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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Microstory 928: The Materianet

I have to start this off by explaining what the word “materianet” means. It’s just the internet of things, but with a more succinct name. I’ve always hated the conventional term for the concept, because it sounds so childish, and on the nose. I don’t need it to be sexy, or trademarked, but come on...“internet of things”? Why did we all just allow that to happen? I propose this new term. It still describes what it is, and differentiates it from the more traditional form of internet, which is presently in its Web 2.0 state. The original world wide web was designed for basic communication only. Someone put information on a website, and people could go look at that information. There was some room for response, or collaboration, but for the most part, it was static. Now collaboration is the whole purpose. Even more static websites, like Wikipedia, require the input of millions of people. You’re always logged in, connecting accounts to other accounts, and leverage your social circles to crowdsource data. That is/was Web 2.0, but now it’s time for the next step. The materianet marks the beginning of Web 3.0. Those early elements are still there, but we’re starting to access them in new ways. It used to be a family had a single computer that everyone had to share. Then, individuals began owning their own machines independently. But now we each have multiple devices. A single person in the developed world will sometimes use several ways of connecting. They’ll have a desktop for long-term tasks at home, or at work, a laptop for portable long-term tasks, a phone for spontaneous needs, a tablet to play games while they’re on the toilet, and a smartwatch for convenience and behavior tracking. Google came out with niche glasses that were a bit ahead of their time, but are recently making a comeback, and a few companies are working on other types of glasses and goggles, so a few people have things like that too. And again, this is just all one person who owns all this, and few question those choices. Go back to 1960 and list all the computers you have to someone, and they’ll think you’re lying. Now things are expanding even more. Coincidentally, I just received my Google Home Mini speaker last night; free from a new wind energy program I signed up for. This uses extremely limited artificial intelligence to answer questions, keep track of my schedule and favorites, and even make jokes. There are tons of useful auxiliaries that the people who were working on the early internet could only dream of, if that. It can control personal security cameras, lights, thermostat, this machine that heats baby bottles to the optimum temperature, and more. We will one day be able to control everything we have in the home from a phone, or a smaller form factor, like electronic clothing. I haven’t even mentioned how much smarter cars are becoming, or how virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality, as well as true artificial intelligence, are already giving us glimpses of what may someday be called Web 4.0. So thank you materianet, or whatever your name is, for making my life easier, and keeping me connected to all my things. I can’t wait to watch you grow.

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