Web 2.0, Ubiquity, Sustainability and Consumer Rights
July 11th, 2008

Ubiquity and sustainability could turbocharge each other“, with these words Alex Steffen starts another thought provoking column on Worldchanging.

The Net and the public square, as Castells wrote, are symbiants. That symbiosis makes informatics — the understanding of how people use technology to interact with information — a critical field in sustainable design. And if you’re looking to get a nice, quick taste of the cutting edge of informatics, I really enjoyed Matt Jones and Tom Coates’ presentation, Polite, Pertinent and Pretty. (..)

In a talk exploring their own work, Matt and Tom look at the proliferation of data sources in our lives: personal sensors, direct reporting, environmental sensors, bureaucratic files, attention records, networked objects, and “ambient information” about our daily habits, etc. Because these sources can be connected into a web of data though services and APIs and “in this connected space, every piece of data you can open up can be combined with everything that already exists,” there are phenomenal opportunities available to help people understand their lives and choices in new and empowering ways

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