Words from Bruce Sterling

by Luke Wroblewski June 15, 2006

Ever since I caught Bruce Sterling’s keynote at SIGGRAPH 2004 outlining the impending impact of spimes, I’ve keeping up with many of his writings and talks. Here’s what I’ve heard from Bruce since.

“All objects are defined by the culture that nourished their development: products -the mechanical age, gizmos -the digital age. Spimes (our objects of the future) are no different as they represent the composite picture of our current networked information age.” -When Blobjects Rule the Earth

“Ordinary items are being embedded with rudimentary communications and tied to databases. The information associated with these items is becoming ever richer, more up-to-date, and more reflective of conditions on the ground.” -Dumbing Down Smart Objects

“An electronic identity code is the foundation for an “internet of things”. It can communicate identity not only at a product level, but at an object level as well. Not only can it store identity it can announce it.” -The Material Future

"A concise futurist manifesto about the technosocial transformation our objects bring upon us. If you are a digital product designer, read it." -Shaping Things

“Sterling takes us on a wild ride through the history of techno-culture and into a future shaped by an Internet of Things.” -The Internet of Things

“Thousands of people have had their PCs turned into spam zombies. A third of your spam comes from innocent people who can't secure their MSFT machine because it's impossible to do so!” -The State of the World

“This is a development, which in many ways is at the bottom of science. There are going to be new forms of science coming in off the network because there are new means of knowledge production and knowledge handling.” -Speech at Conjure

“The best way to have a really great idea is to have a thousand ideas. The guy who has the thousand ideas will be valorized for idea 837 and for idea 732, but those were never the ones he treasured.” -Bruce Sterling on media, design, fiction, and the future

“I think the best attitude for a serious futurist to have is not pessimism or optimism, but just a deep sense of engagement. It has to mean something to you.” -Massive Change Interview

“We very early got into the lasting bad habit of referring to computers as "thinking machines." I suspect this verbal metaphor seriously harmed technical development. Even the word "computing" sounds too much like human mathematical thinking.” -The Internet of Things

“Why do I—a science fiction writer—spend more and more time with designers? What does science fiction have in common with industrial design? As it turns out, quite a lot.” -Wonder, Fiction, and Design

“You guys on the other hand get to reinvent everything every time a new platform takes over the field. This is your advantage and your glory. This is also your curse. It's a terrible kind of curse really." -The Wonderful Power of Storytelling