Based on the following truly remarkable visions, I think a quiet
revolution is emerging that, over the next few years, could dwarf the
size and complexity of the Internet as we know it today. Some analysts
have ventured to predict that trillions of embedded measuring devices,
each with sensors, a processor, and radio, will be networked together to
provide a nervous system for the physical world.
This reminds me about the importance of the Mt. Diablo Open R&D Wireless
Testbed (aka; digital blackboard) for demonstrating how the
Software-Defined Radio architecture can evolve into "environment-aware
Cognitive Radios" with dynamic knowledge links to distributed networks
of sensors/actuators and the Internet for remote monitoring and control
(i.e., a 30 mi. radius Societal-scale Information System).
* Paul Saffo, Institute for the
< http://www.saffo.org/ideas.html >
"In the next decade, we are going to add sensory organs to our
devices and networks. Processing plus sensors will set the stage
for the next revolution—interaction. We mean the interaction of
electronic devices with the physical world on our behalf. Sensors
do not just have to stop at mere sensing. The sensor decade will
really be a sensor/effector decade, where devices will not only
observe things; they will also manipulate them.”
* 21 Ideas for the 21st Century BusinessWeek, August 30,1999 <
"In the next century, planet earth will don an electronic skin. It
will use the Internet as a scaffold to support and transmit its
sensations. This skin is already being stitched together. It
consists of millions of embedded electronic measuring devices:
thermostats, pressure gauges, pollution detectors, cameras,
microphones, glucose sensors, EKGs, electroencephalographs. These
will probe and monitor cities and endangered species, the
atmosphere, our ships, highways and fleets of trucks, our
conversations, our bodies--even our dreams.
Ten years from now, there will be trillions of such telemetric
systems, each with a microprocessor brain and a radio. Consultant
Ernst & Young predicts that by 2010, there will be 10,000
telemetric devices for every human being on the planet. They'll be
in constant contact with one another. But the communication won't
be at our plodding verbal pace. ''Fifty kilobits per second is
slow,'' huffs Horst L. Stormer, a Nobel prize-winning physicist
employed by Lucent Technologies Inc.'s Bell Laboratories and
Columbia University. Machines will prefer to talk at gigabit speeds
and higher--so fast that humans will catch only scattered snippets
of the discussion.
What will the earth's new skin permit us to feel? How will we use
its surges of sensation? For several years--maybe for a
decade--there will be no central nervous system to manage this vast
signaling network. Certainly there will be no central intelligence.
But many scientists believe that some qualities of self-awareness
will emerge once the Net is sensually enhanced and emulates the
complexity of the human brain.
Sensuality is only one force pushing the Net toward intelligence.
An eerie symbiosis of human and machine effort is also starting to
evolve. The Internet creates a channel for thousands of programmers
around the world to collaborate on software development and
debugging. That has produced an evolutionary leap in software: The
''open source'' movement that spawned the Linux operating system.
The Linux world behaves as an ecosystem--''a self-correcting
spontaneous order,'' as open-source pioneer Eric Raymond describes
it in his Net manifesto, The Cathedral and the Bazaar. Through
collaboration, this community can push past the technical barriers
to machine intelligence."
* A Conversation With Doug
by Karen Southwick <
He began wondering how he might use technology to solve
society's problems. "The complexity that mankind is facing is
getting greater and greater", he said to himself, "so our
problems are getting more complex, and the time we have to
deal with them is getting shorter and more urgent. Is there
anything I can do to contribute to mankind's ability to cope
with compexity and urgency? The more he though about it the
more it moved him. "That," he concluded, "would be a terriffic
* Edward Wilson wrote (Consilience - The Unity of Knowledge. New
York, 1998: Knopf. 332 pp.):
"A great deal of serious thinking is needed to navigate the
decades immediately ahead … . only unified learning,
universally shared, makes accurate foresight and wise choice
possible. … we are learning the fundamental principle that
ethics is everything."
Fortunately, the exponential growth of knowledge is several
times larger than the exponential growth in the world economy
that combines the effects of population gains and increases in
individual economic productivity. Within reach is the
capability to design the future instead of trying to predict
it or lurching toward a less-than-optimum future along a
The strategy for pursuit of this vision will be information
based, knowledge guided, stakeholder driven, and human
centered. It will develop four dimensions of bootstrapping:
* discovery (through research),
* integration (through interdisciplinary
* dissemination (through education that becomes
life-long learning), and
* application (through cooperation among academia,
business and industry, the several levels
ofgovernment, and nongovernmental organizations)
Wrestling with the complex problems of providing a sustainable
world for future generations is the most crucial challenge
society and governments face today and into the new
millennium. Success in developing effective strategies to
confront this formidable challenge will require novel forms of
cooperation and collaboration between and among institutions
across all jurisdictional boundaries. While processes for
moving toward this desired future condition are taking place,
their evolution is being accelerated by the rapidly increasing
knowledge in science, engineering and technology—and by the
emergence of increasingly practical ways for disseminating and
using data and information for the creation of knowledge.
These trends strongly indicate that it is timely for nations
of the world to galvanize the scientific and technological
capabilities of their institutions into concerted action for
advancing research and monitoring for managing their economic,
social and ecological systems in a sustainable manner across
continental scales. Working in partnership to carry out this
common task will further galvanize our institutions to
confront successfully the complex sustainability challenges of
the new millennium.
Henry van Eyken wrote:
> Ah, a REAL blackboard.
> In the real rain?
> Jack Park wrote:
>> Slashdot: http://slashdot.org/articles/01/05/18/1747251.shtml
>> Had this to say:
>> The Boston Globe has a column by Ellen Goodman about a community
>> blackboard, a monument put up not for a dead president or war hero
>> but to free expression. Read more about the project
>> Boston Globe URL is:
>> And the URl for it is http://www.tjcenter.org/monument/cover.html
>> There appears to be a virtual reality digital version in the making.
>> From Ellen Goodman's story:
>> "Not long from now, this corner will be a designated place to
>> exercise that rough muscle of democracy. Opinions and arguments will
>> be erased and renewed and rebutted. The people of Charlottesville
>> will get to see what people think. The handwriting on the wall.
>> And the rest of us will have a monument to a country in which free
>> expression requires nothing more - or less - than the willingness to
>> step up to the blackboard."
>> Community email addresses:
>> Post message: unrev-II@onelist.com
>> Subscribe: unrev-IIemail@example.com
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