It will be hard for any interaction designer to read Adam Greenfield‘s Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing without feeling like the work we’re doing now is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
A combination call-to-arms, overview, and prophecy, Everyware is a frightening, but engaging, read. Several times throughout the book, I simply wanted to shut its covers, as though that alone would stop its predictions and reportage from coming or being true (smart toilets!). But, as Greenfield lays out with a pretty convincing case, ubicomp is coming whether we want it to or not, and designers, engineers, and politicians simply can’t ignore it. It will be too powerful and too potentially invasive. Its consequences are too great.
A number of books lately, including this one and Shaping Things, have presented a remarkable view of the near future, a near future that we are going to have to help shape. I hope we’re ready, although I know we’re not.