What would you say if I told you the chair you’re sitting on is reporting back to the network? It might not be happening right now, but the way Adam Greenfield sees it that scenario might not be far away.
He points out that computer devices are becoming ever cheaper and easier to use and connect. If the pattern of history holds true we’ll soon be connecting all sorts of objects around us into a network.
Go to the Herald website to read the full article.
I really enjoyed what Adam had to say, but was also somewhat ashamed that he wrote his book about Ubiquitous Computing 4 years ago and I was not at all familiar with the topic.
The idea is that we’ve seen how computer chips and networks keep getting cheaper, smaller and easier to use. We’ve already reached a point where any one person probably engages with several ‘computerised’ devices every day — cellphones, washing machines, and so on.
It makes sense to think that soon chips will be cheap enough to start embedding them in everything, even if we don’t yet know what we’d do with them.
As I walked down the street to the interview I was trying to imagine what a world could be like where every street lamp, every building, every rubbish bin might have a chip in it, sending information to a network.
My imagination failed. I just couldn’t visualise it.
But then I picture people 100 years ago. Would they have been able to imagine today’s world, where everyone carries in their pocket the means to instantly talk to almost anyone on the planet, wherever they are?
I’m sure that would have seemed not only impossible, but also ludicrous and entirely pointless. Yet look how cellphones have changed the world we live in.
Greenfield’s ideas about a totally networked future are simultaneously exciting and scary. I’m still trying to even start thinking about what it might mean.
Adam Greenfield’s book Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing is available in print and also as a Kindle edition that’s actually available in New Zealand.