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Greenfield: The future - Weaving technology

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You know what I really got wrong? What I really absolutely did not see coming? And it was a failure of my imagination, was that it is not so much that computation is going to be everywhere and part of everything, it is not so much that the buildings are going to be instrumented or the surface of the street is going to be instrumented, as the network will be everywhere. And therefore you will have the ability to gather data and upload it to the network from just about everywhere, even if the environments themselves are not particularly heavy computationally intensive. So in Everyware, in the book, we talk about turning rooms into the site of computation, we talk about actually embedding processing devices into the environment. And for the most part that turned out not to be necessary of desirable. We wind up getting to the same place without taking that particular technological investment -the time, trouble and effort- associated with it.
As we move forward I really do think that the story is very much one of sub 30 Euro smart phone and smart phone equivalents, where there is truly ubiquitous network device that is physically co-located with just about every person in the city. And ís an instrument, is a sensor platform, is a mediator of their identity and their presence and their location, is their avatar facing a wide variety of network services. And I think that that is a reasonable safe guess to make and yet, if history is teaching me anything is that I have been wrong at least as often as I have been right, so I do not necessarily want to stake myself to that. It could be that there is something around the corner that we just have not seen yet. Nevertheless, I think that the immediate near term future is less about true innovation and more about consolidation, and a sense of coming to terms with the technologies that already exist. A sense of really getting past just the mere infatuation with the fact that something is technological possible and learning how to weave it into our existing practices and understandings of our lives and of urban space.

Added on 23 Apr 2017

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