[Ubicomp] 911.net

http://www.viridiandesign.org/notes/301-350/00324_911.net.html

Sci-Fi author Bruce Sterling givess his view on one form of ubicomp.


One thing about 911.net makes it very distinct from earlier visions of ubicomp. This is not Microsoft Windows for Housekeeping. This is a hard, tough web that you throw down fast over dire emergencies. The key concept here is that we are finally moving computation out of the ivory tower, for good and all. No more glass boxes of the 1950s, no more clean abstractions of cyberspace. We are deploying computation at unheard-of speed, into the darkest, dirtiest, most dangerous places in the world.

It is a resilient security apparatus for emergencies. That is 911.net.

Now, you might well argue that ubicomp is very invasive of privacy. That's just what my industrial design pals said about it, immediately, and they were right. It's been hard to find reasonable deployments for ubicomp in peacetime commerce and in private homes, because it is so Orwellian. However. Under certain circumstances, other social circumstances do trump this issue.

For instance, when you are breathing your last under a pile of earthquake rubble, you don't really care much about privacy under your circumstances. What you really want is a smart bulldozer, a tourniquet, and some direct pressure against your open wounds. And that is what 911.net is about – or will be about, should it find its way out of the computer-science talking-shop and into daylight.

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