Science and Technology
Computer Science - semantic processing, wireless services, computing, context-aware computing
Proactive and context-aware computer systems that anticipate users' needs and perform tasks in a timely and context-sensitive manner may begin to have an impact within the next 10 years.
By 2015 computer users could be moving away from foreground computing where our devices and networks wait patiently and passively for our typed instructions or mouse clicks, toward new ways of interacting with computers in which delegated systems perform tasks proactively on users’ behalf, tuned precisely to the momentary requirements of time and place. A range of complex automated tasks could be performed proactively if a mobile computing unit were able to sense a person, application, or device's context. Examples include:
Context-aware systems will use software applications that understand our human context or our devices’ context. Micro-local information could be cached on embedded wireless micro servers. Geo-coded information (tagged with latitude, longitude, and altitude or height) and invisible digital map data could be accessible and actionable. Data about the functions, activities, and infrastructure of a place, along with its history, culture, politics, and economics could become selectively visible and useful online in information-saturated spaces.
Smart programs -- such as contextually enhanced calendars and to-do lists -- running on our smart wearable and persistent systems will negotiate with embedded sensor nets and pervasive net servers, performing delegated tasks on our behalf in a manner appropriate to the context. Mobile devices could be able to sense the signal environment -- the signal strength and the location of transmitters at different frequencies, including wide area mobile networks and wireless local area networks -- and then, on the next anticipated visit, preconfigure network signalling with programmable signal processors and software-defined radios.
Change may be gradual as many small component systems become available one-by-one. But over time, contextual computational processes will enhance personal and group productivity by proactively executing time-consuming processes to meet human requirements.
What to Watch:
At A Glance: