The Boundary Between Human and Digital


This is the last part in our eight-part series on the boundary between the digital world and our own, human existence. Our goal was to show that this boundary is thin and shifting all the time. The idea that there is a “real life” that exists independently of our online digital existence is at least questionable. Here, we have covered the following topics:

Nobody likes to be too predictive, but with all these trends happening, it’s fair to say that in ten years our world will be far different from where we are now. Many people will be online all the time, even when they are outside walking around, or riding in their self-driving vehicle. The information we receive from the real world will be enhanced with digitally contextual facts. Of course our ability to be constantly distracted will be even higher than it is today.

From the point of view of developers and creators of digital content, we need to be even better at providing information in the proper content to be used when users actually want it. The model of people looking up a website on a computer, taking notes on a pen and paper, and then going out into the real world is long gone. The use of apps on mobile to navigate is common, but with wearable computing may not last. Yet we still create websites and web content as if that is what people will do.  We make the most important facts difficult to find and hard to use on a mobile device. The current approach will not be effective in the near future, and the winners will be content creators who adapt quickly.

Updates – even during the course of developing this series, changes have happened. New stories have emerged on every topic we’ve covered, along with some that are more general. Here are a few we’ve selected to get you up to date. For the moment.

Virtual reality, virtual space

This Wired article argues that Google’s own technology has leaped past Google Glass, and that Android wear will be a more acceptable and popular form of wearable computing.

A tech columnist reviews the new virtual reality headsets being demoed at the most recent consumer electronics conference and concludes that virtual reality is getting closer, but is still not quite here.

Second Life creator Linden Labs is promising a new social network based in virtual reality.

Mozilla is working on a Firefox browser that works with virtual reality devices.

At the other end of the tech spectrum, Google has released a plan for a virtual reality headset you can make out of cardboard, rubber bands, and an android phone.

Drones, Cars, and Robots

Robotic experts want to build a team of robots that could beat the World Cup team by 2050.

NASA challenge tests robots with complex tasks.

Adding muscle tissue to robots.

Russians capture drone smuggling cigarettes.

Drone orchestra plays theme from 2001 A Space Odyssey.

Robot valet parks cars.

Personification of Big AIs

Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking are concerned about artificial intelligences in the future.

Claim made that an artificial intelligence passed the Turing test.

Some experts dispute the claim.

In any case, the Turing test is bullshit.

Is there any way to know if computers are thinking for themselves?

Uploading Ourselves

Startup wants to replace congress with software.

Japanese computer models one second of brain activity.

Spy agency wants computers that work like human brains.

Wearable Computing

Gloves can teach Braille while users do something else.

Salesforce releasing developer pack to help developers create wearable devices.

Potential effect of wearable computing on apps and ads.

Wearable Android.

Digital Sensing and Perceiving

Glasses that see cancer.

Vibrating clothes that help people navigate.

Fusing Human and Digital

Brain to computer connection.

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