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The Internet of Things - What is a Spime? 141

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sounds-like-it-would-taste-sour dept.
CoolVibe writes "From the abstract in the talk: "World-renowned Science Fiction writer and futurist Bruce Sterling will outline his ideas for SPIMES, a form of ubiquitous computing that gives smarts and 'searchabiliity' to even the most mundane of physical products. Imagine losing your car keys and being able to search for them with Google Earth." It's a very interesting lecture given by Bruce Sterling about something we might see in the near future. The lecture can be viewed here on Google Video."
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The Internet of Things - What is a Spime?

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  • What are car keys? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @05:00PM (#18979187)
    By the time any of this technology could ship we'd probably have thought controlled car locks. No need for keys then.
    • Besides... (Score:5, Funny)

      by sczimme (603413) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @05:53PM (#18980085)

      Imagine losing your car keys and being able to search for them with Google Earth
      ...
      By the time any of this technology could ship we'd probably have thought controlled car locks. No need for keys then.

      If I end up so far from my car keys that I need GOOGLE EARTH to find them, I have failed miserably...

      Or had a really good time. I suppose it could go either way (or both).

    • by greg_barton (5551) *

      By the time any of this technology could ship we'd probably have thought controlled car locks. No need for keys then.

      Then they'll just track YOUR BRAIN.
    • by LuitvD (1097337)
      Note to self: become a hypnotherapist, to be able to steal cars in the future
    • by mcrbids (148650)
      By the time any of this technology could ship we'd probably have thought controlled car locks. No need for keys then.

      Can you imagine how much wear and tear your door locks would get if you had a grand-mal seizure?

      This would also seriously change the pick-me-up...

      Guy: Hey babe. You know what would look even nicer on you than that beautiful dress?

      Girl: Silence

      Guy: Me!

      Girl's car CLICK!
    • by smithmc (451373) *

        By the time any of this technology could ship we'd probably have thought controlled car locks. No need for keys then.

      Well, maybe by then we'll be able to use Google to locate our thoughts!

  • I've been looking for my cell phone for the last 30 minutes. Checked the office, checked the car, had the wife check the house. Been calling it! Can't find it!
    • Bluetooth signal triangulation?
      • by Ctrl-Z (28806)
        Hmm... if calling the phone doesn't work, I can't imagine that Bluetooth signal triangulation would. For that to work, you would need the phone to be (1) powered on, and (2) within Bluetooth range. Assuming that the phone isn't on silent (and why would you be calling it otherwise), and assuming that Bluetooth range is shorter than earshot, you wouldn't have a whole lot of luck. My guess is the phone is lost, or the battery is dead.
    • phone search: error. 32412 results in 'downtown Boston'
  • I didn't VTFV but I have strong opinions on this matter....{add your own rant here}
  • Utopian privacy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2007 @05:06PM (#18979307)
    "Imagine losing your car keys and being able to search for them with Google Earth."

    Imagine a thief doing the same?
  • Reverse (Score:4, Interesting)

    by students (763488) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @05:06PM (#18979313) Homepage Journal
    Imagine letting anyone who wants to steal your car be able to search for your keys on Google Earth.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      and....what?

      They going to risk breaking into your home to get keys to steal your car?
      A car thief does not need keys to steal a car.

    • by russint (793669)
      Imagine the cops finding your stolen car on Google Earth.
  • by thewils (463314) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @05:07PM (#18979327) Journal
    But if I can imagine finding my lost car keys on Google Earth, I sure can imagine trying to find someone else's car keys on Google Earth.
    • I sure can imagine trying to find someone else's car keys on Google Earth.

      I wonder how "do no evil" would reconcile with making the ultimate stalker/big brother tool.
  • by G27 Radio (78394) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @05:08PM (#18979339)

    Imagine losing your car keys and being able to search for them with Google Earth.

    http://static.flickr.com/108/261905722_d2912c0465. jpg?v=0 [flickr.com]

    Still waiting for them to add it to Earth.
    • Imagine losing your car keys and being able to search for them with Google Earth

      Great! It's narrowed it down to a pixel the size of my apartment. Thanks Google Earth, you've been a big help!
    • Interesting. So, in 2084, we'll be able to watch the meta-watchers watch the watchers watching us?
  • Very fascinating (Score:4, Insightful)

    by palladiate (1018086) <palladiate@gmai l . com> on Thursday May 03, 2007 @05:08PM (#18979351)
    We might as well still hope for flying cars though. Sure, multi-linking normal objects is cool, but there are probably much easier and simpler solutions we haven't though of yet. Futurism is fun, I remember the old Futureland at Disney world. It was a ghost town, and the animatronics were creepy, but it was fun as a giant walk-in time capsule.

