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?


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

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.