Smart What?

It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.
Albert Einstein

As children, the high bar for smart was often set beyond the reach of spelling bees and science fairs. Faced with the daunting, problem-solving prowess of comic book superheroes or the intellectual fortitude of geeky elders who extended the family system, the honorific label “smart” was typically reserved for celebrity genius, i.e., Einstein.

Today machines are said to be the smart ones. Charged with muscled amps and terabytes and built to run uber vigorous, operational memory systems, machines serve data storage and data processing well.  So well that in the age of the Internet, machines have extended their reach to connect with the objects and surfaces that we touch in our everyday lives.  From cell phones to pill bottles, from homes to city streets, gidgets and gadgets are being wired up to choreograph, record and process the micro movement analytics of our everyday lives.  Each is, or will be tethered to the Cloud, a vast active artificial intelligent system to riff on Phillip K. Dick’s VALIS.

For readers of Dick’s science fiction, you may remember VALIS was a harbinger of a new cosmological age, one conceived through hallucination and acted out by peeling away, thread by thread, the veil of reality.  In the already signaled era of smart objects, tech inventors, scientists and programmers are probing and prodding reality for sure, compelled to dig into the design complexities of artificial life systems said to improve our lives.  We learn of this compulsion played out at large and small scales with giant tech companies changing the economic playbook of venture capital to homegrown hackathons, maker labs and start-ups firing up the hot coals of technological disruption.

Here at RotoLab, reading both scale and the spatial dimension of technological progress is top of mind.  Together with our satellite partnerships, we see the near future filled with opportunities to reimagine the range of options for designing beautiful and smart products, platforms and spaces. Inspired by the diverse talent and technologies that surround us, we know it is not enough to just design smart thingness, but objects and spaces that aid in our search to question reality and discover what is still unknown.


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