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Inhabited Information Spaces: Living with your Data

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In this book you will find some examples of work in particular from the Inhabited Information Spaces Grouping. It is interesting to see how some of these ideas are still “futuristic” and others have started to become part of mainstream thinking and made their way into products.

Some people say that you can find “grains of the future” in the present today – the only problem is, where do you start to look? One of the potential advantages of this book is that by looking at the research developments stretching out into recent past, one can identify how some grains developed into trends of the present, and other are still just emerging.

For those still interested in seeking out “grains of the future”, this book will be a valuable source.

Jakub Wejchert
Information Society DG
European Commission

Starting from the time of the ENIAC, one of the colossal computers of the 1940s, most IT progress has been driven from the point of view of the machine. Since then things have changed – but perhaps not really that much. Even if computers can today calculate many times over what was possible a few years ago, and the machines have become somewhat less obtrusive, much of the “mind set” has stayed the same. It is the visions of huge calculating machines spanning massive rooms, trying to recreate an absolute artificial intelligence, that still haunt much of the thinking of today.

Alternatives to the idea of fitting computing into ever smaller boxes can mainly be attributed to Mark Weiser. In his paper, “The Computer for the 21st Century”, he outlined notions of how computing could become integrated into the fabric of everyday life by becoming completely distributed into the environment. In this way computing would become “ubiquitous”. More recently, similarly inspired work on “tangible media”, by Hiroshi Ishii has emerged from the MIT Media Lab. Apart from this, the technological revolution of GSM and the mobile phone has also had its share of making information technology come out of its “traditional shell”.
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