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The End of the Ubicomp World is Near, My Friend

The End of the Ubicomp World is Near, My Friend

This video was recorded at 8th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia. We live in the golden age of ubiquitous computing. Many elements of Weiser's bold vision are today commonplace in the lives of billions of people. Without even thinking about it, we today routinely search the web, reach out to people with our mobile internet devices, and find places and things with positioning technologies. Together the myriad devices and services that make up the internet form an unprecedented ubicomp platform of simply tremendous possibilities. We have seen many wonderful ubicomp systems, and research shows us that more are heading our way. The bad news is, greater failures are heading our way, too. Each new generation of systems brings added functionality, which inevitably means added complexity somewhere in the systems. This, in turn, creates numerous new failure modes with each generation. Moreover, increasing connectivity brings novel ways to propagate the failures into other systems. We see around us major shortcomings in terms of usability, interoperability, and security, and worse can be expected, should your cup be half empty. This talk will explore some of the factors that shape the ubicomp field – breakneck speeds of innovation, unstoppable technology development, maturing of services and information economies, among others – and discuss why such developments may have undesirable consequences. On a positive note, this talk will also identify other promising factors that may ultimately render our cup more than half full.


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