#2 All Hands e-Science meeting at Oxford University


Tom Rodden is looking at the history of e-Science, moving from infrastructure to collaborative tools (e.g., MyExperiment). After all the digital world is in the foreground of their lives. 1.5 billion Internet users in 2010. The more that our lives are performed on digital platforms, the larger footprint we leave.  Google uses this footprint to target advertising. The next stop is uniquitous computing lifestyle.Hew then do we build a contextual footprint as a conscious activity. Computers will be able to sense human activities and use this sense to enable new forms of interaction.

Some gathered quotes:

“Half the world’s people have never made a phone call: 1990s.”

“Half the World will use a Mobile phone by 2010.”

“By year end 2012, physical sensors will create 20 percent of non-video internet traffic.” (Gartner group).

Mobile phone use becomes a means of credit rating in countries with little credit history. Tom looks at the technology of amusement parks, where research is creating “fear sensors” that help park rides maintain an optimal amount of terror for each customer. Digital location services will help people find and share transportation services in real time. When DARPA released 10 red balloons, the main challenge was to create the reward system to get enough people to work together.

Crowd sourcing: ReCaptcha and the search for Steve Fossett are examples of crowds enlisted for a common good. These are just the beginning of public engagement in digital crowd activities. As we become ever more embedded in digital activities, we need to remember: “What matters is not technology itself, but its relationship to us”

Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown (1996).

Rodden is wary of the imbalance of knowledge/power when digital services can collect an ever widening swath of information about our human endeavors. How do we track this information flow? How do we resist?

Photo Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

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