A chip in everything: build me, share me

Or what about a chip in every Lego brick, or every nail?

Build me

You tell your AI what you’re building later, and it crawls your child’s Lego collection or your toolbox to collect the relevant pieces… and tells you what’s missing, and orders the missing piece.

Or you’re struggling to find a piece, or the right size screw, so you ask the Lego box / tool box where it is – and it tells you. Or you scan the heap of tiny pieces through augmented glass and see the ones you need outlined red in the display.

Share me

You finish your creation, photograph it, and share it with a friend – not just the photo, but an automatically generated instruction set that they can use to build it themselves (or it could self assemble), modifying it and sending it back to you.

And now you’re playing co-op Minecraft in the real world.

Rumination

Self-finding, self-assembling Lego seems like the worst kind of dumbing down – but what new types of play does it make possible? Which of the purest parts of playing Lego does it sully – and what does it emphasise and augment?

This is a small example of how technology acts as a lens that forces us to identify and and appraise our values. What we do with it is never neutral, rarely unambiguous, and always a choice – like most interesting problems.

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