I was reading Irving Wladawsky-Berger's blog today when I happened upon this wonderful observation..
I was reminded of the Turing Test recently, as I have been watching the huge progress we are making in social networks, virtual worlds and personal robots. Our objective in these applications can perhaps be viewed as the flip side of the Turing Test. We are leveraging technology to enable real people to infuse virtual objects - avatars, personal robots, etc - with intelligence, - as opposed to leveraging technology to enable machines and software to behave as if they are intelligent.
What intrigues me so much about virtual worlds like Second Life is this ability of avatar-based virtual spaces to allow you to push through the barrier, and cross over. How's that for a bunch of meta-physical BS! This is a different aim then something like Looking Glass, which is trying to apply a 3D metaphor to a 2D interaction...it's about stepping through to live with the data, or the sensors, or the other distant collaborators. As the real world becomes more inhabited by pervasive computing, it only seems natural that we go and visit the virtual on its own turf. One wonders about the definition of an application interface in the future. As machines grow smarter, perhaps we'll pop into the 'living room' of our personal agent to have a chat.
At any rate, there are a couple of fun things I'll be looking at in the near future that can tie in to these ideas. First, the idea of pervasive, wireless sensors everywhere. I'm waiting for a SunSpot Developers Kit, and there will be some sensor applications coming down the pike that could involve these extremely cool sensors. The fact that they use Java is a plus in my book. Needless to say, I'll be brushing up on my J2ME.
The next thing I see coming down the pike is real time location tracking, using the UbiSense platform. This is being leveraged for an intriguing space called a Social Computing Room, and has all sorts of potential uses. Here, I'm going to be doing some .Net programming.
Like the blog quote above, I've had a unique chance to push the physical into the virtual, and with the mentioned projects, there's a chance to work in the other direction. Where these meet is getting to be a pretty interesting space!