Dec. 18, 2006

Ubiquitous Computing

In the last couple weeks of November, our Digital History class discussed the coming of ubiquitous connectivity – the state of continuously being able to access information about anything through your computer or phone while at the same time being constantly accessible by others who are known or unknown to you. The ability to easily access the best, most relevant information seems like an incredible dream; the possibility of always being traceable or at the other end of the line seems, personally, like a terrible nightmare. I am not all that comfortable with the idea of my cell phone being able to tell the people I am connected to on Facebook where I am all the time, but as a historian, it would be incredible to trace the movements of individuals and groups to a very fine level of detail.

I struggle with how to approach a world where even individual items such as razors are traceable since the positive and negative implications both seem almost overwhelming. In this case, I find myself unable to make an argument either for some sort of legislative control or a free-for-all harvesting of individuals’ movements, buying habits, and product use. I cannot even say for myself how I plan to control the amount of information that businesses or other individuals are collecting about me, but it is important that I make an effort to exert some control in this area.

Whew! Big, tricky ideas here!