What was learnt from “Shaping Things”
One of the most interesting books I have read lately is “Shaping Things” which was written by Bruce Sterling. He presents a set of interesting ideas and new terminologies that appear to be vital to understand considering the technological advancements taking place. He is arguing that the world of “organized artifice” is neither being explored or understood properly because new forms of design and manufacturing appear to lack innovation and strong concepts, along with having unsustainable production methods. The main framework of the book is to refine and guide the design and manufacturing vectors, dealing with the consequences of sustainability and designing for an enjoyable future.
The concept of the interrelation of most of the aspects in our lives could not only be seen in nature but also in the technological world that humans have created. Especially after the explosion of global technological advancements and the huge amount of social media that is taking place one realizes that there is what Sterling calls “a synchronic society”. This part was most interesting for me as it noted out something that was seldom discussed. He explains it by saying “In a SYCNHRONIC SOCIETY every object worthy of human or machine consideration generates a small history. These histories are not dusty archives locked away on ink and paper. They are informational resources manipulable in real time.” P 45.
The invasion of television and other forms of media have turned many people into passive observers rather than participators. This could result in what many sociologists refer to as a state of anomie. The idea of the synchronic society could actually change that. Nowadays while some people are becoming more of passive observers, we can also see that others are being more active even if it was defined as virtual activity. People could use the knowledge given and use the system being proposed as Sterling explained by saying “Instead of researching new solutions from a standing start, it had a new capacity to digitally search out solutions within the existing data field: every SPIMED object has generated a little puddle of experience.” P 49.
A snowball-effect appears to be taking place considering the synchronic society and the effects of media on our brains, but what if we were able to divert this snowball to hit a more productive and positively effective pathway? Sterling talks about this idea by saying “Generating new knowledge is very good, but in a world with supers archives, accessing knowledge that you didn’t know you possessed is both faster and more reliable than discovering it.” P 47
I believe this point in the article was of extreme importance and it gets us to think about how the future should use the synchronic society as a vital tool in development. This got me to think of making an experiment to try and simulate the idea of how to use a synchronic society. It will be allowing colleagues to express their certain knowledge of what they already know about a topic or subject in a minimum amount of time simulating every little spime that is being collected to add to our knowledge to be affected by everyone yet undeterminable by anyone.