You know timing really is everything. Just the other day, I explained the semantic web. At the time, I didn’t realize how many projects were already near completion to help those predictions about more intelligent computers to come true. Well, CIRCULATE is the product CircLabs of three entrepreneurs who want to take us into the POST-search world. The project is supported by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
In other words, the computers will no longer need you to continuously put words into a search engine. They will be smart enough to basically keep track of you and provide the information it thinks you want. The computer will connect the dots in your virtual life and make suggestions based on the data it has about you.
This all sounds wonderful, but alas, there are many legal and privacy issues to consider. When these “smart” computers can recognize who you are and what you want and possibly provide others with ways to identify you, without your express permission, then what? Everything on the web is already public and permanent. Which means given the technology that Mozilla is working on that will help identify people virtually and pull up their live Twitter feed, you are a public figure whether you want to be one or not.
That opens another can of worms, who is a celebrity? Just because you are the subject of a news story, are you a public figure? How will democracy be affected if people choose not to participate because they do not wish to be identified?
I know this is a LOT to swallow, so I’ll give you some time to digest it. Just realize by the time you finish this, there will be more to come, indigestion is inevitable.