An excerpt from Bruce Sterling’s speech at SIGGRAPH 2004: “When Blobjects Rule the Earth”…
We are filling the atmosphere, and the seas, and the surface of the planet, and our own bodies, with our industrial emissions and our dead junk. In a world with 6.3 billion people, trending toward 10 billion, there is no “Away” left in which we can throw our dead objects. Our material culture is not sustainable. Its resources are not renewable. We cannot turn our entire planet’s crust into obsolete objects. We need to locate valuable objects that are dead, and fold them back into the product stream. In order to do this, we need to know where they are, and what happened to them. We need to document the life cycles of objects. We need to know where to take them when they are defunct.
In practice, this is going to mean tagging and historicizing everything. Once we tag many things, we will find that there is no good place to stop tagging.
Can’t argue with the diagnosis, but the prescription fills me with a dread borne of recent professional experience.