I found an article by Martin Dodge and Rob Kitchin in Environment and Planning A from 2009 called Software, objects and home space.

This article talked about the “relationship between software, objects and material spatiality” and how technology is being incorporated into our everyday lives. Specifically the authors looked at “how coded objects beckon particular kinds of space into being through their work in the world.”

The article explains the different types of coding used in objects. We have products in our homes and they “are objects that have code physically embedded into their material form, altering `internally’ their relations with the world.”  The authors showed three examples regarding connection in homes and how technology is integrated into our everyday lives. They “document coded objects from three `typical’ British homes.” The three homes included:

  1. A family that consists of five people, both parents work outside the home
  2. A married couple no children, no pets
  3. An 85 year old female living alone

The article breaks down the homes (living spaces) into sections: living room, kitchen, and bedroom/bathroom (in some cases added a category such as an entry hall). These sections are described by the coded objects each room contains.

The three different spaces show that even though “the type and number of coded objects vary, software is already prevalent in Western homes.” The authors explain that “[c]oded objects alter the material, social, and spatial relations of the home in new ways.” And while

digital technologies are different from their analogue equivalents…they offer more functionality; they are more interactive; they are often programmable; they work independently of human oversight; many can record their use; some can communicate with other devices and with information systems across networks.

The article continues and discusses pervasive computing in that once code is integrated into our everyday lives we will be able to “render them invisible and allow them to be taken for granted.” The authors explain it like this:

Such anticipation and response will be fully automated, autonomous, decided upon by sophisticated software algorithms designed to be reflexive to home users’ desires and wishes. This is the vision of the ‘smart home’ a home with computing power built into all the objects contained within; a home that is aware of itself and of its past activity, its surroundings, its inhabitants, its contents, and its external service providers, and knows how to react appropriately to different scenarios. This vision anticipates computing power being built not just into objects within the home, but also into the fabric of the dwelling itself.

The article concludes by saying that in current homes there are products that are coded, analog and electrical these work in conjunction with how we live and make our lives better, sometimes “the infusion of software into homes is leading to a new ‘overcoding’ of routines and activities which often makes home life more complex and prone to unexpected and inexplicable failure and disruptions.”

They continue by saying, “[E]lectrical motors replaced physical labour, software algorithms will supplement and Software, objects, and home space augment human decision making.”

The authors do not specifically say remediation, but this idea is remediation. The current product is remade and these remediated products are filling the gap of the previous models and making lives easier. This does not always make a better product for everyone as there may be an adjustment process.

This idea reminds me of what we talked about in class with regards to computer science and how programs are made to do the small tedious tasks so that we can do bigger thinking than ever before. The computer program is working on better ways for it to do its job as well as ours. The article says that the new technology of a ‘smart home’ can anticipate your needs and react. It makes me think of The Jetsons and Forbidden Planet, where there are robots that anticipate the needs of their ‘owners’ and the robots do things to make daily life easier.  This concept of a ‘smart home’ is far removed from how many live today, although you might be surprised after reading this article how coded your house really is.

Works Cited

Dodge, M., Kitchin, R. Software, objects, and home space Environment and Planning A 2009, volume 41, pages 1344- 1365.