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thursday :: october 3, 2002
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smart mobs
:: new uses of mobile media

Howard Rheingold chronicled and forecast the PC revolution in 1985 and the Internet explosion in 1993. Now he sees a third wave of change underway, as the combination of mobile communication and the Internet makes it possible for people to cooperate in ways never before possible. This is explained in his new book 'Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution'.

Smart mobs use mobile media and computer networks to organize collective actions, from swarms of techo-savvy youth in urban Asia and Scandinavia to citizen revolts on the streets of Seattle, Manila, and Caracas. Wireless community networks, webloggers, buyers and sellers on eBay are early indicators of smart mobs that will emerge in the coming decade.

Coming technological infrastructure:
- Information in places: media linked to location.
- Smart rooms: environments that sense inhabitants and respond to them.
- Digital cities: adding information capabilities to urban places.
- Sentient objects: adding information and communication to physical objects.
- Tangible bits: manipulating the virtual world by manipulating physical objects.
- Wearable computers: sensing, computing, communicating gear worn as clothing.

When you piece together these different technological, economic, and social components, the result is an infrastructure that makes certain kinds of human actions possible that were never possible before: The killer apps of tomorrow's mobile infocom industry won't be hardware devices or software programs but social practices. The most far-reaching changes will come, as they often do, from the kinds of relationships, enterprises, communities and markets that the infrastructure makes possible.

The role of voluntary cooperation is the most important and least known story is the history of personal computers and networks. The PC wasn't built by the computer industry, but by mavericks who got off on building things together that they couldn't create as individuals. The fundamental architecture of the Internet was built on free software and cooperation. The story of Unix, open source, the Internet and Usenet pioneers, is not just about the past. Dotcoms died at the same time blogs bloomed. Self-organization is an irrepressible human drive, and the Internet is a toolkit for self organizing. >from *Smart Mobs site*.

related context
(re)distributions :: a culture of ubiquity. july 15, 2002
> wireless telecoms: disruptive technologies are emerging. june 20, 2002
> science grid deployement :: emerging model of computing. april 3, 2002

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      "active, informed citizen participation is the key to shaping the network society. a new "public sphere" is required." seattle statement
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