The future of relationships

May 26 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Relationships   Year: General   Rating: 8 Hot

By Dick Pelletier

Technology promises radical change in relationships.

We are in the midst of a sea of change, in which not only are many traditional relationships failing, but unexpected new arrangements are beginning to appear; gay marriages are becoming increasingly popular, and many people are consciously choosing to live alone. How does technology affect relationships? Telephones, cameras, and camcorders have long been instrumental in bringing people together. Today, many spend time chatting on the phone or the Internet – trying to develop or strengthen friendships.

Now technology is entering a bold, but controversial new step. In the UK, University of Redding’s Kevin Warwick, and his wife Irena will soon link their emotions together with chip implants. Tiny silicon chips will enable the couple to “read” each other’s feelings wherever they are. Every feeling – positive and negative – will be shared.

This technology will not be endorsed by everyone. Many believe sharing every feeling is too invasive – some feelings need to be private. But we live in a time when over half of all marriages end in divorce, so researchers in their search to fill needs, examine where technologies might help. (cont.)

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Teleportals Go Social, Expect Them to "Expand"

May 30 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: The Web   Year: 2008   Rating: 8 Hot

A social exhibit called the telectroscope allows crowds in London and New York to interact with one another through a video “tunnel”, aka a giant webcam.

Conceived by installation artist Paul St. George, the device is named after the first word used to describe the possibility of a 2-way television back in 1878 and is stylized to look like an invention by H.G. Wells.

Despite its relative simplicity, the exhibit is drawing considerable attention in both real life and through the blogosphere, indicating that it has struck a chord with the popular imagination.

As LED and OLED interfaces get cheaper and web connections get faster, we can expect such tele-portals to expand in size and resolution and to proliferate. Just imagine how fascinating the next generation of huge interactive windows to different cities, concerts, real-time news events, etc, will turn out to be, and what sorts of new behavior they will make possible. (cont.)

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Apple's Looking Glass

May 23 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: General   Rating: 4 Hot

In a paper released yesterday, AJ.P. Gownder and James L. McQuivey at Forrester predict that by 2013 Apple will become the hub of the digital home. They support this contention by imagining eight future Apple products including “wall-mountable digital picture frames with small high-definition screens and speakers that wirelessly play media”, “an Apple ‘clock radio’ that pipes in music and other media across a home network”, and “an ‘AppleSound’ universal remote control, also with a touch-sensitive screen, that lets users browse their music collections and change the songs playing through their stereo as they stroll around the house.”

I tend to concur with the rest of the blogosphere in that this is quite the tame list and that we’ll probably see significantly more advanced products from the likes of Apple circa 2013. With dropping component costs (hi-rez screens, processors, graphics cards, etc.), rising data transfer speeds (Internet2, a possible re-allocation of analog TV spectrum) new competition from proliferating design & interface companies, and the fact that most of these concepts already in prototype, I believe such products are more likely to hit mass-markets inside of 3 years rather than 5 long years away.

In particular I find the “wall-mountable digital picture frames” prediction a bit weak. If former Xerox PARC Director John Seely Brown is accurate in his estimation that Apple CEO Steve Jobs “is positioning himself to take over completely the living room,” then by 2013 I see the company developing radically cooler products such as a slick telepresence interface that future blogger Dick Pelletier expects by 2015 or before .

Being that such devices, albeit clunky and expensive versions, are already being sold by the likes of Cisco and VisBox, and that holographic and projection technologies could eliminate the expensive screen altogether, it’s unlikely that Steve Jobs and his crack team of agile researchers and designers haven’t yet realized the trumping value of rich multi-purpose, telepresence-enabling interfaces. (cont.)

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