October 21, 2012

Ubiquitous Computing

Bolter & Grusin's "Ubiquitous Computing" describe and discusses differences in virtual reality, telepresence, and augmented reality. Within these texts, a relationship between the medium and the physical world is created. In virtual reality, the real world is replaced with a virtual one; in telepresence, the real world in one location is recorded and transmitted to another location through computer programs and screens with the potential of being manipulated by the user on the receiving end; in augmented reality, the images being transmitted are juxtaposed with the physical world in a way similar to windows on a computer screen. The aim in these cases is to interact "naturally" with the environment being projected--either by removing all external stimulation from the physical world in order for the user to become consumed by the virtual reality; or by allowing the human operator to manipulate the physical conditions of the location being observed via mechanical arms; or by allowing the user to simultaneously observe the physical world around them and the images being transmitted (215-216).

The goal of ubiquitous computing is to create a world in which everything is a medium "because everything is or contains a computing device"(217). This is meant to enable us to utilize devices in ways we haven't been able to before, making "dumb" devices "smart" for the sake of fulfilling human needs and wants and enhancing their utility (218). Ubiquitous computing takes hypermediacy to an extreme, infusing media into practically every device out there. While reading this, I begin to think of a dystopian future, where everything is a robot, your every move is under constant surveillance, and you have no time to think for yourself because devices fulfill your every want and need before it even occurs to you that you want or need something. This is crazy, of course, but indicates just how powerful a potential the infusion of media and real life has.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

I think that we should try to strive to create a world where everything is a medium. But then again, if everything is a medium...is there ever a medium or does reality become completely distorted? I don't think that it is our duty to use devices and make the "dumb" ones "smart". I think that with the technological developments, these devices become "smart" themselves. It is not our job to interact with, say, a door, and make it "smart" by the way that we use it. It will become what it is determined or considered "smart" as its own technology and development advances.

Your definitions and explanations are very clear between the differences of virtual reality and ubiquitous computing. I agree with your posts and your findings and examining of the reading. But, I think that there are many open ended questions, especially since technology is constantly changing and our mediums are constantly advancing.

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