(Humor) Metric System to Be Customized for U.S. Market

Conceptual Artist Offers Consumers Personalized Kilogram, Watt, Calorie… Mass customization as major victory for democracy in the 21st century

Well, I never thought that mass customization may graduate into a form of performance art, but this is exactly what happened with the following article published by PR Newswire, a huge network distributing press releases. Have a look … this is really cool (but do not take it too seriously).

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 28 /PRNewswire/ — Following several years of highly- secretive privately-funded research, conceptual artist Jonathon Keats announces comprehensive improvements to the metric system, anticipated finally to make the meter a viable unit of measure in the United States. The system will be introduced to the public at Modernism Gallery, in San Francisco, on October 27, 2005. Mr. Keats will be available to provide expert calibration.

„The metric system was developed in the 18th Century as an alternative to measurements based on the dimensions of kings‘ fingers and feet,“ explains Mr. Keats. „It was a decisive break from monarchy, but it wasn’t decisive enough.“ The trouble is that one totalitarian system was replaced with another. „We did away with Louis XVI and Henry VIII, only to chain all measures, of everything in the universe, to the circumference of the Earth.“

More specifically, the standard meter is 1/10,000,000 of the quarter- meridian, redefined by the Conference Generale des Poids et Mesures (CGPM) in 1983 as the distance traveled by light in 1/299,792,458 of a second. What Mr. Keats has proposed is an approach as rigorously mathematical as the metric system, that will prioritize the individual rather than the planet. His modification is simple, yet the consequences are profound: Instead of using the earth’s spin as the basis of time, he’s elected to use people’s heartbeat.

[…] Mr. Keats’s system makes everyone’s clock personal. Because his own heart beats 1.1 times faster than the terrestrial second, for example, his day is a mere 21.816 terrestrial hours long, and his year is nearly 33 days shorter than you’d see on a calendar (except in leap year). From that, it’s a straightforward calculation to derive the length of a personal meter, the distance traveled by light in 1/299,792,458 of a heartbeat.

[…] “In this day and age, everyone has an iPod, and most people have TiVo,“ Mr. Keats argues. „Mass-customization is the cutting edge of democracy. By taking this personal approach to measurements — to standards of time and space and energy and power — we can each become completely autonomous.“ […]

Read the full press release here: http://www.prnewswire.com. See also here for an invitation to participate at this event on Oct 27, 2005.

By | 2018-05-07T15:35:13+00:00 Oktober 2nd, 2005|General, MC & Art|

About the Author:

Frank T. Piller is a Co-Director of the MIT Smart Customization Group at the MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, and a chair professor of management at the Technology & Innovation Management Group of RWTH Aachen University, Germany, one of Europe’s leading institutes of technology. Before entering his recent position in Aachen, he worked at the MIT Sloan School of Management (2004-2007) and has been an associate professor of management at TUM Business School, Technische Universitaet Muenchen. Frequently quoted in The New York Times, The Economist, and Business Week, amongst others, Frank is regarded as one of the leading experts on strategies for customer-centric value creation, like mass customization, personalization, and innovation co-creation. His recent analysis of the crowdsourcing business model “Threadless” (co-authored with Susumu Ogawa), an innovative crowdsourcing business model in the fashion industry, has been elected as one of the Top-20 articles in MIT Sloan Management Review.