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4. Intertwingled > 4.4. Imports

Imports

At the soft edges of cyberspace, we’re importing vast amounts of information about the real world while simultaneously designing new interfaces for export. It is this great intertwingling of physical and digital that promises a radical departure from the present, for we’re talking about nothing less than adding eyes and ears to our digital nervous system. The amount of information on today’s Web is insignificant in relation to the oceans of data that will pour into cyberspace through a global network of sensory devices. Change won’t come overnight, but our children will inherit a different world.

I stole a glimpse at this future a few years ago through the eyes of our eldest daughter, Claire. It was Christmas break, and I finally had a chance to play with my new laptop and wireless network while concurrently entertaining Claire. In the spirit of “embracing the genius of the AND,” I decided to try out some webcams, eventually settling on the Live Earthcam at Times Square, shown in Figure 4-13. So, I’m sitting on the couch in Ann Arbor with our two year old, and we’re streaming a real-time video feed from New York City, and she loves it! Traffic lights orchestrate an ebb and flow of people and cars, while honking horns punctuate the constant buzz of the big city. For some time, Claire and I are simultaneously in Ann Arbor and New York. This is not the willing suspension of disbelief. It’s not like television or the movies. We are experiencing real places in real time. The people are not actors. There is no script. Claire is fascinated by the bright yellow cars, and I explain they are “taxi cabs” and they help people get from place to place. When one appears on screen, ....


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