Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Spatial Awareness

In "Smart Mobs," Rheingold notes:

"As more people on city streets and on public transportation spend more time speaking to other people who are not phsically co-present, the nature of public spaces and other aspects of social geography are changing before our eyes and ears; some of these changes will benefit the public good and others will erode it."

Technology is rapidly blurring the lines between social life/home life/work life by making all of those previously "physical" spaces, imagined ones. We can now, figuratively speaking, photocopy ourselves to be in two places at once (how deliciously post-modern). Yet this is problematic in a number of ways:
1. We are losing a sense of space by blurring these lines (bringing home to work and work to home doesn't sit right with me)
2. More importantly, I don't believe we, as humans, are designed to be able to multi-task this way (be in two places at once), which means we're are in fact less efficient by blurring these lines.

Will we adapt and adjust to multi-task better? How will physical spaces change as a result of this blurring? For example, will homes be closer to work? Farther? Will it impact it at all? How does this change our cognitive mapping of the work place/home/social?

2 comments:

Christina Ducruet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christina Ducruet said...

http://www.collisiondetection.net/mt/archives/2007/10/quick_can_you_d.html

The fear of humans becoming machines in so far as they are always receiving and transmitting information that you express as this push to "multi-task" is one side of the problem. The other dimension I see is related to the convenience afforded to us by our ever-present phones and computers, whereby we are allowed to not-think perhaps even more that we are asked to think by the variety of tasks our techno-appendages require of us in a given moment. This symptom of "not-thinking" is explored in an article [see address above] written for last month's Wired as the problem of the future of human memory. When everything you need to know to do a task (return a call, problem solve on the fly, remember a name or address) is also on a machine, most of the labor involved in the task completion is out-sourced to your machine (to steal the analogy provided in the article). This reliance on machines for memory tasks is an equally problematic one to the ever-presence of machines as blurring the line between work and leisure. It points to the inescapability of the problem you present due to the ever-present need for our back-up drive.