Monday, November 20, 2006

Mobile Future: Part 1

"Everyone Is A Bounty Hunter"

Leeroy Thomas, age 23, is walking to his apartment in the heart of Chicago, Illinois at about 6:25 p.m. "Damn watch never worked right since that idiot set off that EMP grenade last week at the bank." he whispers to himself, as he peers through his Nokia branded, light adjusting sunglasses at his watch, in disgust. Leeroy takes a glance across the street before turning to enter the lobby of his building and notices a guy he thinks he recognizes. He flips a small switch on his shades as he's walking upstairs to his apartment on the fourth floor (Leeroy never the trusted elevator here).

"Google Crime Search, scan all images taken since 6:00 p.m." The display embedded in his glasses flips through a few hundred images within seconds and shows Leeroy the search results with info about the man across the street in bold red text. "I knew it! Report results and location of that fool to the authorities," says Leeroy, as he opens his door and enters his small apartment. "Oh, and make sure they know I'm the guy who's watch was screwed up in that mess he caused last week."

Moments later, Leeroy gets an audible message from his headset - "Suspect apprehended." The display in Leeroy's glasses outputs a list of stats showing his increase in Google Search points, digg's 'Nice Digging' points from auto-submitting the story, and the Chicago 'Good Citizen' ranking among dozens of other stats. "Good" Leeroy says simply as he lays back on his bed and closes his eyes to the scrolling of stats of the readout. He also receives a reward deposit directly into his PayPal account from the city for his efforts and of course he gets sent a new watch identical to the one that was damaged. You see, everyone can be a bounty hunter these days.

Aside from people still using wrist watches in the future, there's a lot to be said about how the technology being built today will likely influence the world of tomorrow. From stylish and comfortable mobile computers that serve multiple purposes while being more powerful than today's supercomputers, to search engines that provide vital information to the masses to solve any conceivable problem, to social network driven security forces that help fight crime on a global scale. Part of that technology is here and the other part is just around the corner.

For a subject that can span several posts, I'll be tackling some of the various ideas I have about where the future looks to be heading as it pertains to mobile technology. Please feel free to join us at any time in discussion about these radical perspectives on our path to the future, and stay tunned for more.


At 11:55 PM, Blogger meme addict said...

Very thought-provoking post. looking forward to part 2. I think scenarios offer a very useful way to think about how new tools could be used without getting lost in feasibility discussions.

the introduction of community ratings reminds me a bit of Doctorow's novel on the magic kingdom. There community points are used like money. It wouldn't be a far stretch here to have different agencies offering goods in return for high community points (perhaps like the watch replacement you mention).

another question would be whether we really want everyone to be a police informant/vigilante. Do I want everyone in the neighborhood calling the cops when I jaywalk/speed/do a u-turn? Perhaps we need an increasingly democratic way of removing unnecessary/unpopular laws in addition to making it easier for people to report infringements of the law?


At 9:39 AM, Blogger Derek_Coleman said...

Thank you for your interest on the subject Jeff. I understand the story leaves a lot of unanswered questions, and I'll try to answer as many as I can without creating too many new ones.

Your comment brings up some interesting points that likely lead to issues of what happens to people's privacy, rights, and the very laws that affect them. There's also the impact of issues such as politics, economics, and the fundamental limitations of technology itself that help shape the future.

In order to avoid as much confusion on the mobile side of these concepts of a potential future, I'll leave those other areas for discussion in the comments section and anyone who'd like to expand on them in their own way. Perhaps someone else would like to take up the future of laws and politics as they change going forward and how technology affects them.

That said, I think the future of all the areas that will inevitably parallel the future of mobile tech is astronomically difficult to predict individually, much less all at once. I also think all areas will continue to mesh and influence one another in ways we have yet to see.

At 2:41 AM, Blogger meme addict said...

speaking of expanding on the topic... ;)

My next 5 posts on Mobile Community Design will be related to the impact of design and methods on social systems (and how to potentially start predicting and taking responsibility for it).

starting at:

Looking forward to your continued mobile scenario explorations...

At 11:16 AM, Blogger Derek_Coleman said...

Thanks. I think Mobile Community Design and Meme Addict are awesome, and I look forward to reading a lot of your work as well. I just took a read of some posts, and I got a kick out of seeing that capsule hotel pic in your Japan Mobile Photos post.


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