    But, all I could think about the whole time is about those darn car keys. I kept hearing in my head my parents calling me: "Son, I need you to come look at the computer. Google keeps telling me my car keys are in the house, but I've looked all over for them. I think Google is broken again."

  • Someone is watching (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bigmiken (803382)
    First car keys, then a small injection when you are born and now 'Big Brother' knows where you are.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      Which is OK, if there are strict elgal guidelines to it's use.

      Most of which should be that a case gets thrown out, and all evidense in inadmissable for future cases if they are violated.

      WHen you make it so they can not achieve there goal by breaking the rules, they will stop breaking the rules.
  • Isn't this the beginning of the huge "everything will have a computer in it" world that we have expected? I know that technology can sometimes go to far, but something like this, if implemented correctly, could actually be extremely practical.
  • by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation&gmail,com> on Thursday May 03, 2007 @05:10PM (#18979387)
    As long as you can reticulate them, of course.

    • by jhfry (829244)
      Great reference to Sim City... except, they are splines, not spimes.

      But I'd still mod you up if I could!
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @05:12PM (#18979425)
    Imagine losing your car keys and having someone else find them with Google Earth. Imagine someone without a warrant keeping track of your car keys.

    I don't usually wear a tin-foil hat, but this idea has exploit written all over it.
  • IANAMA but how often do designers predict technology accurately?

    And I'd expect better chairs at Google...
    • by treeves (963993)
      IANAMA = I am not a major asshole

      IANAMA = I am not a marketing astroturfer

      IANAMA = I am not a metallica aficionado

      IANAMA = I am not a mighty amazon

      IANAMA = I am not a mechanical automaton

      IANAMA = I am not a middle-aged artist

      None of the above?

    • IANAMA = I Am Not A Mature Asian
  • Imagine what?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016)
    imagine losing your car keys and being able to search for them with Google Earth."

    That's as useless as mammary glands on a bull.

    google earth has this flashing Dot on my house. with a arrow, "your keys are here".

    DUH!
    • by Abuzar (732558)
      google earth has this flashing Dot on my house. with a arrow, "your keys are here".

      No dude, by then they'll have x-ray photos of all our houses.

      But don't worry, the arrow will point to the pocket of your wife's pants as they lay on the floor beside your best friend Big Google's bed.
  • Appropriate name (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @05:19PM (#18979535) Journal
    Spi Me. If you can find your carkeys on Google, then so can Google. And if Google can, the government you're under can find your carkeys too. Normally you're near where your carkeys are, or maybe your cellphone, or maybe the governmental id card.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DragonWriter (970822)

      If you can find your carkeys on Google, then so can Google.

      That depends where the logic is that identifies a particular electronic identifier as your carkeys; done properly, other people might be able to locate an object with a particular identifier, but not know that it is the keys to your car. Or get no information at all about it.

      But for ubiquitous computing to not be a giant gaping security hole, we're going to need ubiquitous encryption and a whole generation of new tools to manage it and partition inf

    • This is already happening [onstar.com] but not by google.

    • But! If it's a publicly accessible resource like Google is, and it allows the government to spy on us, it would also allow us to spy on the government.

    • by zobier (585066)

      Spi Me. If you can find your carkeys on Google, then so can Google. And if Google can, the government you're under can find your carkeys too. Normally you're near where your carkeys are, or maybe your cellphone, or maybe the governmental id card.
      Um, the government already knows where your cellphone is and they can listen in on you with it too.
  • Great Idea... not (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kjzk (1097265)
    "Imagine the government being able to find your exact location using Google. Err, I mean your car keys."
  • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @05:24PM (#18979609)

    I got up one morning and couldn't find my socks. So I called Information. She said, "Hello, Information." I said, "I can't find my socks." She said, "They're behind the couch." They were.
    -- Steven Wright
  • Do you really want google to know where your car keys are?
    That's pretty personal there folks. Think about it.
    • by jcr (53032)
      Do you really want google to know where your car keys are?

      I don't have a problem with google knowing where car key number 0A:93:67:22:FE:A4:12:E4 is. If they know enough to associate that key with me, then it's an issue.

      -jcr

      • I don't have a problem with google knowing where car key number 0A:93:67:22:FE:A4:12:E4 is.
        I'm sorry, don't you mean key number 09:F9:11:02:9D:74:E3:5B:D8:41:56:C5:63:56:88:C0?
        • by jcr (53032)
          No, I think 32 bits should be enough to identify a car key.

          -jcr

          • by Torvaun (1040898)
            Missing the point. HD-DVD ring any bells?

