July 11, 2003

The Metaphor Strikes Back

Talk about a reversal of computing metaphors (well, metaphor is probably not entirely correct, but it's worth it for the Star Wars reference in the title, don't you think?).

First, we have RFID (Anne has a substantial write-up about the recent blowup regarding their 'free-floating' documents here), which is basically a real-life "cookie" system whereby itty-bitty computer chips would be slapped on your Campbell’s and Ramen and itty-bitty radio antenna would broadcast your buying habits. Sure, you could check-out in 2.3 seconds, but is that really worth having someone track your Ramen all the way to your house? Or having Safeway call you up at home, because their database shows that "Sir, your milk expired just two minutes ago, and would you like a new gallon and, oh, by the way, you seem to be low on potatoes and Kraft cheese."

Or, in my paranoid mindscape, a nice, techy thief walking by a row of townhomes with a scanner, checking out which one would be nicest to break into, thank you very much little chips-and-antennae for providing an inventory.

And the bad thing is, you wouldn't be able to set your "browser" to reject cookies because, well, there is no browser. And you can't even eat these cookies. And my paranoid self would suspect that even if I thought I flushed them from my "cache" (hmm, what would *that* be in this RL analogy?), they would still linger.

On top of that, we're looking at Real-World Hyperlinks (via /.), where you point your phone at a poster and it zips you (well, not you per se, which would be really amazing, but your phone's browser) to the movie's web page. As the slash-dotter pointed out, one of the truly intriguing aspects of the article are the potential implications for museum and gallery spaces, where media streams could provide multimedia content to accompany exhibits.

This sort of stuff makes the tech-lover in me drool, and the luddite in me duck and cover. All those little lasers, radio frequencies, and beams flying through the air. It's like a game of dodge ball (nanotech creeps me out too - I have a hard enough time dealing with real-life bugs, so itty-bitty metal bugs just don’t appeal to me so much).

Posted by Jason at July 11, 2003 10:04 AM | TrackBack
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