Are we there yet?
The gap between our digital lives and our physical lives is narrowing. The data we collect and publish about ourselves appears sooner and sooner after the event itself: camera and mobile phones upload photos directly to the web, text blurbs about our activity are published instantaneously via text message, acquaintances made in person soon appear in your online social networks, our conversations are enriched by instantaneous question and answer sessions with vast archives of human knowledge and opinion.
Everything we want to share, and some things we don’t, will be shared more and more immediately as technology improves. What happens as this gap approaches zero? How will it change our lives?
Your physical activities will be perceived in real-time by watchers in your social network, wherever they are. Intermittent connections like voice calls and written messages will be replaced by continuous flows of information between people.
How will we process this information? Will we give our sensory organs over entirely to computer input, and let them combine physical and digital into a seamless reality? Or will they come to us, presenting information in the physical world in ways which fit naturally into our lives?
To paraphrase William Gibson, our future lives are already here: we just can’t conveniently access them yet.