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Title:The internet of ontological things: On symmetries between ubiquitous problems and their computational solutions in the age of smart objects
Author(s):Ahn, Sungyong
Director of Research:Hay, James
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hay, James
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Christians, Clifford; Byrd, Jodi; Darch, Peter
Department / Program:Inst of Communications Rsch
Discipline:Communications and Media
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):The Internet of Things
Ubiquitous Computing
Speculative Realism
Object-Oriented Ontology
Abstract:This dissertation is about an abstract form of computer network that has recently earned a new physical incarnation called “the Internet of Things.” It surveys the ontological transformations that have occurred over recent decades to the computational components of this network, objects—initially designed as abstract algorithmic agents in a source code of computer programming but now transplanted into real-world objects. Embodying the ideal of modularity, objects have provided computer programmers with more intuitive means to construct a software application with lots of simple and reusable functional building blocks. Their capability of being reassembled into many different networks for a variety of applications has also embodied another ideal of computing machines, namely general-purposiveness. In the algorithmic cultures of the past century, these objects existed as mere abstractions to help humans to understand electromagnetic signals that had infiltrated every corner of automatized spaces from private to public. As an instrumental means to domesticate these elusive signals into programmable architectures according to the goals imposed by professional programmers and amateur end-users, objects promised a universal language for any computable human activities. This utopian vision for the object-oriented domestication of the digital has had enough traction for the growth of the software industry as it has provided an alibi to hide another process of colonization occurring on the flipside of their interfacing between humans and machines: making programmable the highest number of online and offline human activities possible. A more recent media age, which this dissertation calls the age of the Internet of Things, refers to the second phase of this colonization of human cultures by the algorithmic objects, no longer trapped in the hard-wired circuit boards of personal computer, but now residing in real-life objects with new wireless communicability. Chapters of this dissertation examine each different computer application—a navigation system in a smart car, smart home, open-world video games, and neuro-prosthetics—as each particular case of this object-oriented redefinition of human cultures.
Issue Date:2020-05-08
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Sungyong Ahn
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-08-26
Date Deposited:2020-05

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