The emerging phenomenon known as the Internet of Things refers to the technical and cultural shift anticipated as society moves towards a ubiquitous form of computing that facilitates the connection of everyday objects and devices to all kinds of networks. The Internet of Things creates a link between concrete objects and abstract data, producing a hybrid of physical and electronic spaces, which enables communication and interaction between people and things, and things themselves. However the Internet of Things, resulting through the convergence of identification and location technologies, is at risk of simply becoming a platform whose primary benefit is to offer improved indexing and tracking of manufactured consumer goods from cradle to grave; through manufacturer to distributor, to potentially every single person who comes in to contact with it following its purchase.
Through the combination of theory relating to Ubiquitous Computing, Human Geography, Actor-Network Theory, Semiotics and Emergence, the author aims to re-contextualise the Internet of Things, arguing how objects endowed with informational shadows can create a new layer of complex relationships that were previously not visible in our networks. Networks will be constructed, destructed and transformed by the pattern of interactions represented by how people to people, people to things, and things themselves are interconnected. As objects are treated like code, the messages they encode will be found in the pattern of social relations being expressed, allowing the Internet of things to provide the meta-data that enables clusters of data to self-organize. The Internet of Things will be the central warehouse and marketplace for all our patterns of mediated behaviour, and instead of those patterns being restricted to the invisible gaze of corporations, people will be able to tap into that pool themselves to create communal maps of all the data online. The data we wish to access will be assembled via the web out of an unthinkable number of isolated decisions created by agents both human and non human.