Monday, April 10, 2006


I learnt a new word today: Everyware.

Everyware is an attempt to describe the form computing will take in the next few years. Specifically, it's about a vision of processing power so distributed throughout the environment that computers per se effectively disappear. It's about the enormous consequences this disappearance has for the kinds of tasks computers are applied to, for the way we use them, and for what we understand them to be.

In a well written and articulated piece, author Adam Greenfield writes about an age old promise: computing from anywhere and everywhere, device-agnostic and a major part of nearly everything we do and everywhere we go.

Today, your gym membership, shopping expeditions, fuel purchases and even workplaces are already governed by digital technology - credit cards, swipable identity cards, mobile ticket booking and even mobile stock purchases.

Haven't you already thought of the day when you'll have just one identity? The one that will give you access to your home, your money, your car, your bank accounts and maybe even your workplace? Companies are already working on plans to build a system like this, which sounds amazingly ambitious but not impossible. Will it take a long time, see innumerable hurdles and have to deal with a lot of privacy issues? Yes. Will it make life easier for us? In all probability, also a resounding yes.

The stakes, this time, are unusually high. A mobile phone is something that can be switched off, or left at home. A computer is something that can be shut down, unplugged, walked away from. But the technology we're discussing here - ambient, ubiquitous, insinuative into all the apertures everyday life affords it - will be environment-forming in a way neither of those are. There should be little doubt that its advent will profoundly shape both the world and our experience of it in the years ahead.

Update: A List Apart has another article on Everyware


Devon said...

Creates a tangability of a Big Brother scenario doesn't it?

I am also guilty of wanting something lik this though, using my cellphone as a diary to keep all of my appointments etc, as well as contact book including email addresses etc.

We will have it all some day, but who knows if we will want it when we get it?

Logical Philosopher said...

Interesting to see it articulated as such.

I like your site, will be back for sure.