Monday, March 16, 2009

The Invisible Web + Ubiquitous Computing: Anywhere, Anytime, Anything

Surrounded by a ubiquitous network that senses your every move might make you think about Minority Report or one of the other handful of of sci-fi dystopias where sensors allow someone else to know more about your presence than you (see here for prior post). 

In fact, Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon was an early look a the power of a ubiquitous sensor to control the mindset of those being monitored. In this session, Moorhead and Polinchock of Razorfish + Brand Experience Lab present a view on the implications of the network extending beyond the devices connected to it...the inevitable future of Ubicomp (Ubiquitous Computing).

Begin with two videos:

Microsoft concept video on the world of ubiquitous computing (here). [What strikes me is the direct manipulation interfaces...hand gestures used to move objects on transparent much as the ubqituity of computing embedded in everyday tasks]

TED Video of embedded computing devices demonstration from MIT Media Lab. The devices are worn on clothes and appendages.  [In some ways, reminds me of the heads up display from Terminator...Again, natural gestures used for intereaction are the idea that stands out, using any surface to interact with the data].

Key Takeaways:
The screen disappears....device become dumb in the sense that it takes on the functionality that the network imposes on it a phone? A computer? A watch? Yes.

Factors driving the ubicomp future:
  • Falling cost of tech
  • Speed of wireless networks
  • Availabiltiy of services
  • Compartmentalization of data
What is the ubicomp future?
  • An internet of things
  • Digital infused in everything
  • Its persistent, intuitive, intelligent
  • Cloud powered (the info resides somewhere else)
  • Network knows you and learns you
  • Opposite of virtual reality
The Future is Now, its just unevenly distributed...Examples:
  • Refrigerator that monitors the age of goods and alerts to spoilage. [this has been around since accenture's concept video 'Claire' back in 1994]
  • Store One prototype from Radio Shack highlighting technology in it's native home context.
  • Newsongdo Korea...(here) a city designed to embed computing throughout the citizens lives
  • TiVo...intuitive and intelligent about learning your preferences and enabling use
  • OnStar...a cloud-powered system that can save your life--or recommend a restaurant based on your location.
  • Pandora music service or Genius on iTunesLearn about your preferences and identify you. Green buildings that identify you and adjust lighting to your preferences (Bill Gate's house).

Federated identity...the need to have AN identity (versus being required to have a new identity entered each time). Able to setup a global set of preferences, better security, no more passwords. The downside is that when you have an identity that is ubiquitous, then you may lose your identity...if your identity gets hacked, it can destroy you across a whole host of contexts...system errors ripple to a larger degree.

Never get like loopt and dodgeball, wi-fitti inmpose a digital layer on the real world.  New ways to explore, completely contextual information and safety and security could be improved. The downside is that someone can always know where you are.

Personal/Impersonal...Highly personal expereinces requiring low effort. Removes didigtal life management issues (multiple logins, personalities, preferences managed homogenously). DOwnside sis who owns the personal preference data? Is it always on or can you change the networks status by toggling off the network (which leaves a trail itself).

Digital object that performs many functions ( a pay for what functions you want it to provide). Everything is connected easily. The downside is that if the network fails, everything fails. In addition, it creates another opportunity for expanding the digital haves from the digital havenots (aka The Digital Divide).

The Big Challenge...

Work now to ensure that ubicomp challenges to privacy, ethics, and constitutional rights are protected. [The law of unintended consequences]. These choices have to be made now. Participating in the design is required or someone else will do it and we'll all ahve to live with it.

More SXSW on Technorati at link below...

1 comment:

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