Spime Wranglers & Ruling Blobjects

If Bruce Sterling hasn’t spun your head yet with the Viridian Design Movement, you’re coming up on half a decade behind the curve. But don’t worry, we won’t tell.

And he’s cranked up the conceptual overdrive for this address to SIGGRAPH, the annual convention of computer graphics and design people.

Having conquered the world made of bits, you need to reform the world made of atoms. Not the simulated image on the screen, but corporeal, physical reality. Not meshes and splines, but big hefty skull-crackingly solid things that you can pick up and throw. That’s the world that needs conquering. Because that world can’t manage on its own. It is not sustainable, it has no future, and it needs one.

It is going to get one from you.

Now let me briefly tell you how I think this process will play out.

Listen to this: ProE, FormZ, Catia, Rhino, Solidworks. Wifi, bluetooth, WiMax. Radio frequency ID chips. Global and local positioning systems. Digital inventory systems. Cradle-to-cradle production methods. Design for disassembly. Social software, customer relations management. Open source manufacturing.

These jigsaw pieces are snapping together. They create a picture, the picture of a new and different kind of physicality. It’s a new relationship between humans and objects.

If you can bear with me a while today, and kind of oil and loosen the joints of your incredulity, I’m gonna suspend some disbelief for you here.

You see, the future is already here, it’s just not well distributed yet.

Heady stuff, but worth wrapping your mind around because Sterling’s got a good track record for picking up big trends seven or eight years ahead of almost anyone else.

The full address is here.

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About Doug Merrill

Freelance journalist based in Tbilisi, following stints in Atlanta, Budapest, Munich, Warsaw and Washington. Worked for a German think tank, discovered it was incompatible with repaying US student loans. Spent two years in financial markets. Bicycled from Vilnius to Tallinn. Climbed highest mountains in two Alpine countries (the easy ones, though). American center-left, with strong yellow dog tendencies. Arrived in the Caucasus two weeks before its latest war.