Monday, 30 September 2013

Digital cataloguing doesn't solve hoarding

Cory Doctorow's story "By His Things You Will Know Him" tells the tale of the son of a compulsive hoarder who inherits the hoard but with a technological index that reverses his perception from a useless bunch of junk to a kind of treasure cave, just because he can find anything in the index or search, categorise and rearrange it virtually. While I think that would be powerful, I think the disconnect between the physical presence of the hoard and the separate digital index would create a mental tension that would still make them feel like two different realities. That is to say, you can't just walk up and pick something off the shelf to find out what it is. You see it on the shelf, so you pick up your tablet, scroll, zoom, pan to the virtual object and from there you can see everything about it.

To me, to accomplish the effect described, you'd need more immediacy. You still need the virtual model, separate from the physical goods, but you also need to have the physical goods directly associated with the model so that, when you look at a particular piece, its properties are displayed automatically. You need augmented reality to say this thing is that, here's where it came from, here's what it's worth on eBay, whatever. As long as the model is in another space than the physical collection, it is possible to think of them separately, and that means, sometimes, you will.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Any two things you think are separate will be treated separately.
PPS - Any two things you treat separately will grow apart.

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