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What does ambient data mean for the future of social networking?

2 min read

Marketing Strategy

It’s a fact: human beings are better than any automated system at understanding what other human beings want. That’s really the only reason SmartBrief on Social Media exists — because the Internet is packed to the rafters with content and the best way to find the stuff that interests you is to ask another person to find it. You can try setting up an RSS feed or an e-mail alert or any number of other tools, but they’re all going to be less reliable than a person who thinks like you. That’s why social networks can be so overwhelming at times. Try as they might, those systems just don’t know what you need at a given moment.

I say that like it’s an iron-clad law of the Internet — and for now that might well be the case. But maybe not forever.  Edo Segal argues that the day is coming when you won’t get your information from me or from a mindless robot, but from the context in which you find yourself. Information will be streamed to you based on who you are, who you’re with, where you are and what you’re doing, he argues. We won’t have to ask for more information. It will simply appear before us when when we find ourselves in a position where it would be useful. Eventually, he predicts, we’ll get to the point where information will be its own persistent sense, an ambient data stream that you can pick up or ignore at will. You don’t ask your nose what the room smells like. You just know. And if Edo Segal has his way, someday the Internet will be no different.

Are you excited by the idea of an ambient data stream? Terrified? How will businesses adapt to this? How many years do you think I should wait before I start looking for another line of work?