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24 DigiCULT
A R
ADAR
ON
D
EVELOPMENTS
IN
A
MBIENT
I
NTELLIGENCE
T
ECHNOLOGIES
D
uring the expedition, our radar sets detect-
ed a number of interesting developments
in some of the technologies deemed rele-
vant in innovative applied RTD towards systems and
applications for cultural heritage and cultural partic-
ipation (cf. table on p. 19). Due to space constraints,
we cannot address all technologies and, even for those
selected, the descriptions must be kept short. The
overview is based on a variety of literature, in partic-
ular roadmaps that associations, consortia, individu-
al players and projects in different ICT domains have
published in the last few years.
We thought it useful to provide a broad picture of
technological concepts, likely achievements, and fore-
seeable impacts that may shape and re-shape the dig-
ital landscape in the next ten years. Some of the
developments described may even seem far removed
from what currently counts as relevant for heritage
organisations, but a radar scan would be wrongly
adjusted if it did not show strange objects a ship may
run into. For example, reflecting on a symposium
on future digital libraries sponsored by the Nation-
al Science Foundation, Clifford Lynch, the head of
the US-based Coalition for Networked Information,
acknowledges the enormous progress made in digit-
al libraries, but urges recognition of `the limitations
of a research program focusing on digital libraries
as we understand them today'. He insists: `We must
be careful not to overly-emphasize the parts of this
knowledge ecosystem that are familiar, that we are
comfortable with intellectually, socially and econom-
ically, to the exclusion of the new, the unfamiliar, the
disturbing, the confusing.'
32
The overview includes local and wider-area infor-
mation and communication systems, devices and
applications visitors of heritage buildings or sites may
carry with them, as well as new interfaces and modes
of interaction they would expect when they come
to (or pass by) a museum, gallery, archive, library,
historic city centre or other larger heritage area.
The rationale behind the overview is that heritage
organisations failing to adopt such systems, applica-
tions and interfaces according to their service objec-
tives (e.g. exhibitions or other opportunities to learn
about and experience heritage) may become blind-
spots in the future AmI landscape. Therefore, they
may want to prepare strategically for this landscape
in order to become part of it in a conscious and
planned way.
Preparing for the developments described below
ensures that boards and directors, ICT project manag-
ers, curators of digital collections, virtual exhibitions
and environments have them on their radar screens.
Plans for major investments in digital infrastruc-
tures, services and applications for online and on-
site deployment should take into account the relevant
developments. Which could lead to opportunities for
participation in `experience prototyping' projects that
develop AmI services and applications in order to
gain first-hand know-how, putting these institutions
among the first who attract on-site and online visi-
tors with compelling new experiences.
In the following sections we will proceed from
micro-level physical up to Semantic Web technologies.
M
ICROPROCESSORS
, S
YSTEMS
-
ON
-
C
HIP
(S
O
C)
AND
MASSIVE
DATA
STORAGE
W
e have already entered the `post-PC' era of
ubiquitous computing.
33
Computing start-
ed with one (mainframe) computer for many people,
became one computer per person (the personal com-
puter), and now means many computers per person.
For every PC that is sold there are over 100 micro-
processors being embedded in all sorts of things in
our environment. In the next five to ten years this
ratio will skyrocket even further.
34
In the past four decades microprocessors have
shown a dramatic development, which more or less
corresponds to `Moore's law', which states that the
complexity of circuits on a silicon chip should double
about about every 18 months for the same price.
35
This development is expected to continue for sever-
al chip generations, as predicted by the International
Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (2003).
36
According to assessments by the major companies,
`Moore's law' may slow towards 2010, but the reduc-
tion in cost per function on the chip would continue
at the same rate (approx. 30 per cent per year).
Overall, the base CMOS (complementary metal
oxide semiconductor) technology seems to have a lot
of life left in it. It is expected to dominate the digital
32
Clifford Lynch,
"Reflections Towards the
Development of a ,Post-
DL` Research Agenda.
Wave of the Future", NSF
Post Digital Library Futures
Workshop, 15-16 June
2003. http://www.sis.pitt.
edu/~dlwkshop/paper_
lynch.html
33
An excellent overview
of research activities in
ubiquitous computing is
available at UK-UbiNet.
http://www-dse.doc.ic.ac.
uk/Projects/UbiNet/
links.html
34
Fistera (Foresight
on Information Society
Technologies in the
European Research
Area), "Disruptions ahead
- Disappearance of the
Computer" (2004). http://
fistera.telecomitalialab.
com/disruptions.htm
35
A detailed discussion
of `Moore's Law' by Ilkka
Tuomi describes the several
reinterpretations of Gordon
Moore's prediction from
1965, and gives ample
proof that the factual devel-
opment of microprocessors
corresponded to none of
them. See Ilkka Tuomi,
"The Lives and Death
of Moore's Law" in First
Monday, vol.7, no. 11,
November 2002. http://
www.firstmonday.dk/
issues/issue7_11/tuomi/
For a somewhat different
view, see Jon `Hannibal'
Stokes, "Understanding
Moore`s Law". http://
arstechnica.com/paedia/m/
moore/moore-1.html
36
International Technology
Roadmap for Semiconductors,
2003 Edition, Executive
summary. http://public.itrs.
net/Files/2003ITRS/
Home2003.htm
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