            In any case, while 32 bits might do it for all sets of car keys, will they do it for everything that needs to be indexed? IPv6 should be our rolemodel in this.
            • by jcr (53032)
              Missing the point

              No, just a bit tired of an overdone gag.

              -jcr

  • Who would you call people looking for your keys on Google Maps? Spimers? Spimps? Spiminals?
  • by Lord Bitman (95493) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @05:53PM (#18980083) Homepage
    There is nothing about being able to use Google Earth to find your keys which implies by its very nature the ability for Google itself to find your keys, any more than the ability for Google Desktop to find your pr0n implies by its very nature the ability for Google itself to find your pr0n.

    I want my home computer to be able to have disconnected local extensions enabling me to perform searches on things which Google itself doesn't consider relevant.

    If I really wanted to, I could (right now!) go out to radioshack and get everything required to set up a Home Positioning System- like a GPS, but with less G. I could then interface the data from that with Google Earth using its existing extension mechanisms and- without Google knowing a thing about it get Google Earth to tell me where my keys are.
  • I need my car keys, I call a number and this loon screams at me that they're under my dresser or something like that, sprinkled with expletives and mutterings about the John Birch Society, Freemasons, and IRS and I have my keys just like that. Of course, the Psychotic Friends Network isn't for everyone, but it doesn't involve RFIDs and notoriously insecure web systems either.
  • I'll be able to enjoy spam 24hrs/day and 7days/week, targetted specifically towards my taste in women, tool sizes, drugs, and vista preferences... all through my car keys, my nail cutter, my shaving appliance, my dishes, my glasses, my boots, and my underwear. I can hardly wait.
    • by Torvaun (1040898)
      "You're buying -what- size underwear? Ok, we'll lay off the Viagra spam for you. Not like you're ever likely to need it."
  • Not soon, if ever (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 14erCleaner (745600) <FourteenerCleaner@yahoo.com> on Thursday May 03, 2007 @06:41PM (#18980799) Homepage Journal
    I'll be more enthusiastic about "ubiquitous computing" when I see something that economically and pleasingly replaces the paperback book. Not even close yet.
  • Why the hell are people so comfortable with themselves and everything they care about being able to be located at the push of a button!?!?!?!?!?!?!

    If you can find it, your enemies can too. and if you think you don't have enemies, your a fool.
    Take it personal if you want....
    • by PPH (736903)

      If you can find it, your enemies can too. and if you think you don't have enemies, your a fool.


      You misspelled you're.


      There. Now I have one more enemy.

      • He also should have used the word "personally."

        I'm still trying to figure out why my "enemies" would care about where I left my stuff.

          "FINALLY we can steal his FAVORITE PEN!"
  • "AAAARGH!! My SPIME!"

    Invader Zim, best cartoon ever!
  • we were looking for my moms keys.

    So my brother called 411 (information, usually phone numbers)
    They said they were under the couch...They were.

    true story.
  • ... you can crack nuts with a sledgehammer. Film at 11!
  • This guy is the biggest wind bag I've ever heard and I've sat through many a University colloquia. I can't believe Google put this guy on. This guy's picture is next to the definition of pompous.
    Oh yeah, Just a second hun, I lost my keys, let me ping them on the net.
    Do you put them into the DNS?
    • by Raenex (947668)

      I can't believe Google put this guy on.
      I agree, he was awful. Even more embarrassing was the presentation by his professor buddy. "So, umm, we have some half-assed ideas that some grad students thought of, not tied together in any coherent way, and umm, could you give us some money and work for us? Umm, thanks for listening." *runs off stage*

      Google should fire whoever brought these jackasses in.
  • I asked a Google Earth person a few years ago at the Accelerating Change conference about whether they were experimenting with this idea, and she just smiled slyly. It's right up their alley of making your information accessible and searchable.
  • I hope by that time there won't be cars or keys anymore.
  • by Hartree (191324) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:01PM (#18982911)
    I think Vernor Vinge called it a localizer a number of years back.

    Not sure what Drexler et al were calling the idea in the late 80s, but they were talking about much the same thing as well as general assemblers and such things as utility fog that could do the same thing.

    People have been working on ubi-comp for a long time.
  • I am not very sure if Mr. Sterling is using this "Internet of Things" short phrase as something he has conceptualized, imagined or otherwise invented. But the terminology "Internet of Things" has been used many years before Mr. Sterlings' book was published, to refer to a global network of EPC (Electronic Product Code)-based RFID tags and the infrastructure that supports it, the EPC Network [epcglobalinc.org]. Actually you can see reports [autoidlabs.org] of as soon as January 2001, by the then Auto-ID center, now Auto-ID Lab MIT, mentioning
  • Oh yeah...

