Wednesday, June 20, 2012

should stephenson put the clang pipe down and get back to writing about FRANK?

CNN | I know where to find the future. It will show up, I predict, on Tuesday at London's Westminster Central Hall. Don't blink. It will arrive in the shape of Le Web, Europe's illustrious two-day Internet conference which, this year, is focusing on next-generation digital products that are "faster than realtime."

Faster than realtime?

"It's when the server brings you a beer before you ask for it because she already knows what you drink!"

That's at least what "faster than realtime" means to Robert Scoble, Silicon Valley's most ubiquitous observer of the digital future who, inevitably enough, will be speaking at Le Web.

In Scoble's future, the computer "server" and the "server" in the bar will be indistinguishable. And they will both know what you want to drink before you know it yourself.

Loic Le Meur, the Silicon Valley based Franco-American impresario who founded Le Web and is the architect of the "faster than realtime" theme of tomorrow's conference, shares Scoble's faith in the internet's uncannily predictive power.

How our mobiles became Frankenstein's monster

"We've arrived in the future," Le Meur told me. Online apps are getting to know us so intimately, he explained, that we can know things before they happen. To illustrate his point, Le Meur told me about his use of Highlight, a social location app which offers illuminating data about nearby people who have signed up for the network like -- you guessed it -- the digitally omniscient Robert Scoble.

Highlight enabled Le Meur to literally know the future before it happened because, he says, it is measuring our location all of the time. "I opened the door before he was there because I knew he was coming," Le Meur told me excitedly about a recent meeting that he had in the real world with Scoble.

Paul Davison, the CEO of Highlight who will be speaking at Le Web, agrees with Le Meur about how "faster than realtime" is revolutionizing not only the internet but the very nature of life itself in the digital 21st century. "We're entering a very special time in history, where smartphones and mobile sensors will allow us to see things that we've never been able to see before," Davison told me. "It's really exciting." Fist tap Arnach.


ProfGeo said...

I will take that order except for that suspect slice of cheese food... :-) Thanks for mentioning Scoble and Le Web. I don't follow Scoble directly across the media because his posting volume (like the rent?) is too damn high. Mentions of him seem to give me about the right dosage week to week though.

Anyway, tell me you don't like the interactive graphic here:

...Disease is always generated, experienced, defined, and ameliorated within a social world. Patients need notions of disease that explicate their suffering. Doctors need theories of etiology and pathophysiology that account for the burden of disease and inform therapeutic practice. Policymakers need realistic understandings of determinants of disease and medicine's impact in order to design systems that foster health. The history of disease offers crucial insights into the intersections of these interests and the ways they can inform medical practice and health policy...

CNu said...

Love the graphic, thanks for sharing. Makes me wonder and want to immediately consult JOSS to know whether and to what extent "scientific social structure" is being used to track and understand disease etiology. One presumes that the still primitive state of the longitudinal electronic medical record, the abyssmal Haitian levels of IT investment in healthcare, and the draconian beauracratic nonsense that is HIPAA have all conspired to hamstring what could otherwise be a remarkably useful application of these technologies.

Tom said...

ProfGeo something's wrong. Given where our spending is going, terrorism should be up at the top of the mortality charts!

ProfGeo said...

Up to a couple of years ago, a class I taught had a small component on technology, ethics and the use of information. I would send students to the journals and occasionally one or two would be interested in info sharing in healthcare. Whether they were interested in the local (doctors being able to access medical info they needed) or the global (societal decisions) it was pretty disappointing, as you describe here. Now these were undergrads with a time limit, but even so we could tell they were hitting dead ends.