Anticipating ubiquitous computing: logics to forecast technological futures.
Geoforum, 42 (2).
Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2010.12.005
Visions of the future predict spaces apparently teaming with ever more novel and pervasive technologies. Significant amongst such forecasts is the notion of ‘ubiquitous computing’ (ubicomp), understood as an affordance or capacity tied (in)to people, places and things. This article stages an encounter between the futurity of ubicomp and recent debates in geography around anticipation. So, first, the future orientation in ubicomp research and development (R&D) is investigated as a mode of anticipation. ‘Knowledges’, and ‘logics’ of anticipation are subsequently, and second, discussed as the conceptual apparatus that constructs and perpetuates the ‘proximate future’ of ubicomp. This analysis connects recent discussion about ‘anticipation’ in social sciences research with the methods of ubicomp research, which fits with an emergent agenda around futurity in human geography. Third, the conceptual articulation of ‘anticipatory logic’ is applied to the analysis of empirical investigations of ubicomp R&D to identify the specific logics of anticipation at play. This article accordingly examines the logics of anticipation that both support and destabilise the certainty with which the future is imagined within ubicomp. In conclusion, the multiple ways of anticipating a future world and the ways in which they discipline understandings of futurity are framed as a politics of anticipation.
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