Seamfulness: Rethinking Materialism in a Connected World

I am catching up on my weekly reading and finally got around to “Addicted products: The story of Brad the Toaster.” I really regret to not getting to it sooner. The concept, notional experiences, and implications are all awesome.

First, the video:

Kyle Vanhemert, writing over at Wired, digs a little deeper in “A Toaster That Begs You to Use It.” The conceptual underpinnings of the product is brilliant. In the words of Vanhemert:

What if the smart objects of the future aren’t just smart, but also potentially jealous, petty or vindictive? What if, connected to and benchmarked against their peers, their relationships with each other start to inform their relationships with us?

What I found really interesting was the following thought from Simone Rebaudengo, the designer behind the project:

We’re just beginning to explore this new connected world, Rebaudengo says, and it would be a mistake not to ask questions about some of the less obvious–and less immediately desirable–ways it could play out. “I think the seamfulness of this will be much more interesting than the seamlessness.”

This idea of seamfulness is interesting: assuming that more products will better incorporate machine learning and artificial intelligences, will smart homes be harmonious places, or will it be brand versus brand (“Dad! The Samsung refrigerator is trash talking the Sony television again!”) or appliance versus you (“Was there a sale on Ben and Jerry’s ice cream?” asks the elliptical trainer after seeing what was scanned into the smart fridge the afternoon prior.). Fun, trippy, thought-provoking stuff…

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