Wetware is next

Surely – hopefully – we’ll come up with a better name for it, but I believe that wetware will be a big, upcoming wave of change in technology. Wetware is the idea of putting computers inside our bodies. Sounds a little gross, but it makes a lot of sense that we’ll go there because of how two of the major themes of technology – networking and user interfaces – have evolved.

Networking: Computers get a lot more interesting when we connect them together, and we’ve been striving to connect more of them into networks and make it easier for us to access those networks. The first networks were local, a bunch of computers connected together in local area networks at universities and companies. Then the network moved to our homes, on our PCs and the internet. Then the network started to move around with us with wifi and laptops. And finally it has moved into our pockets with smartphones. As the network gets more ubiquitous and ever closer to us, it seems feasible that it would move into our bodies next – always there and even closer.

UI: User interfaces are about making it possible and ever more convenient for us to communicate with computers. We all know the evolution of how this works. It started with punch cards, then went to keyboards, then the mouse came along, touch pads, and today the ever present touch screens on our phones. This evolution looks like a move towards a more gestural and natural connection between us and the 0s and 1s of a computer. The next UI step could be an interface between sensors inside my body, likely my hands, and a way for computers to interpret those sensors without us having to move or touch a device anymore. Imagine moving and waving your hands around and your computer understanding what you mean (many people believe that our next step will be to voice interfaces instead – I’m less certain of that, though even in that case I imagine microphones will be embedded in our bodies).

Since two of the major themes of computing – networks and user interfaces – seem to be moving towards having computers inside our bodies, it looks to me like wetware, despite its ickiness factor, will become a reality.

After 4 weeks of blogging

A few thoughts of what it’s been like to blog every day for 4 weeks (minus weekends). First, thank you Om for challenging me to do it. I’ve never been a daily blogger, except for early stretches of photoblogging when I got my first camera phone in 2004. Recently, my blogging had come to a trickle, with a post every month or two, so it was a big change for me to blog every day. For the first two weeks, I felt quite a bit of pressure to publish, and I tried to think ahead for a few days of material. Then it got easier. For the last week, I just waited for something to catch my interest that day and wrote about it. I spent less time editing and rewriting posts as time went on, finding more flow in my writing – I hope this lasts, it’s the main benefit and joy I have gotten from blogging more. I did feel slightly guilty throughout this exercise about blogging too much – about wasting people’s time with my incessant posting. Another hurdle I still have to overcome is the feeling of “someone else has already written about this, and they’re probably a better writer”. Finally, I learned that if I wanted to purely blog for attention, I should write everyday about distributed companies and working from home – my posts about those topics get 10x more traffic than any others.

30 day blogging challenge: Week 4