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December 19, 2011

Beyond E-Mail, Social Media and Buying: So what happens if The Net follows you around and becomes your new bud?

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If sensors are everywhere, what result? Advances in digital technology are not only more proof of what teams of inspired humans can do. They are a tribute to the human spirit itself. And our new digital world promises to grow bigger, more layered--and more encompassing. But what happens down the road to that "spirit", the seemingly eternal spark in each of us, if the Internet can now recognize our faces, pick up on our emotions, regulate the temperatures in our homes and offices, record our movements and habits, remind us to do important things and otherwise becomes a new entity with which we'll daily "speak".

Will humans need each other less and less? Or will the Net free us up to make our interactions and relationships with each other deeper, better and more satisfying? I get that my relationship with the Internet and its sensors is about to become more nuanced and richer, but what about mine with you? Whether you're a Luddite or Embracer of All Technologies, ask yourself these questions. But first read "The Internet Gets Physical", a fine snapshot of where we probably are by Steve Lohr in Sunday morning's New York Times. Excerpt:

[T]he protean Internet technologies of computing and communications are rapidly spreading beyond the lucrative consumer bailiwick. Low-cost sensors, clever software and advancing computer firepower are opening the door to new uses in energy conservation, transportation, health care and food distribution. The consumer Internet can be seen as the warm-up act for these technologies.

The concept has been around for years, sometimes called the Internet of Things or the Industrial Internet. Yet it takes time for the economics and engineering to catch up with the predictions. And that moment is upon us.

“We’re going to put the digital ‘smarts’ into everything,” said Edward D. Lazowska, a computer scientist at the University of Washington. These abundant smart devices, Dr. Lazowska added, will “interact intelligently with people and with the physical world.”

Posted by JD Hull at December 19, 2011 12:46 PM

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