Over a decade ago professor of computer science at Yale University and chief scientist at Mirror Worlds Technologies, David Gelernter, put forward the concept of living in two worlds — the real one and its digital reflection.
From the back cover of his book Mirror Worlds (1991):
Imagine looking at your computer screen and seeing reality — an image of your city, for instance, complete with moving traffic patterns, or a picture that sketches the state of an entire far-flung corporation at this second. These representations are called Mirror Worlds, and according to Gelernter they will soon be available to everyone. Mirror Worlds are high-tech voodoo dolls: by interacting with the images, you interact with reality. Indeed, Mirror Worlds will revolutionize the use of computers, transforming them from (mere) handy tools to crystal balls which will allow us to see the world more vividly and see into it more deeply. Reality will be replaced gradually, piece-by-piece, by a software imitation; we will live inside the imitation; and the surprising thing is–this will be a great humanistic advance.
Living in a “mirror world” seemed like science fiction back then, and may still sound like science fiction today. But not so much when you consider the many uses of your smartphone and all of the “apps” that you download to enhance existing functionality. Think about what you can now do on your smartphone that you couldn’t do just 10 short years ago.
Smartphones have been speeding up the convergence of the physical world with the digital world and every year you’re presented with an upgraded version of a smartphone that has more processing power, better connectivity, longer battery life (you hope!), and many more apps to download. We’re always looking for “the next big thing” in technology.
Many Information Technology (IT) companies believe that “smart systems” will be that next big thing. Their prediction may be spot on.
Earlier this week it was announced that, for the first time in 16 years, there’s been a major change to HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol). HTTP is the foundation of data communication for the World Wide Web. HTTP/2 is now finished and coming to browsers within weeks. All the better for smart systems.
To borrow a phrase spoken by Vice President Joe Biden during a signing ceremony, in regards to the Web, HTTP/2 really is “a big ****ing deal.”
HTTP/2 brings many benefits to one of the Web’s core technologies: Faster page loads, longer-lived connections, and significantly fewer connections which should result in lower loads for servers and networks. Of course, no one knows how long it’s going to take for browsers to update, or how many upgrades you’ll need to go through.
The Internet of Things
The “Internet of things” (IoT) is a concept that impacts how we work and how we live. This concept is far more complex than can be explained in one simple blog post, and I would like to keep this post under a million words.
As the cost of Broadband Internet comes down more devices are being created with wifi (and by the way “wifi” or “Wi-Fi” is not an acronym for anything) capabilities and censors built into them and more hotspots are cropping up. The usage of mobile devices have exceeded PC usage to access the Internet.
Any device with an on and off switch to the Internet, and/or to each other, is the “Internet of things.” This includes everything from your computer to your smartphone to wearable devices and your new car. Anything with an on/off switch period has the potential of becoming part of the IoT, such as components of household machines, jet engines and oil drillers.
This visual depicts the concept of living in a Smart World. While there are many benefits to having so many devices connected to each other, there will surely be a downside.
The IoT allows for “virtually” endless opportunities to improve our lives, and improve efficiency; such as energy use, traffic congestion, water quality, and reduce waste.
But the question is: Would you WANT to live in a Smart World where everything is connected to everything else?
Our spirituality (and I’m not referring to “religion”) has not kept pace with our technology. Can we, as a society, handle living in a Smart World?
Given the increased amount of hacks into large corporations, governments, and the financial industry, will the “next big war” be a cyberwar?
They who controls the Internet controls the world?