I’ve just finished watching (via a RWW link) a video featuring David Orban titled “Free to be Human” in which he talks about Spimes – the name given to objects that can be tracked through space and time throughout the lifetime of the object. Orban explains how he sees such objects as ushering in a new paradigm of computing use as part of the Network of things, the fast approaching time when we’ll have more ‘things’ connected on the internet than people.
The slideshow from the presentation is embedded here:
I referred to the network of things in my talk at the recent TUANZ event in Wellington, surmising how this might impact in education. In my keynote at the ULearn conference last year I showed part of a clip from a TED presentation showing illustrating siftables, tiny computer blocks that interact with each other to make networks (and music), as an example of the use of spimes in education.
In his talk, Orban suggests that we may be in the last era when objects rely on humans to function – noting the progression from mainframes, to personal computers, to mobile phones – all assuming human use to make them function. He points out that modern mobile phones are already communicating with the cell towers around us as we drive around, without any reference to us at all, and that our modern cars already have between 50-100 sensors in them that are communicating and ‘making decisions’ quite independently of human intervention.
What particularly interested me about Orban’s address is the optimism he expresses towards the end about how such technological development might hold a hope for us as a civilization, that through the process of what Orban calls “planetary co-evolution”, we might become free to become human again, to be able to think and operate independently of our machines.
Certainly challenging food for thought so early in the morning, but a fascinating insight into what might lie in our (not too distant) future. Certainly the signs are there that the internet of things is evolving around us already. Whether it will enable us to achieve Orban’s dream of planetary co-evolution remains to be seen.