Just before the perfect storm. 1. Newsletter

In under twenty-five years billions of devices have entered the world. They were
born as it were in industrial settings, programmed by single purpose led engineers, and built for either passive (to be read by radio equipped devices) or active connectivity (by devices with sensing capabilities). It is quite unprecedented that such an ontological shift has occurred in such short amount of time. The shift is ontological because up until this Internet of Things the world could be divided into subjects and objects. Subjects being living creatures with forecasting abilities and objects were dumb constellations of various matter to be handled and given meaning by subjects. All was quite naturally well; things were logical and clear.
Until the Internet of Things came along, and no one so it coming. No one? Well, a
small group of unaligned individuals did, including me. This is a reflection on a
twenty-five-year-old journey. The timing is important. Reality is no longer
understood as being divided in subjects and objects, but also the real and the
virtual become contested. The situation has become hybrid and as such it can no
longer be understood nor governed by a perspective that presupposes an
unproblematic relationship between the real and the virtual. We need to build new tools from the perspective of the hybrid as the new given. The tools themselves need to be tuned to this situation. This transition will not happen by itself, it needs to be guided. This requires a societal time out during which new mechanisms to make decisions at local, national and supra national level can be developed and discussed. In this Newsletter I propose to hardcode this time out in the shape of an open-source platform – a phone – that mediates the trajectory of the past twentyfive, thirty years. Too long the digital trends have been thought to be unequivocally linked to the agendas of large commercial consortia. These have taken over the very imaginary of building (positive) futures for the world. It is time to reclaim that imaginary for a public positive project and the way to do that is by taking control of the narrative.