Hard on the heels of the New York Times, another article from MIT’s Technology Review picks “reality mining” of cellphone data as one of the top ten emerging technologies for 2008.
Essentially, as cell phones become more like tiny, powerful, hand-held computers, we leave behind more and more traces of ourselves and our activities in the virtual world. Cell phone towers track our physical progress through the world, and as we start connecting to wifi and other services, we shed progressively more information.
“Reality mining” tracks this information, and allows us to predict things like where people will be at certain times of day, who they’ll interact with, what they’ll do, and so on. All those librarians worried about RFID and privacy issues: buckle up! The more digital and networked we become, the less privacy we may have.
It’s almost starting to feel like it’s time for a Focus post on mobile phones, digital media, and library instruction.