The Internet revolution is the story of an explosion of information and connectivity. We are all producers and consumers of vastly growing datasets. Our lives and our very identities have to a large extent moved online. Much of who we are is now defined by the intricate and complex connections we have with other individuals, with organizations, and with social structures unlike any that have existed before in human history.
And yet there are many who argue that all of that is prelude, that the real revolution is yet to come. The phenomenon aptly named the Internet of Things describes the growing reach of the online world. The world itself is coming to life, with more and more of what once would have ben called “inanimate” objects producing and consuming information right along with the rest of us.
The year 2014 has been named the Year of the Smart Watch…and the Toothbrush, to name just two of the hundreds or thousands of everyday objects now participating in this endless high-speed exchange of information.
But is this a matter of the Internet moving out into the world or the Internet drawing the world into its realm? What do our growing data footprints and R. Buckminster Fuller’s notion of ephemeralization have to tell us about this tremendous shift? Will we soon live in a world made primarily out of data — or are we already there?