Our everyday life is increasingly permeated with digital objects that carry out smart and complex functions. The latest (but certainly not final) advancement of smart digital applications – is to be identified the creation of a field, at once conceptual and material, of things denominated smart objects (henceforth SOs). This technological evolution is so pervasive that it is referred to as smartification. Smart objects have some distinctive features including in particular varying degrees of agency, autonomy and authority There is no doubt that the SO category is extremely broad, various and intrinsically fuzzy, it is evident that the phenomenon is by no means easy to define: which objects are really smart and which are not? But above all: what do we mean in semio-linguistic, and not psychological nor merely phenomenological terms, when we attribute the qualifier smart to an artifact? What is clear is that a new, or at least different (and controversial) relationship is developing between objects and subjects, or rather between human beings and objects inhabiting the spaces of social action: that is, a new system of objects, to cite Baudrillard (1968), or a new “society of objects” (see Landowski, Marrone 2002). In this paper we will focus on a type of smart physical device designed to interact with its users in the domestic sphere, assisting them in a variety of tasks – such as for example Amazon Echo, capable of connecting to Alexa, an intelligent personal assistant based on machine learning, or the more recent Google Assistant. Our semiotic-oriented – or, more precisely, potentially socio-semiotic/ethno-semiotic – analysis will deal with these issues theoretically by concentrating on the problem of identity, which is anthropologically, but also and above all philosophically, sensitive. We shall look at the impact of technological devices on the perceptive/cognitive systems of human beings, starting with a reflection on the practices of interaction, signification and interpretation that also involve digital objects with a possible impact on everyday life.

Smart objects in daily life: Tackling the rise of new life forms in a semiotic perspective / Finocchi, Riccardo; Perri, Antonio; Peverini, Paolo. - In: SEMIOTICA. - ISSN 1613-3692. - 236/237(2020), pp. 141-166. [10.1515/sem-2019-0020]

Smart objects in daily life: Tackling the rise of new life forms in a semiotic perspective

Paolo Peverini
2020

Abstract

Our everyday life is increasingly permeated with digital objects that carry out smart and complex functions. The latest (but certainly not final) advancement of smart digital applications – is to be identified the creation of a field, at once conceptual and material, of things denominated smart objects (henceforth SOs). This technological evolution is so pervasive that it is referred to as smartification. Smart objects have some distinctive features including in particular varying degrees of agency, autonomy and authority There is no doubt that the SO category is extremely broad, various and intrinsically fuzzy, it is evident that the phenomenon is by no means easy to define: which objects are really smart and which are not? But above all: what do we mean in semio-linguistic, and not psychological nor merely phenomenological terms, when we attribute the qualifier smart to an artifact? What is clear is that a new, or at least different (and controversial) relationship is developing between objects and subjects, or rather between human beings and objects inhabiting the spaces of social action: that is, a new system of objects, to cite Baudrillard (1968), or a new “society of objects” (see Landowski, Marrone 2002). In this paper we will focus on a type of smart physical device designed to interact with its users in the domestic sphere, assisting them in a variety of tasks – such as for example Amazon Echo, capable of connecting to Alexa, an intelligent personal assistant based on machine learning, or the more recent Google Assistant. Our semiotic-oriented – or, more precisely, potentially socio-semiotic/ethno-semiotic – analysis will deal with these issues theoretically by concentrating on the problem of identity, which is anthropologically, but also and above all philosophically, sensitive. We shall look at the impact of technological devices on the perceptive/cognitive systems of human beings, starting with a reflection on the practices of interaction, signification and interpretation that also involve digital objects with a possible impact on everyday life.
smart objects; forms of life; intentionality; agentivity; assemblage
Smart objects in daily life: Tackling the rise of new life forms in a semiotic perspective / Finocchi, Riccardo; Perri, Antonio; Peverini, Paolo. - In: SEMIOTICA. - ISSN 1613-3692. - 236/237(2020), pp. 141-166. [10.1515/sem-2019-0020]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11385/198295
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