Computing Futures

Visions of the future are integral to our understanding of computing technologies. The central concern of this research is the inherent future orientation mobilised in technology Research and Development (R&D). Building on PhD research (Kinsley 2010) into the rationales of future thinking practised in technology R&D, this research investigates the practical ways of thinking about futures in ubiquitous computing R&D, and the communities of interest that form around them.

Ubiquitous computing is, broadly, the aspiration for computing to ‘disappear’ into the everyday environment. Ubiquitous computing is an important research topic because it brings together a wide range of technological areas brought together by a focus upon a vision of a (not-yet achieved) future, which continues to draw significant investment.

Through fieldwork in Silicon Valley (USA) this research investigates the practical underpinning of the self-perpetuating discourse of the future in ubiquitous computing.  The project seeks to identify the communities of practice that form in and between R&D institutions. The aim is to offer conclusions on the centrality of the imagining of particular futures to innovation in technology R&D. Further, the findings of this research will be fed into local knowledge exchange activities, building on the established partnership between the DCRC and the Pervasive Media Studio.