Trillions: Thriving in the Emerging Information Ecology
Peter Lucas, Joe Ballay, Mickey McManus
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
We are facing a future of unbounded complexity. Whether that complexity is harnessed to build a world that is safe, pleasant, humane and profitable, or whether it causes us to careen off a cliff into an abyss of mind-numbing junk is an open question. The challenges and opportunities--technical, business, and human--that this technological sea change will bring are without precedent. Entire industries will be born and others will be laid to ruin as our society navigates this journey.
There are already many more computing devices in the world than there are people. In a few more years, their number will climb into the trillions. We put microprocessors into nearly every significant thing that we manufacture, and the cost of routine computing and storage is rapidly becoming negligible. We have literally permeated our world with computation. But more significant than mere numbers is the fact we are quickly figuring out how to make those processors communicate with each other, and with us. We are about to be faced, not with a trillion isolated devices, but with a trillion-node network: a network whose scale and complexity will dwarf that of today’s Internet. And, unlike the Internet, this will be a network not of computation that we use, but of computation that we live in.
Written by the leaders of one of America’s leading pervasive computing design firms, this book gives a no-holds-barred insiders’ account of both the promise and the risks of the age of Trillions. It is also a cautionary tale of the head-in-the-sand attitude with which many of today’s thought-leaders are at present approaching these issues. Trillions is a field guide to the future--designed to help businesses and their customers prepare to prosper, in the information.
aspiring to be the “last application.” That is to say, it aspires to be The Platform of the Future. This is all well and good. The problem is, the web browser is not a very good platform. For starters, it is incredibly impoverished as a UI environment. One of the most important innovations of the GUI revolution was the idea of direct manipulation: that we represent data objects as almost-physical “things” in almost-real “places.” Yes, the “places” are unfortunately behind an inconvenient piece
inventions of the last century and a half was not merely a long internal development of technics: There was also a change of mind. —LEWIS MUMFORD There is a point of view—generally called “technological determinism”—that essentially says that each technological breakthrough inexorably leads to the next. Once we have light bulbs, we will inevitably stumble upon vacuum tubes. When we see what they can do, we will rapidly be led to transistors, and integrated circuits and microprocessors will not
would be a very long road, strewn with errors and false starts, toward anything like an ecology of information devices. Workscape, an early MAYA project for Digital Equipment Corporation, was a fresh reconsideration of the paperless office concept. In order to have any chance of plowing new ground, we knew we would have to base the problem definition and subsequent design recommendations on something more than personal or local assumptions about what real people would want and need to work
locations on the earth’s surface. Indeed, there is an embarrassment of riches in this regard: The novice soon discovers that referencing a spot on the earth is no simple matter of latitude and longitude. Various geographic, geodetic, and geocentric coordinate systems are in common use—each optimized for a different purpose. Although practice in this area can be extremely complex, it is for the most part well defined, with precise—if not always simple—mathematics defining the relations involved.
issues to bandwidth and security policies, will guarantee that only a small subset of the aggregate data space will be immediately available to any given device at any given time. The sea of data will be far from homogenous. Natural patterns of human and machine interaction, as well as deliberate data replication, will create currents and eddies of data flow within the larger sea. Thus, devices will find themselves at any given time in this context of the third kind, and awareness of that