign countries my parents always remind me to be careful with my belongings particularly as getting replacements for any important documents/objects could potentially be very difficult being so far from home.

My organised personality has meant that I use centres of gravity to help me remember where I leave things. I try to put my things back in the same place (such as my keys/purse) and I definitely think that this mental convenience holds equal importance to the physical convenience.

The idea of physically carrying everything on your phone with you each day, instead of having it digitally stored, made me realise and appreciate the amount of information we have such easy accessibility to. Despite maybe not using all of my apps often, I still need them all as they will get used at some point. Chipchase touched on the idea of backing up data which made me recall how recently my mum’s hard-drive broke so we went to investigate getting it fixed and basically were told its not possible, they are made only to last a couple years and then you must purchase a new one. This seemed so strange to me because then you would have to back up one hard drive to another and surely you would run out of space very quickly? However this seems to be how technology is controlling us and taking advantage of our consumer practices, like how your iPhone will eventually slow down and loose function after a few years to encourage customers to buy a new one and constantly upgrade. Is this a result of technology advances occurring so rapidly or is it a marketing ploy to get us to continue to spend? It shows how we are “at the mercy of the network” and almost controlled by technology companies and the products that they produce.

I am intrigued by the idea of limiting our ownership while also increasing the number of things we use. This could increase the network of renting things, which already is a popular form of ownership. There seem to be so many platform sand opportunities to rent things temporarily rather than buying it as the use of that object doesn’t warrant or require a complete ownership. I wonder how far this concept could expand? There are already platforms for people to rent out their clothes, for example dresses for special occasions, so are there other objects that we use everyday which could be rented to us instead of purchased?

Finally I will address the notion of convenience, our need and appreciation of things to be smarter and faster. While the world is constantly changing and therefore technology is giving things the ability to be smarter and faster, should we really demand much more? The talk of putting sensors and tracking devices on us to analyse our habits seems too far! If we have companies guessing our next moves and being one step ahead where does that leave us? It takes away our control and our decision making, leaving these companies to influence our behaviours to the degree that they almost control them. I understand and appreciate technology and the ease and aid it allows us in different situations, however I would still like the ability to control my behaviours and be conscious of the decisions I am making without getting lazy and having it done for me. While “the easiest way to never forget anything is to never have anything to forget” (and that would be great) it shouldn’t be the end of the world if you accidentally forget something.


Ubiquitous Technology 

Ubiquitous Technology is made to feel accessible and available anytime, everywhere, in any device and in any format.

The trend of smart phones and apps make ubiquitous technology services accessible at any time and location, given you have cellular service. Google Maps for example uses ubiquitous technology as its GPS services mean that you can locate yourself on a map and therefore find your way to another location/find the nearby methods of transportation etc.

A futuristic* example is iris scanning being projected for use on PCs, ATMs and Smartphones. Iris detection capabilities are already used in various prisons and airports. The speed of recognition can be a few seconds which is faster than fingerprints, despite using more data points for the biometric identification. Iris scanning is a passive process unlike fingerprint scans where you have to touch the surface, which can be viewed positively and negatively. It removes the conscious action of opening/unlocking the phone/computer and would speed up the process by occurring immediately. However it could also activate the action without intention if the person wasn’t aware or wanting it. Every iris is different so it would offer excellent privacy and would be reliable as your eyes are always ready, unlike fingerprint scans which don’t work from a certain angle/wet fingers/has to be right finger.

* although the article was published in 2011 it still appears to be an idea for future investigation as it has not been commonly implemented