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Bruce Sterling

Bruce Sterling is a science fiction writer who blogs at http://blog.wired.com/sterling.

Bruce Sterling: "From Beyond the Coming Age of Networked Matter," a short story

I wasn’t too chuffed about the weird changes I saw in my favorite start-up guy. Crawferd was a techie I knew from my circuit: GE Industrial Internet, IBM Smart Cities, the Internet-of-Things in Hackney hackathons. The kind of guy I thought I understood.

I relied on Crawferd to deliver an out-there networked-matter pitch to my potential investors. He was great at this, since he was imaginative, inventive, fearless, tireless, and he had no formal education. Crawferd wore unlaced Converse shoes and a lot of Armani. He had all the bumbling sincerity of a Twitter Arab Spring.

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Mind Blowing Movies: Technological Dream Series: No. 1, Robots (2007)

Mm200This week, Boing Boing is presenting a series of essays about movies that have had a profound effect on our invited essayists. See all the essays in the Mind Blowing Movies series here. -- Mark

Dunne and Raby, "Technological Dream Series No. 1: Robots," 2007, By Bruce Sterling

[Video Link] I first witnessed this strange Dunne and Raby video.... well, I feel sure that it was more than five years ago, but I don't see how that's possible.Some experiences squeeze the past into a different shape.

This video seems pretty opaque, at first encounter. It has no credits. The heroine is mute, nameless, rather elegant, very worried and dressed in black. The soundtrack is wordless electronic gabbling, warbling and scratching. The set is pure gallery white-space, devoid of doors, walls, sinks, beds, stoves or toilets. Odd, meaningless objects are strewn across the floor.

There are some jarring, horror-film jump-cuts, but they lack an apparent purpose. The nonexistent plot never advances. No conflict is settled. No problem is solved. No conclusion is reached. There's no moral to this story. There's no story.

"Technological Dream Series" is not even a "series," because there was only one of them. "Technological Dream Series" is a demo.

This demo looks something like science fiction -- that's why it captured my attention right away, and has held it for years now -- but "Technological Dream Series" is not science fiction. It's a different thing, because it's "design fiction."

"Technological Dream Series No. 1: Robots" is a demo, and the subject being demonstrated is interaction. These products on display, the objects, the "robots" --they're as abstract as chess-pieces. They're not like the designed products that star in commercial ads, they're not glossed-up, they don't have branding, they're not for sale. The heroine isn't the star, either. The star is the interaction.

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