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Breakneck Growth: A More Certain, But Less Private Future?

 
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RobBrady
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 2:36 pm    Post subject: Breakneck Growth: A More Certain, But Less Private Future? Reply with quote

The Consumer Electronics Association have today announced a projected 30% growth in GPS/LBS related holiday sales this season.

With GPS devices sold worldwide predicted to at least triple over the next 3 years, Location Based Services (LBS), coupled with semantic technology, are on the first leg of what I strongly believe will be an exceptional journey that will bring about a culturally profound impact and educational changes undreamed of a generation ago.

SemantiNet, a pioneer in the development of semantic technology, announced yesterday that its headup semantic Web plugin now supports the new Fire Eagle and BOSS (Build your Own Search Service) technologies from Yahoo!. Fire Eagle, a Yahoo! owned service, acts as a ‘clearinghouse’ for a user’s physical location information. After first obtaining the user's permission, other services and applications can update or access this information via the Fire Eagle API.

headup (currently only available for beta test) is a new plugin for the Firefox web browser that enables true semantic capabilities for the first time within any Web page. Its semantic engine retrieves specific real-time information of interest to individual users. It can then contextually ‘understand’ how dispersed data across the Web is related, and connect it in real time and alert the user via a ‘+’ symbol that there is additional information that is of interest (see video here).

Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, envisioned a semantic web in his 1999 book Weaving the Web: "I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A ‘Semantic Web’, which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The ‘intelligent agents’ people have touted for ages will finally materialize."

Universities are already discussing user generated LBS 'second version' content replacing some of their academic content. After all, academic content in many fields is often theoretical and sometimes incorrect. With enough location based user data (where you are, what you're doing, patterns of usage, voting, collective intelligence, community content, data mashups, etc.), we can begin to concentrate on actualities as well as assumptions. Epic amounts of interdisciplinary data can be gathered over time from the archived activities of 100's of millions of people.

This would include their GPS tracked journeys, mobile device locations, geocoded spatially related text tagged photographs, news tags, public digital collections and shared bookmarks. New technologies, such as Seadragon and PhotoSynth (you really have to watch this video!) promise to allow seamless online media management, browsing and reviewing of vast amounts of visual information. Seadragon are keeping specifics close to their chest, but they say that "mapping is one of those really obvious applications for a technology like this".

Geographers, sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists, economists and historians (in time) will be rubbing their hands together with anticipation - along with of course many others! However, there are probably just as many dreading the day when all our activity and 'privacy' is handled by a network.

Would you welcome or fear such a network?
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pimplebrain
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can we have that again in English please? Shocked
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RobBrady
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes it is a complicated subject Smile If there is a particular part that you didn't understand, maybe I can walk you through it or point you in the right direction?
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navver
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like when the computers take over finding knowledge for us we won't understand a word theyve found.

I can see it would be invaluable though as I think its going to be capable of trawling the net every day and putting seemingly unrelated information together.

Imagine what the inland revenue or police could do with this, terrifying!
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RobBrady
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed, but the choice would ultimately rest with the individual as to what information they share about themselves and which community, closed or otherwise, they choose to share it with.
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MaFt
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RobBrady wrote:
Indeed, but the choice would ultimately rest with the individual as to what information they share about themselves and which community, closed or otherwise, they choose to share it with.


it depends on what the default settings are...!

initially facebook allowed everyone to see all your details whether you were their 'friend' or not by default!! it was only after loads of bad press about it (mobile numbers, emails etc all readily available) that this was changed and turned off by default.

how many thousands of people don't bother to check settings? or maybe that should be how many millions?

facebook is invasive enough for me! that's about my limit i think!! giving away my gps location to one or two close friends is fine but for that to be broadcast to everyone in my 'network' is a bit extreme.

MaFt
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RobBrady
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MaFt wrote:
initially facebook allowed everyone to see all your details whether you were their 'friend' or not by default!! it was only after loads of bad press about it (mobile numbers, emails etc all readily available) that this was changed and turned off by default.


But didn't everyone in the early days of Facebook assume that the information they were publishing on the Web could be seen by everyone on the Web - wasn't that the initial point? I agree that many in hindsight thought this was not the cleverest idea when they realised the depth of information that minors and other vulnerable people were publishing about themselves.

Whatever our individual opinions are on the rights and wrongs, I believe there will still be millions who will relish publishing every detail about their lives. In a celebrity obsessed culture it's a way to get yourself noticed; a fame of sorts.
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