All the World's a Tag: Ubiquitous Computing, Robots and RFID

excerpted from Wired News:

The basic idea is that a slew of emerging technologies — RFID tags, wireless networking, portable devices hooked up to satellites, wearable computing — will make objects in the real world act like the internet currently does. They’ll be labeled, tagged, searchable and traceable, laden with tiny radio stations transmitting information to us, and storing information about us . . .

While libertarians and liberals wrestle with these issues (and wonder why these developments are always presented, years in advance of their full implementation, as faits accompli), aesthetes will have different concerns. One of the appeals of much visual art is that — unlike literature, which works with words and is distributed as a mass-produced commodity — art often plays on the irreducible specificity of objects, their uniqueness, their quiddity. Now, even if we could give every object in the world a unique address — and proponents of new 128-bit addressing system IPv6 claim it can give every grain of sand its own IP address — that’s still different from recognizing the uniqueness of every object. A label is a label; it reduces a three-dimensional, multi-textural thing to a number or word . . .

This is also interesting in the context of Chicago State University’s new library run by robots, as well as the discussion of RFID in libraries. I’m beginning to think librarianship requires a secondary interest in scifi!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *