This is a great read. Heather Wiltse introduces the concept of “fluid assemblages” to describe things that, “[d]ue to networked connectivity, […] can be active and responsive, dynamically configuring themselves to particular users and contexts and pulling together networked resources to assemble themselves on the fly”. In other words: artifacts of interaction design are no longer just “things”, but have some form of fluid state that makes them very complex to conceptualize.
Looking at the role of these in today’s world, the author inevitable arrives at the topic of platform capitalism (highlight in the original text, and rightfully so!).
If human experience and more general reality is the resource that is mined as a data-fied resource and used to produce audiences, behavioral futures markets, and means of influencing behavior as products, then it is data science and analytics that is mediating these new basic relations of production and consumption. Interaction design now designs only the mining tools.
The text then goes on to discuss the role of design, and responsibilities of the designer in this context:
[…] in terms of grappling with the artificial world and finding its more enlightened and diverse life-affirming possibilities, design in the truest sense is needed now more than ever.