Digital Ecologies and Everyday Life
As result of a pervasive technological convergence, everyday life now takes place in nested digital ecologies, which we share with various non-human actors. Networking and technologies are becoming so minuscule that they are embedded into the environment, as well as everyday objects. These ambient digital devices construct a set of interrelated digital artefacts that assist humans achieve their everyday tasks. This pervasive computing is called by multiple names, such as ‘disappearing computing, proactive computing, sentient computing, and ambient intelligence’.
Our everyday practices constitute the context within which we conduct our lives. They are the seemingly mundane and repetitive activities and routines that shape the flow of our individual and social lives in space and time. These acts and routines are repeated and reproduced in multiple ways on a daily basis. Through these practices, interfaces, digital artefacts, and technologies become normalized and naturalized, and are often rendered invisible or, at the very least, largely unquestioned.
Digital ecologies builds on the multidisciplinary intellectual tradition of McLuhan’s ‘media ecology’ (1964). In this perspective, media are seen ‘as environments and environments as media’. This approach is an encompassing analytical framework for grappling with interacting changes in technological, cultural, political, and social organizations.
The Digital Ecologies Research Group (DERG) explores ‘everyday life’ in digital ecologies. Within this frame, DERG encompasses three key research areas: digitalized everyday practices; invisible and ubiquitous computing and its myriad digitally enhanced routines; and, intelligent, user-friendly interfaces as part of digital ecologies.