10 April 2007

You can parse words electronically on a massive scale and you end up with the insidious (but on the whole beneficial) rationalising side-effects that we've seen as the internet grows. But things like photos and videos are harder to search through or exchange unless they've been tagged, like in flickr or on YouTube. And although OCR and voice, face and image recognition is helping, what about if you could tag actual things in the real world? With geotagging there settles a layer of virtual gloss over GPS coordinates. And with RFID the metaphor comes full circle and you literally do attach tags to actual things.

Last month the EU decided not to regulate RFID technology for the time being, brightly heralding "the 'internet of things' in which the internet does not only link computers and communications terminals, but potentially any of our daily surrounding objects – be they clothes, consumer goods, etc." Oh brave offline world, that has such people in't.

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