Dust-sized wireless communications nodes, pinhead-size cameras, and other sensors; contact-lens video displays and wearable computers controlled by subvocal speech and other muscle movements; and the ability to google anything, anywhere--we will soon be able to know almost everything about everyone. Explosive advances in the technologies of sensing and data mining demand that we ask: is privacy a fundamental right or a passing phenomenon?
Privacy is mentioned in neither the U.S. Constitution nor John Stuart Mills seminal work, "On Liberty." Nor does it seem to have been a basic aspect of any civilization before the late Victorian era. Perhaps its nothing more than a single centurys luxury, supported by an odd combination of technologies: the urban apartment building and subways, the suburban home and private automobiles.
In a special four-part report in IEEE Spectrum, "Sensor Nation," we look at privacy under siege. Part one, "Sensors and Sensibility," reviews the latest developments in sensing and data mining, and at a rear-guard of technologists who are fighting back, developing technologies of privacy. A second article, "We Like to Watch," tackles head-on the difficult question of what a society without privacy would be like. Is there a healthy alternative, a so-called transparent society, in which the loss of privacy is symmetrical and universal, matched by a powerful new ability to watch the watchers?
If privacy is a passing phenomenon, perhaps it will be as foreign to our childrens children as the technologies of coal and kerosene are to us today. In part three, we break out the crystal ball to look at the future. Who better to read that crystal ball than Vernor Vinge, Hugo-Award-winning science fiction author and retired professor of mathematics and computer science? His fictional account, "Synthetic Serendipity," shows a day in the life of game-playing high school student Mike Villas in the year 2020. In a closing article, "Mike Villass World," we look into the research labs of today and see a clear outline of Vinges tomorrow.
The technologies of sensing and data analysis are exciting, terrifying, and inevitable. Join us as we look at the next 20 years.
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...