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Remember the days when the World Wide Web was compared to a library containing books all laying on their sides with no indexing system?

Now increasingly sophisticated search provides valuable context for the next phase of our wired world, says John Smart of the Acceleration Studies Foundation. Speaking at NextTech in Mt. View, he expressed hope of bypassing our current bottleneck in which data expansion outstrips computing capability. (Data has been doubling every 14 months; processing and storage, 18 – 24 months.) He anticipates efficiencies in handling the data will emerge, enabling, in 8 – 10 years, a Digital Self.

He predicts we’ll feel naked without it. And in just 2 – 5 years, he envisions computers will have facial expressions as well as language.

Then and now:

1) Web 2.0 was about read/write/play
2) Web 3.0 is about video, iTV, the geosocial Web, augmented reality, virtual worlds and mobile

The future, as we know it:
3) Web 4.0 will be the semantic Web

Today’s usage observation: Remember “data” are plural!

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I’ve been busy helping an interactive agency reengineer some processes and keeping track of our evolving field.

One of the advantages of living in the Silicon Valley area is hearing from experts here. The other night I attended an event at the Computer History Museum (which, coincidentally, my friend’s in-law runs).

The invitation-only event provided a future scan, and was put on by technology recruiter Dice as it gears up a new social-network interface.

Harry McCracken, called the #1 techie-to-follow on Twitter, obligingly ran down a list of his educated hunches about what’s in store:

1) Mobile (one of my faves) – the new third-generation standard, Long Term Evolution, or LTE, is billed to allow seamless access to any multimedia content anywhere with quicker, more efficient transmission. LTE will start to matter toward the end of next year and require new devices
2) ePaper will become more flexible and interactive with improved battery life to boot.
3) 3-D is coming to TV with some channels becoming completely 3-D. Although there are no standards yet, some gaming console software is written with 3-D in mind.
4) Fuel cells may appear in conjunction with consumer electronics in five years or so. Toshiba has an external charger now. Imagine a laptop operating with on-board power for 40 hours . . .
5) Augmented reality, which overlays the real world with digital information, is also imminently spreading. For instance, Yelp, where consumers review businesses, can potentially add GPS data to overwrite the physical information in front of you. One application for layering the web over the physical world? A full-size keyboard projected from a phone.
6) The cloud – data will live online to be accessible from anywhere
7) Wireless power, like the Palm Pre uses with inductive charging. In about 10 years, perhaps a laptop inside a case near a recharging station could recharge without physical contact.
And last, #8: Voice recognition will be possible with advances in computational power, Now it requires sending the information to a server – with Nexis One, emails can be dictated . . .

Other insights for future posts!

In keeping with closing with an observation, one mixed-up usage of language I somehow recall fondly was seeing a writer inadvertently write about “fermenting” revolution instead of “fomenting”. The phrase did paint a dynamic mental picture!

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