Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Smart phones, smart homes, Smart World

I read an interesting article from the Economist, written by Ludwig Siegele titled Smart World. The article and accompanying videos are thought provoking (and not what I expected from a magazine called the economist - a major thumbs up guys!).

The article starts out explaining how we basically live in two worlds, the day to day "real world" and the digital one. But that is starting to change, the digital world is starting to map the real world. Today's new smart phones are packed with a variety of sensors. The apps and users share all sorts of information. And with technology jumping in leaps and bounds we're only going to get more (more power, friendlier devices, more information gathering capabilities). Today's smart phones, computer networks, cloud computing, traffic cameras, facial recognition and a whole lot of data mining capabilities has lead to a whole lot of the real world leaking into the digital world. With virtualization the real world now exists in the digital world.

The naive, innocent side of me sees the benefits of such computing power to science, health, the enviroment and the really cool services we'd be able to get our hands on (imagine a Beowolf cluster of those, oh yeah that is a Beowolf cluster ;-) ). Benefit: If the US (that's me) were to increase the effiency of our power grid by 5% it would be equivalent to removing the emissions of 53M cars (from the article). The pragmatist in me sees the business uses and further nickel and diming me to death to use these services. Note to Businesses: Yes I know you need to make a profit to bring these services to reality. But I'm not a cash cow, stop nickel and diming me for services that aught to be part of service I purchased. Now, the paranoid side of sees the potential for abuse on a world wide scale by abusive goverments and organized crime.

From where I sit this is the path we've set ourselves on, for better or worse. But I'm left wondering if what I'm doing (home automation/Smart Home Technology) is a really good idea that can help us to save the planet or just another way for us to hand out more information about ourselves so others can make money off of us?


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