Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm Waiting For Web 4.0, DAMMIT!

By Lon S. Cohen

I’m skipping right to Web 4.0. I like Web 2.0 so much that I’m going to wait for Web 4.0 to roll out before I upgrade my stuff. That’s the day when the Internet will ingrain itself into my real world in such a way that it will be virtually inseparable from my environment and approach a certain Artificial Intelligence aspect, the total integration of the Internet into all my appliances.

I want the Web 4.0 house. I want my refrigerator to send me an email when the filter in the water dispenser is low. Better yet, I want to set the preferences on my refrigerator to order me a new filter when it needs to be replaced and then email me an alert to expect the filter to arrive in the mail by UPS and by the way here’s the tracking number and here is where that package is in transit right now. Same for the air filters in my forced hot air system. What about my light bulbs in my recessed lighting? Why the hell am I still counting mileage on my car against a stupid little plastic sticker on my windshield to know when I need an oil change? I want the car to send an email to me: Excuse me master, but my oil needs changing.

If some Luddite finds this disturbing I say get a dog. Dogs are great at having you guess what the heck they want. They’re unpredictable and it takes time to train them. Better yet, have kids. Those are some Web 1.0 little units. They don’t do ANYTHING by themselves, true analogs.

I ask this question of myself all the time: Why do I have to stick my DVD into my computer to access the web content? With WiFi technology and a simple operating system loaded with a browser interface, my DVD player can show me the content right after I watch the movie. (Advertisers are you listening because then you know exactly my tastes by what DVD I was watching and can target those banner ads accordingly.)

Here’s another question I ask myself: Why can’t my stove give me access to the latest recipes when I am feeling inspired to cook like Emeril while watching the show on TV? I can tell my stove to access one of many websites where I can find recipes and then get a list of ingredients emailed to me or better yet WiFi the information to the printer directly. That way I can run out and get exactly what I need. There’s probably a thousand brands out there who would love to be the exclusive sponsor so when my list prints it doesn’t simply say to buy butter but Land O’ Lakes butter.

It’s like movie product placement but in your real life. And when is it too much networking? Does my lamp or my cheese grater really need a WiFi connection?

Probably not, but that would be cool.

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