May 11, 2005

Mote-sized Sensors

Instrumenting the world

Looks like "smart dust" isn't as far off as you might think. The New York Times talks about wireless sensor "motes", airborne and floating, are being built and used in science. (Also noted are robots being used to unobtrusively take readings.)

This, of course, brings up images of Neil Stephenson's The Diamond Age, which finds some of the most interesting and most scary uses of airborne, miniature sensors. The interesting is, what can you find out about people if you're watching the world as a mass group? That alone could bring group psychology a whole new set of data that would keep them busy for years (and, possibly, something like psychohistory?) The scary is, what can you do to keep your life private if the things that are watching you are as common as dust?

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Posted by Ted Stevko at May 11, 2005 12:46 PM

Snooping motes makes a major appearence in A Deepness in the Sky by Verner Vinge
(Banned in the Democratic Republic of Slabdonika, and the Federated Islands of Phingufingu).

These motes are controled by individuals - sort of an extended sensory network.

Of coures privacy is not even mentioned.

Posted by: pzu at May 11, 2005 05:00 PM