This BBC article quotes Dr Jo Twist,a senior research fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research in the UK,as saying “once the net was ubiquitous like power and water,it had the potential to be “transformative”.The divide that separates people from their online lives will utterly disappear. Instead of leaving behind all those net-based friends and activities when you walk out of your front door,you will be able to take them with you.The buddies you have on instant message networks,friends and family on e-mail, your eBay auctions, your avatars in online games, the TV shows you have stored on disk, your digital pictures, your blog – everything will be just a click away.It could also kick off entirely new ways of living, working and playing.For instance, restaurant reviews could be geographically tagged so as soon as you approach a cafe or coffee shop, the views of recent diners could scroll up on your handheld gadget.Alternative reality games could also become popular.These use actors in real world locations to play out the ultimate interactive experience.Key to the transformation,said Dr Twist,would be mobile devices that can use wi-fi.These handsets are only just starting to appear but will likely cram a huge amount of functions into one gadget.Dr Twist believes the move could start to close the digital divide”.Further,”when chips,sensors,and wireless devices mesh together, there may be some unintended consequences,” said Dr Twist.”We have to make sure we think about those, and think about what other exclusions might be brought about by those developments, too.”
Why do I blog this? I don’t agree to the knee-jerk assertions about everything changing (the authors use the politic “transformative” instead of the usual exuberant adjectives), and this business about restaurant reviews pushed to devices is positively irritating to think about which probably means it could start a consumerist insurgency were it to actually happen. But, I have been working on a paper â€” recently accepted to the WWW2006 – MobEA IV workshop that says “we are in the midst of a mobile revolution” so maybe I have something to contribute to the transformation/revolution that will mitigate such an insurgency.