Seamless and Ubiquitous Technological Intelligence
Posted by Chris Tithof
Driving to work, you lean back in your seat as your car speeds along the highway to your job. You open your mobile device to read the morning news and check out the latest football scores.
Reaching over, you grab a hot cup of coffee that has just brewed right next to you. Your smartphone emits a beep: Your daughter is calling to make sure you will be able to attend her recital later that evening. You assure her you will be there on time and wish her luck.
Hanging up, you speak into the sleeve of your suit coat. Embedded in the fabric is a sound sensor that records anything you want with a simple vocal cue. The sensor will send a reminder to your calendar, telling you to leave early from work in order to make it to the recital with time to spare.
Arriving at work, your automobile turns efficiently into a parking garage, climbs five stories to the executive entrance, stops and the door opens. You gather your things, step out of the vehicle and enter the office building. The car door shuts, and the vehicle speeds away to pick up its next passenger.
These are not the opening scenes of the latest Hollywood blockbuster set in a faraway future -- a future where you do not have to even put your hands on the wheel of your car and you can leave messages for yourself by talking to the sleeves of your clothing.
Actually, these developments are happening right now. They have not yet permeated your everyday life, but it may not be long before you can take a driverless car to work. And high technology will soon be woven right into your clothing.
In effect, technological intelligence is becoming seamless and ubiquitous. It was not long ago that these kinds of advances would be considered to be the products of a world 100 years in the future.
But technology is moving at a breakneck pace. Soon you may be able to order products from online vendors and have them delivered by a high-speed drone to your front door within minutes.
The velocity and volume of change spearheaded by new networking technologies is dizzying. The Internet is moving from something you access on your computer or mobile device to a ubiquitous network embedded everywhere: in your clothing, appliances, entertainment centers, even your skin. New computer frameworks like Docker and Node.js allow developers to build new Web applications at lightning speed.
Soon all of these growing networks will meld into a huge global mesh of computing intelligence. The impact on our knowledge, commerce, agriculture, ecology, arts and education will be far-reaching and monumental.
All of these rapid changes are creating new questions that we as humans must consider. Will technology really change our lives for the better? Will advances in computing technology free us up to focus our attention on many of the challenges that our world faces?
In essence, we are at the dawn of the fourth industrial revolution. Society as we know it will change forever -- we will enter into completely new ways on how our communities are structured, how our work life is organized and how our recreational time is shaped. It is a time of tremendous opportunity, and immense responsibility.
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