Are You a Victim of Ubiquitous Computing?
We are probably one of the last generations that will see a blend between the era of non-computing and the world of ubiquitous computing. Ubiquitous computing—anywhere, anytime computing—is on the rise. It started initially with specific disciplines, such as education, creating online and virtual classrooms where you could flexibly learn from the comfort of your home without the need of a physical teacher.
It has slowly and steadily spread its wings into almost all disciplines and has experienced growth in mobile, social, cloud, wearable computing, and the Internet of Things. We now live in a connected world—a world where patients in remote villages can reach out to doctors in cities, you can monitor and manage your home from miles away, and you can transact with a bank without being physically present. The list is endless, thanks to ubiquitous computing.
Staying connected in today’s world is not a challenge. The true challenge is whether you can stay disconnected in a connected world. The Bank of America Trends in Consumer Mobility Report shows some alarming numbers. A significant percent of people admit to sleeping with their smartphones and reaching for it first thing in the morning. The study also helps respondents gauge whether their mobile phone usage is tending towards being obsessive. Computer science courses that specialize in mobile and ubiquitous computing are even on the rise.
While the benefits of anywhere, anytime computing are numerous, there are new and invisible risks that cannot be ignored. How may times have we heard concerns about the security, privacy, and health of users when it comes to pervasive computing? We even hear about the common beliefs that we've built as a society, such as how much we rely on technology. New dangers from malware and how they impact societies are very concerning. These are real concerns in today’s world, and in situations such as these, you are a victim of ubiquitous computing.
And if we think we are already ubiquitous, the potential is not even half-realized. A study by Internet.org shows that only 40 percent of the world’s population has ever connected to the Internet, whereas over 90 percent of them live within the range of a mobile network. As organizations tap into this potential in the coming years, we will certainly need to do our part to minimize the chances of being victimized and leverage ubiquitous computing sensibly to enjoy the digital and offline worlds.