Russell Davies – There’s A Walrus In My Fridge And It Won’t Shut Up
Russell Davies, Government Digital Service
Twittering plants? A plastic parrot informing you about traffic jams? In his keynote speech at NEXT Berlin 2012, Russell Davies humorously and cleverly illustrates his idea of what will be next: the network of things, which will irrevocably change the way we use technologies and the purposes we use it for. Davies’ post-digital world is a “making world” in which people use networked things to produce analog objects – personalised and on demand.
His presentation is rich in examples of networked objects. They may not be pretty, but their oddness is interesting and funny, sometimes even hilarious. Teddy bears with wifi. A walrus in your fridge. “Obviously it’s stupid and trivial, but is magical and odd, and you do find yourself talking to it,” Davies observes.
Some of his examples may even seem useless, but the development of networked objects and their integration in our lives is only at the beginning. Interestingly, this process does not take place in large companies, but rather in places you wouldn’t have thought of, e.g. a small pizzeria in Dubai enabling you to order a pizza by pushing a bluetooth button on your fridge.
Davies does not believe in future scenarios showing a world of “beautiful people doing trivial things really effectively” by using technology. His idea of what will be next can be compared to the geocities of the late ‘90s: personalised, charming and a bit messy. In his opinion, networked gadgets do not have to be highly developed Articial Intelligences, as games and movies try to make us believe. It is enough if they are “smart as a puppy”, Davies states. That way we will be able to adapt to them and they will enrich our lives.