    09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

    *ducks*
  • Real Use Cases (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dircha (893383) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @10:51PM (#18983249)
    If you're having trouble thinking of realistic use cases, the key is to work from the assumption that rfid and rfid scanners are ubiquitous. Think of things in your home or in your place of business. Now, ask yourself what would it mean to you if you could uniquely identify that item and track its location anywhere in the building, and what if you could do that remotely (with proper safeguards for privacy)?

    Now couple this with ubiquitous eletronic mapping of your home and the buildings you spend your day in.

    Your Dinner Plates Are Trackable
    It's time to do dishes. You have a glass and a small plate at your family computer from that snack you ate while reading the news after work. You have two glasses on the coffee table and one on the sofa from the guests you had over last night. Your son has three plates, a bowl, flatware, and a few glasses up in his room. You left a drinking glass on the washroom counter.

    But you don't know that they are there yet! Sure, you could walk into the family room and look around and pick up any you see, but you can do better. Open up your mobile, direct the interface to show the location of all diningware in your home. Now filter that to exclude diningware not already in the kitchen. How do you do that? I don't know, maybe it's as direct as typing "diningware +home -kitchen" into a prompt. But however you do it, now you see on your mobile a layout of your home with red dots indicating the location of diningware you need to round up to wash.

    Your Refrigerator Is Queryable
    Only it isn't that clunky Refrigerator of the Future you saw in that magazine article.

    You're at the grocery store. You're out of milk, low on soy sauce, and out of eggs. But you can only remember the eggs! Open up your mobile. Query "groceries +refrigerator +out" to get a list of groceries that belong in your refrigerator that you are out of: "1. milk, 2. eggs". How does it know what you are out of? After all, if you are out of it, it isn't there. AI? Of course not. It gives a list of groceries that have recently been in your refrigerator but aren't now.

    But wait, what about the soy sauce? Well, it's still there, so your query for things you are out of didn't catch it. How can it know you are low on it? Does the soy sauce bottle have a amount remaining meter that can be read? Of course not, let's be realistic! What you did is designate to your fridge when you set it up that the bottom door-shelf is for things you are running low on. You put the soy sauce bottle there last night after the meal to be sure you'd remember - or rather so it would remember - and your fridge has rfid scanners with sufficient granularity to know what is on this shelf. So you rewrite your query: "groceries +refrigerator +out +low" and you get "1. milk, 2. eggs, 3. soy sauce". Aha! Soy sauce, that's what you were missing. Because you configured your fridge like this when you set it up, when you query "low" in the context of "refrigerator" that's becomes an alias for "top left shelf".

    Your house would have more rfid scanners than electrical outlets. And everything from a carton of milk to your cat's collar would have an rfid tag.

    Other good examples once you make these assumptions? 1) Tracking locations of projectors, televisions, and media carts in the office or school. 2) Tracking locations of books in a library. 813.11A. Where the heck is that? Instead of asking the librarian or following signs through the winding maze of shelves until you find 800xxx, just query it in your mobile and it will show you exactly where it is in the electronically mapped library. Just walk over and pick it up.
    • by dircha (893383)
      Or let me correct that last sentence:
      "Because you configured your fridge like this when you set it up, when you query "low" in the context of "refrigerator" that becomes an alias for "bottom door-shelf".
    • by danpsmith (922127)

      But you don't know that they are there yet! Sure, you could walk into the family room and look around and pick up any you see, but you can do better. Open up your mobile, direct the interface to show the location of all diningware in your home. Now filter that to exclude diningware not already in the kitchen. How do you do that? I don't know, maybe it's as direct as typing "diningware +home -kitchen" into a prompt. But however you do it, now you see on your mobile a layout of your home with red dots indicat

      • by odyaws (943577)

        Americans spent millions to engineer a pen that writes upside down for space travel. Russians just used a pencil.

        While your point is valid, this anecdote is an urban legend [snopes.com]. Both the Russians and the Americans used pencils until Fischer developed the space pen on their own dime. Using pens alleviated the safety problem stemming from the debris associated with pencils, and ever since both the Americans and Russians have used pens.

  • So this "internet of things" idea of tagging everything and having metadata about all things physical...

    For this to create a "sustainable" framework, all objects when broken down to be recycled would have to be worth something. If my TV (or whatever) has 4.2 million tagged parts in it, everything from the logo down to the solder on the boards, the only way that TV is going to get recycled and reused in manufacturing is going to be if:

    A) There must exist an automated way for the TV to "disassemble" to tho
  • http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0596 007655/findability-20/ [amazon.com]

    This book has been shaking things up a bit in some circles in the same way as The Tipping Point did.

    And Stirling's quoted on the book's blurb. Bit of a giveaway.

The Universe is populated by stable things. -- Richard Dawkins

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