Cognitive Environments as a starting point for Ambient Computing Platforms

This interesting news attracted my reading list last days: IBM Research and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Pioneer Next-Generation Cognitive Environments for Business Decision Making ( ).
This has been published in correspondence with the launch of  New Cognitive and Immersive Systems Lab at RPI that aims to Help Advance More Natural Collaborative  Interactions Among Humans and Machines

Cognitive Environments represent a new way computation will be consumed in the next future in a number of contexts that the announcement itself refers as futuristic “Situations Rooms” that typically host decision processes that involves 1 or more humans, Into the announcement are provided a number of examples of situation rooms such as: Boardrooms, Design Studios, Diagnosis Rooms and Immersive Classrooms. All these contexts are designed to surface new ways to improve how people work together.

IBM Research is working on cognitive environments from several angles visioning a world in which in a given room multiple specialized “cogs” live each one providing sort of form of intelligent behaviors, collaborating each others and with humans  through natural user interfaces that are in a specific environment to support decisions.
I was personally lucky to visit the IBM Research cognitive environment pilot in Yorktown, close to New York, and it it is impressive.
(See this TED talk of IBM Research Dario Gill describing this research area

A part this technical evolution all of this brings my mind to recognize a major trend that I would like to call Ambient  Computing as a next generation of platforms that will not only host a cognitive environment but will advance IT in overall by blending  a number of new and old IT concepts.

The underline question is: how this high distributed environment could be at the extreme, blending computation, data, information. knowledge and wisdom?

The natural thing I see comparable to this is our Ambient (or the Air, if you think): computation will be intangible like the air we breath. An Ambient computing platform will host cognitive environments like the ones mentioned before. An “ambient computing platform” will be at the bases of every real environment, both at personal and business level. It will be the sum of all personal devices (real and virtual entities) that will interact and operate at the aggregated level.

Our house will be, for instance, an Ambient Computing platform to support activities and decisions of all family members and temporary house hosts. Devices that are targeting the “family” as a whole, rather then “individuals”
as traditional computers, for instance, like Jibo (the social robot) or NEO, and others will live and operate in an Ambient Computing.

Our car will be an Ambient Computing Platform that will blend not only the self-drive ability but all other computational and intelligence mechanisms that are in the car or will enter into that environment in a given context, interacting with humans in multiple forms.

We will wear a personal Ambient Computer that will travel with us as individual and once entering into a car or into an house our personal Ambient Computing platform will be merged with other Ambient computing platforms
that are in that environments.

A stadium, a concert, a train trip, an flight and hundreds of permanent and temporary environments you can easily figure out will appear as multiple aggregated Ambient  Computing Platforms: they will be the result of the merge of all level Ambient  Computing platforms that are in that environment.

Which is the result and which are the new value that an Ambient Computing Platform will provide with respect current IT platforms? The possibility to work at the aggregated level, as a whole, and no more in knowledge silos or trough the integration of knowledge silos. At the aggregated level if you consider complex environments like a stadium or a concert or a train an Ambient Computing Platform will provide the stage for new companies that will develop new kind of services and a new IT market will emerge.

For instance in a stadium you could think that all information and data collected by all participants about the event running in a given moment will be available to all (videos, chats, opinions, hardware resource, etc.) so new kind of companies will leverage that information and data to re-image services: instantTV, instantRadio or, simply, having the possibility to have a wireless battery recharge in a peer-to-peer model, etc.

So, for those of you that read Flatland ( Ambient Computing is like shifting a dimension: in geometry like thinking in terms of Lines and and no more in terms of Dots,  or thinking in 3 dimensional terms like a Square instead of lines..

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