Archive | May, 2012

Week 11: an internet of things.

14 May

Through this blog I’ve thrown out some important points, mostly how we see our reality, how it affects us. The media helps us construct our reality through devices such as framing, data transparency, artificial intelligence, and social communication through movements such as swarm offensives.

But what does all this mean for our future?

“A world embedded with so many digital devices that the space between them consists not of dark circuitry but rather the space of the city itself” (Easterling).

We are heading down this path. Consumed and affected by digital devices that the future seems somewhat designated already. One that will circulate around technology.

“Digital technologies often become an essential prosthetic for an idea about form-making” (Easterling).

Technology isn’t just an element of society, but an interrelated element, and extension of human capabilities. A “Social apparatus, an active form of information”.

While I can’t speak for my own future. I’ll give an example:

Mohammed Bouazizi on 17 December 2010 lit himself alight in the middle of a busy street in Tunisia after a random altercation with the police. His mother then came to the police station to complain about his son’s treatment. They wouldn’t listen. His cousin Ali Bouazizi filmed the one-woman protest. This went viral.

This video explains it all:

“Within weeks, he [Mohammed] was to become to emblem of people power revolution that toppled a dictatorship” (West).

It is interesting how one individual, and one moment in time went on to inspire political protest, and change the future of these countries.

“One of the most stunning features of the revolutions… Slogans spray painted on walls in Tunis said ‘Thank-you Facebook’.

Now the question is:

“[The internet is] Integrated into the heart of Tunisia’s and Egypt’s new democracies”

So what role will it play in their future?

It can be seen as a mode of existence and social apparatus. Because it was so inherently important in the past, it will be even more so in the future. It is a substantiated reality. So we can learn a lot from Mohammed. The power of the individual when connected with the Internet of things, can take social organization and change to new levels, it can achieve things that seemed non-existent. Technology was used as an extension of human communication capabilities.

This is a good sign for the future. And thankfully, there will still be a need for people power.


Keller Easterling (2011) ‘An Internet of Things’, e-flux journal, <>

Johnny West (2011) ‘Journeys Through The Arab Spring’, Great Britain, Heron Books, pp. 1-5.



3 May

“Sharing data will change the way medical science works…”

However this argument should not be limited to science. To limit the argument is to limit its capabilities.

‘Ushahidi’, is a social resource used to monitor issues. It is a great example of how data transparency allows us to look at issues differently, to look at them in a way that is coherent and informed. Ushahidi is crowd sourced information site which is data driven. Simply anyone can SMS a piece of information, tweet it, upload it online, and this formulates collaborative data about a selected issue. Check out the following video on what the community expects out of Ushahidi:

What the community wants

“Shared data will mean more and faster progress” this is true in the political realm, not just the science room.

Mapping violence against women: India.

Data regarding violence against women in India is mapped. But what’s the significance?

Well, it indicates where, what kind of abuse, numbers. And this illuminates that there is a serious issue in India relating to fundamental human rights of women. Illumination is key. Although it is not that simple, to see and then to fix. Data is instrumental in identifying issues in a comprehensive and informed way. It is the key to progress. It can change the way we look at violence.

Elections in countries that are still deemed as developing democracies can also be monitored through ‘free and open source software for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping’.

ZAmbia Elections Data Collection

Free and open sourced data sharing is huge in terms of data transparency,  and it highlights the growing collaborative culture online. More importantly, its what data transparency can shed light on that is the real feat. The above examples harness the energy of the human swarm, with many people contributing their data, a larger story is told. A larger ‘protest’ can be made. Platforms like Ushahidi also illuminate the bottom up approach, the site is dynamic, collaborative, it always changes, and the outcome of issues can never be pre-empted. Open science, or open everything, is key in understanding big issues, and understanding is key in resolution.


Pisani, Elizabeth (2011) ‘Medical science will benefit from the research of crowds’, The Guardian, January 11, <>

Ushahidi, ‘Monitoring Zambia elections’:, accessed on: 3/5/12

Ushahidi, ‘Violence against women, India’:, accessed on: 3/5/12