Trillions: Thriving in the Emerging Information Ecology

Trillions: Thriving in the Emerging Information Ecology

Peter Lucas, Joe Ballay, Mickey McManus

Language: English

Pages: 252

ISBN: 1118176073

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.

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York: Perseus Books, 1997), 13. page 84 Pando: Michael C. Grant, “The Trembling Giant,” Discover Magazine 14, no. 10 (October 1993): 82–89, Accessed November 14, 2011. page 84 Experiments that employed a rototiller: “Quaking Aspen,” National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Accessed November 14, 2011. page 84 mycorrhizal network: B. Wang and Y. L. Qiu. “Phylogenetic

a trillion sensors and transducers with the ground-truth of the real world. The promise of such interactions is not just about computing as such, but about the blending of the digital and physical world into one seamless whole. Cyberspace becomes much more compelling when it reflects, informs, and is informed by the real world. The rest of this book is in essence an exploration of the prospect and problems of this process. 1 The word designer is used to label practitioners of activities that

of this page is the “story”—made up of headlines, text, pictures and video. There are dozens of them—their headlines immediately available for human browsing, their contents available at a click. Across the top, there are numerous “tabs”—stylized buttons that allow one to change focus to other sets of stories, topically grouped. Each “story box” is carefully rendered to look like a “thing”—separate from all the other things on the page. It is almost as if users could “clip” the stories that

extent a Platonic view of reality. It is a view that is out of fashion in many circles. But we have never been able to understand the alternative. It seems obvious to us that patterns of possibility exist implicitly in the laws of nature, whether we apprehend them or not. Can it really be said that the pattern representing, say, an overhand knot did not exist until some protohuman tied the first one?1 We think not. And if not, can we really say that the overhand knot was “invented” rather than

is obvious. The goal was not actual commercialization, but to provide a concrete product context that would require us to do some deep work about the Architecture of user interfaces at the intersection of information and atoms—to understand and describe data types (continuous, discrete, binary, etc.), decision sequences (to save, or autosave?), kinesthetic principles (point, push, slide, twist, etc.)—all the actions and feedback elements of user interfaces that we commonly encounter in a

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