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Living animals are aware of their surroundings.  They know where they are and where the other living creatures around them are.  Living animals can communicate with each other, form and dissolve associations spontaneously.

In the next 30 years people are going to be surrounded by a lot more mobile electronic devices, and these devices are going to get a lot better at interacting with each other and with the non-mobile electronic devices around them.

I think the driving force behind this will not be how it lets the devices spontaneously interact with each other, but how it lets people, through their devices, interact with each other.

Again, the key to this collaboration, how each device knows what to let other devices do through it, is /MediatedTrust.

See also HowardReingold? and FlashMobs.

See also GPS? TreasureHunt?s
See also [ARG]
See also [Bruce Sterling on The Hyperlocal Future]
See also [Craig Mundie's Spatial Computing]
'The assistant, which takes the form of an avatar' fucking hell. They've managed to recreate programatically a god walking upon the Earth? 'Cause the alternative would be, well, given that an 'avatar' in computer-games-moron speak is the representation of a player in the game-world, that means that the assistant in the real world takes the form of... something which is the form of a player in a... digital world... no, that makes no sense, so it must be the god thing. Wow. Maybe singularity weenies aren't so mad. Or maybe it is in fact all bollocks. I know where my money is. --ChiarkPerson
All 'avatar' means now, is "Representation in the (game)world".  It's not hard to understand what they're saying.  (Though it is hard to see why it is useful.)  --Vitenka
But it's not a representation in any 'game' world, is it? It's an office assistant. What game world is it being represented in? As far as I can see what the sentence actually means is 'the assistant, which takes the form of a face'... but that would make it sound like the useless crap it is, not some kind of transcendent harbinger of some Windows-based apotheosis. --ChirakPerson??
Yes, it's naff and it's marketing.  But it's not an incomprehensible "They are talking about a god!" now, is it?  --Vitenka
I was trying to point out what bollocks it is in a vaguely amusing way. I could just have typed 'bollocks', but no, I made an effort. Is my effort appreciated? Obviously not, as usual. Fine. It's bollocks, and so is anything that uses the term 'cloud'. John Ketley, I'm looking at you.  --ChiarkPerson
Ok, that one was funny.  I agree that it doesn't seem to be much of an interesting thing (Connected home!  But this one runs windows!) but there are two useful ideas in it (albeit ones done before.)  First, that components know their physical proximity to other components (so they can pass user information around usefully, and thermostats can control heaters in their neighbourhood without having to be connected up manually) and second that the control system be given an avatar so it's "Just like talking to a person" (Which, uh, aint gonna happen any time, soon - though doubtless there will be many rigged demos to try and persuade people that it has.)  --Vitenka
Forums and many other places on the net use the word "avatar" to mean "an image representing a person or character". If you had to choose a bit of the article to attack, then the use of an established internet term may not be the best choice. --AlexChurchill
So 'The assistant, which takes the form of an image representing, presumably, the assistant'. So the assistant takes the form of something representing itself. So it takes the form of its form, si that what you're saying? It's a tautologous, lazy, meaningless puff sentence, and as such is representative of the entire article, the entire presentation, the entire concept and so is an entirely valid place to begin an attack because by attacking there I attack the whole. --ChiarkPerson
Yes, in this day and age "The completely abstract computer program takes on a humanlike image for people to interact with" is hardly revolutionary.  The rest of the stuff you said?  You're deliberately  being an idiot.  --Vitenka

See also: [Google's vision of the wireless future]
See also the [Flash Super Computer] (a flash mob to bring a load of bluetooth enabled laptops together to momentarily challenge the world's largest super computer, via a beowulf cluster).
See also: [The Internet of Things] - EU Vision Paper

There are problems with this mesh network idea.  One big one is how do you BootStrap it?  Until enough people have such smart interaction devices, there is no one for your smart devices to interact with - and they become useless.
Another is purpose.  Unless people can see a good reason to carry a device, they generally won't.  (EarlyAdopter? "ooh!  Flashy lights and BuzzWords?!" aside)  Selling to your average punter a device that can 'do anything' is damn hard until they know of a few definite anythings that they want it to do.  --Vitenka
The onus isn't on DouglasReay to answer these questions, though - just on any corporation in the next twenty years to do so.  I've always wondered how messaging systems which are no use unless both ends have them ever manage to take off - but given the telephone, email and ICQ / MSN?, it seems they do.  DR is just predicting that this will be another such.  And if you make the device both a communications system with others who have the same, and also able to do some useful things like (say) be a mobile phone or PDA, you've got your application.  We already have GPRS?-enabled MobilePhones becoming standard.  --AlexChurchill
Another is privacy and security.  Do you want your devices interacting with random people that you meet?  Ok, maybe you do if you trust them - but how do you find that out until you contact them?  Especially if they may not yet trust you?  Even the information of where you live in the trust web may be too much privacy to give away, if the system becomes important enough to everyday life.  ("Oh!  You're important to the AmiCog? we're fighting!  Guess I'll kidnap you now, then.")  --Vitenka
In terms of privacy I see the conversation going something along the lines of
 DEVICE A: Hi Everyone in range.  I speak the protocols SETINET, QUAKENET, WLANNET.
          Talk to me if you want.
DEVICE B: I'm interested in negotiating a WLANNET session.  Show me something I can trust.
DEVICE A: Here's a throw away ID I've just minted, signed by big trustworthy amicogs UKBANKS,
          UKISPS, EBAYSELLERS to certify that high rep but anonymous members of them back this
          temp id with credit up to rating X.  Good enough for ya?
DEVICE B: Sure, here's a secured java sandbox to let you use some of my CPU time.  I'll be micro
          paymenting you at 10 millcents per minute.  Sign here please.

Well, this is arriving fast.  Summary of current state from [The Economist]. - Summer 2009

[Mobiles offer new view of reality ] --BBC? 2009

2014 - [Google 3D viewer for smart phones]

2014 - Immersive theatre: [link], [link]

See also: /TheFuture /DistributedComputing /LivingApplications /KnowledgeStructures /MediatedTrust /SocialConsequences /AmiCog /ToothyCog

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