Hacking the World of Things

Arduino-curious?

Although this mid-length documentary assumes some contextual understanding of the open-source physical computing platform, it quickly gets into comprehensible territory, detailing some of the practical uses to which this combination of simple, hackable circuitry and the open-source software that runs it is being put. Here, even a non-hacker like me begins to glimpse the powerful movement that is open source, with ramifications far beyond even the considerable powers of the software world. When people start talking about “hacking the world of things,” we find ourselves in a territory very different from the modern era—the historical period that was characterized by an ever-increasing reliance on others to make and distribute the tools and materials we use in daily living.

The open source movement isn’t close to cracking open the modern industrial model yet; it’s a long way from printing out open-source coathooks to hacking together complex things made of tens, hundreds, and thousands of parts. It’s not clear what the hacked-apart industrial world of things would look like; it’s not even entirely clear that it would be wholly desirable. But what future ever is wholly desirable, after all? One thing is clear: the prospects for a hacked future of the world of things are enticing, and disorienting, to contemplate. —via Rhizome

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