I am becoming increasingly fascinated with the eroding barrier between the Internet (have you seen what all they got on that Internet?) and Real Life.
Here are a few of my favorite examples:
- Enterprising Slashdotters signed up Alan Ralsky (Millionaire Spam King) for thousands of mail order catalogues, etc., specifying his home address. Soon Ralsky was receiving hundreds of pounds of junk mail every day – quite helpless to extricate his legitimate mail from it.
- Eduardo Kac, the artist responsible for the creation of Alba, set up an art exhibit named “Genesis” featuring a petri dish containing bacteria with modified DNA sitting under an ultraviolet light that turned on whenever a visitor to Kac’s web site clicked a button.
- The ACCESS Project – Here is my friend Gokmop’s summary of this traveling art piece:
ACCESS is a public art installation that applies web, computer, sound and lighting technologies in which web users track individuals in public spaces with a unique robotic spotlight and acoustic beam system. The robotic spotlight automatically follows the tracked individuals while the acoustic beam projects audio that only they can hear. The tracked individuals do not know who is tracking them or why they are being tracked, nor are they aware of being the only persons among the public hearing the sound. The web users do not know that their actions trigger sound towards the target. In effect, both the tracker and the tracked are in a paradoxical communication loop. The ACCESS spotlight system travels from one undisclosed public space to another. The exact location of the public space is revealed only after ACCESS moves to its next location.
- Teledildonics – My new favorite word. Teledildonics puts us one step closer to the holodeck (and the collapse of human civilization). With devices like the Sinulator, users can control a sex toy via the Internet. Just the thing for when your spouse is out of town on business. However, some people subscribe to a service in which the Sinulator is manipulated by complete strangers. Holy crap.
I have a very clear memory of the day I first heard about the Internet. It was 1995 and a co-worker was talking about “surfing the web”. In the intervening 10 years, for me, the Internet has gone from being a novel way to acquire porn to an ever-present resource (for porn) that is as much a part of my day as eating, sleeping, or looking at porn. Though I am not a Mac person, I think back to when I first saw Apple’s short movie entitled Knowledge Navigator. I cannot help but marvel at how much the Internet has become part of our lives, and how much there is still left to do.