Elevators as media objects manipulating information in time

Mika Petri Laakkonen, Ville Kivivirta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


We investigate elevators as media. Our central argument is that elevators manipulate information in time. Time manipulation of elevators (movement data + genetic algorithms) produces temporal order. Elevators have become media objects because they produce data that are digitally manipulated to optimize movement. We conducted an empirical study in a multinational corporation that manufactures elevators, including 4 months of field research at multiple locations and interviewed 64 people. We show how time manipulation changes with the information architecture: first, time manipulation took place inside and during the movement of elevators by pushing the buttons. Second, time manipulation took place in the cloud by statistical mathematics. The latest development is toward decentralized social application where elevators as independent media objects manipulate time using genetic algorithms and communicate with each other. We reveal how largely hidden media affects our temporality and argue that media theory should study its implications in contemporary society.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Media and Society
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jan 2022
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • AI
  • elevators
  • ICT
  • media objects
  • media theory
  • time manipulation

Field of science

  • Computer and information sciences


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