The Amazon Echo as an anatomical map of human labor, data and planetary resources:
A cylinder sits in a room. It is impassive, smooth, simple and small. It stands 14.8cm high, with a single blue-green circular light that traces around its upper rim. It is silently attending. A woman walks into the room, carrying a sleeping child in her arms, and she addresses the cylinder.
We start with an outline: an exploded view of a planetary system across three stages of birth, life and death, accompanied by an essay in 21 parts. Together, this becomes an anatomical map of a single AI system.
Related (previously): a preliminary atlas of gizmo landscapes
(As an aside, rediscovering this article after more than nine years was more difficult than anticipated. I’m just glad it’s still available.)
Also related (previously): iPhone Deconstructed
(Which sadly appears to have vanished from the internet many years ago, thus the archive.org link.)
Also (kinda) related: Leonard E. Read’s 1958 essay I, Pencil, making the argument that no human knows enough to create something as seemingly simple as a pencil. (Disclaimer: I don’t fully buy into the Invisible Hand narrative, but I wouldn’t entirely dismiss it either.)