We as humans are born with 5 senses – we have become the ruling species as we have joined together these not perfect senses with our brain. None of our senses are the best in class, but our brain makes the difference. We outperform all other (known) species mixing great software (the brain) with okay hardware (senses).
The internet has unlimited number of senses and (in future) superior software
I expect that some time in future an internet based consciousness will have the chance to become a main player in the game of what is the ruling element in the universe. Yes, it may sound a bit futuristic but I am serious – the statement is a bit “blurred” but I think that I need to post it. Here is why…
“If this then that” – ifttt.com
The internet offers a lot of events, it is just a layer on top of the real world, which for some part only reflects what is going on “down in the real world”. Events in the real world are appearing on the net as news, radio or video perhaps on cnn.com, youtube.com or in a blog like mine here.
Example event in physical life “if this then that”
Events on the net can be compared with the kind of events captured by you own senses.
A fly lands on your hand, an event “Fly landed on skin” is send to your brain by the emotional sense with further information about exactly where on the skin of your body the “event” happened.
The brain handles the event taking it through some logic and find an appropriate action. Depending on the state you are in the brain (the software) will take appropriate action. It may use the other hand to try to smack the fly, it may choose to blow some are towards the fly and perhaps even ignore the fly.
Complex rules decides through logic
Most of the time many things happening in our physical life are handled automatically by learned rules, some we were adapting from our parents, our friends by listening or observing the reaction patterns by in the world around us. Some we have understood by reading a book, being fought in a school and others we have ourself concluded as we observed several elements in the world around us.
In the computer world, such rules are maintained through software.
The pattern of handling events are adapted on the internet
The first time I saw a generic system for handling events in a manner similar to the way our brain works was on the free service: http://ifttt.com. I have since been very impressed by that concept, it offers a unique way to create automated processes which do event handling for you. I have many running pieces of logic on IFTTT – like if someone choose to tag me on Facebook in a picture, a copy of that picture is automatically saved to my dropbox. Pretty cool!
IFTTT has 214 senses
IFTTT gives you the option to connect two of the 214 senses (channels) together. In my example with facebook tagging, I have pulled in “The Facebook sense” and “The Dropbox sense”. Those two I would like to label “senses”. They can raise events like my emotional sense can when say a fly decides to take a break landing on my skin.
A bit of technique about IFTTT senses/channels
I will not go into details about how the emotional sense of my body works: How the event is captured, how the event is structured, how the event travels to the brain and many other details. Also I will not go into details about the internet bases senses.
Many more people in the world, however, have the potential to understand the internet bases sense world than people there are people who understand the technique behind the human senses world. People on a daily basis work with parts of the internet bases sense world. Software and hardware developers would many of them be able to play a role in the life circle of an internet bases sense system, as it is just what they have always been doing as they work with software developing and hardware event related work.
Every piece of software and hardware could opt in on internet bases sense systems
I think that any piece of software could be extended to deliver and react on internet bases sense systems like IFTTT.com. Much of the computer based work is in fact building on events, so adding another layer to the software which will bind the code to an external internet based sense system is easy.
The amount of events inside a computer or other hardware devices are enormous – at first you would think that if we added many of the existing events say inside the operating system of your PC, you would kill any online internet bases sense system like IFTTT.com. Think again! Your brain has managed through evolution to handle many events streaming to the brain constantly, why should we not be able to invent similar or perhaps better techniques?
awareness and the
Again I do not want to try to explain the techniques used by either the brain or an internet bases sense system to handle many events – but think about it: During the day your brain is filled with impressions, most of which are handled by sending them to “the subconsciousness” for later handling and processing. Why should we not be able to write (AI) code which can also do that for internet bases sense systems?
The tomorrow of internet sense systems
Some things need to happen before an internet sense system can be a success.
Today much of the raw events from “the real world” shows up on the internet in a wrapped not-raw form on websites. Editors handle incoming real-world-events and filter and extend them into something which they expect that the target people of their website can grasp.
I want the real world events to appear in a “raw event channel” for every real life event. I agree with the inventer of www Sir Tim Berners-Lee as he some 3 years ago (on nov. 9th 2012) asked the sources of the internet for “Raw data, now!”
The publishers of content on the internet simply cannot know what and how people would use the raw data they have. Set the data free, please!
If the raw data were not an option but a must for every website, say using a new “data://“ protocol for every URL (simplified concept, I know) the data would give us many new angels and we would get many great things I think.
Internet sense systems could then subscribe on raw data from many places and let you and your logic decide which action should be taken for a given piece of raw data.
Actually this post was triggered by the fact that I just discovered that yet another internet based sense system exists: zapier.com. It has pricing plans, so it is not always for free like ifttt.com. However it has something which looks perhaps like a more customizable backend, and it offers 400+ senses (apps).
Do try out one of the internet bases sense systems – it is amazing, an please do share your thoughts and also share any other services I do not know about. Thanks!