December 12, 2005

Je pense, donc je suis un lapin

The first French telecommunications innovation since the Minitel is a WiFi rabbit, mysteriously named Nabaztag. It can produce sounds, move its ears and turn internal colored lights on and off. Apparently an accompanying application informs you about incoming email, the weather and so on, and also allows you to send an audio message (called a nabcast) to others. There is "an API you can use to directly adjust your rabbit's parameters: lightshows, ear position, TTS, music", so it can be nabhacked to do more interesting nabthings.

Comments in the Francoblogosphere are mostly enthusiastic froth:

Il vous en faut absolument un pour Noël !!!
J'ai ! J'ai !! J'ai !!!
Bon, si on en a un jtenverrai un ptit signe d'oreille lol!

and so on.

However, the French education system being as it is, someone of course has brought up Descartes:

Alors attends, c'est pas fini, tu peux aussi parler dans le lapin : "Le nabcast est disponible".
En gros, tu crée un Nabcast et tu peux parler de tout ce qui t’intérresse à la communauté des propriétaires de lapin.

On est donc en présence d’un nouveau média physique qui s’enrichira de contenu auto produit tout comme le blog, qui est donc la représentation physique d’un blog.

Si le lapin est donc la représentation réelle d’un media virtuel, cela veut donc dire que grâce à lui je suis virtualisé dans la réalité. Je m’exprime à travers lui pour mes amis, ma présence réelle est donc virtualisée mais se représente dans le réel par un lapin, il faudrait donc changer Descartes, « je pense donc je suis un lapin »

But wait, there's more, you can talk in the rabbit: "The nabcast is available".
Basically, you create a Nabcast and you can talk about everything that interests you to the community of rabbit owners.

We are thus in the presence of a new physical media [sic] which will be enriched by autonomously-produced content, just like blogs, which is thus the physical representation of a blog.

If the rabbit is thus the real representation of a virtual media, that means that thanks to it I am virtualized in reality. I express myself through it for my friends, my real presence is thus virtualized but represents itself in reality by means of a rabbit, [so that] we must therefore change Descartes, "I think, therefore I am a rabbit".

I predict an epidemic of WiFi animals in cubicles and on shelves and tables around the world. And I need to ask, has the first piece of nabspam already been transmitted?

[Note that the company needs a bit of copy-editing help -- the current nabaztaland page explains that

Nabcast is available ! At last !
You can also speak through every rabbit! What are you waiting for? Create your own Nabcast!! So that you can spaek for the hole community.


Nabaztag Directory !
Yep! You're seaking another rabbit to speak to, use our directory. The only one!

I'm glad to see that they've got the folks from fafblog writing their ad copy, however. But if this were dystopian SF...]

Posted by Mark Liberman at December 12, 2005 07:46 AM