Smart property is much more than the anemic connected things we have now. Smart property imagines a world where every thing participates in digital communities and ecosystems, working through programmable agents under the owners control.

Evolution of Things

I just listened to this excellent podcast by Vinay Gupta about what he calls "smart property." Vinay released a book last year call The Future of Stuff that covers this topic in more detail.

The Future of Stuff by Vinay Gupta

Where and who do we want to be? How might we get there? What might happen if we stay on our current course? The Future of Stuff asks what kind of world will we live in when every item of property has a digital trace, when nothing can be lost and everything has a story. Will property and ownership become as fluid as film is today: summoned on demand, dismissed with a swipe? What will this mean for how we buy, rent, share and dispose of stuff? About what our stuff says about us? And how will this impact on us, on manufacturing and supply, and on the planet?

The idea is similar to what Bruce Sterling has called Spimes and what we've been building on top of picos for over a decade.

Smart property goes well beyond the internet of things and connected devices to imagine a world where every thing is not just online, but has a digital history and can interact with other smart things to accomplish whatever goals their owners desire. Things are members of communities and ecosystems, working through programmable agents.

A world of smart things is decentralized–it has to be. While Vinay talks of blockchains and smart contracts, I work on picos. Likely both, or some version of them, are necessary to achieve the end goal of a sustainable internet of things to replace the anemic, unsustainable CompuServe of Things we're being offered now.

Going Further

We've built a platform on top of picos for managing things called Manifold. This is a successor to SquareTag, if you've been following along. You can use Manifold to create spimes or digital twins for your things. Some of the built-in applications allow you to find lost stuff using QR code stickers or write notes about your things using a journaling app. You could build others since the application is meant to be programmable and extendable. I primarily use it as a personal inventory system.

Photo Credit: Spimes Not Things. Creating A Design Manifesto For A Sustainable Internet of Things from Michael Stead, Paul Coulton & Joseph Lindley (Fair Use)

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Last modified: Tue Aug 3 10:54:22 2021.