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GAFFTA Talk on Decay of Digital Things


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In the biological world, Decay is a physical phenomenon where materials become a simpler form of material and energy.

But in the culture of making objects, decay is a multidimensional problem. The physical decay of an object fails to sync up to the behavioural, cultural, or digital decay of that thing.

Decay becomes the natural output of an ecosystem of use, disuse, and obsolescence not dictated by material, but by software and consumer expectation from software behaviour. This decay is taking the form of obsolescence and apathy: a world of forgotten things with short lifespans and nowhere to go afterwards.

The danger is that culture rot is claiming the utility of objects before material rot ever does, and the physical casings that held the once functional circuits and software can take an eternity to decay.

To combat this, decay must be reframed as inherent to the value of an object. This can be done by situating time as something that adds value (or detracts by its absence), and by challenging the emerging anonymity and replaceability of network connected objects.

We want to enable a graceful ecosystem of creation, decay, and rebirth in a software-infested and thing-saturated world.

Published in: Design
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GAFFTA Talk on Decay of Digital Things

  1. 1. The Decay of Digital Things Andrew Lovett-Barron @readywater
  2. 2. Products and Culture and Systems
  3. 3. Legacy systems and Obsolescence
  4. 4. Smart Things with Nowhere To Go
  5. 5. No End Point in Sight
  6. 6. The Decay of Digital Things
  7. 7. Design and Code and Overthinking
  8. 8. Decay
  9. 9. Sensor Ghosts
  10. 10. Commons
  11. 11. Haunted Computers
  12. 12. The Future
  13. 13. Andrew Lovett-Barron @readywater