Monday, February 29, 2016

A Brief Thought about 5G

While every now and again people keep trying to encourage the idea of the "internet of things," I have another notion as to what will happen there.  I think that many of these peripherals - specifically, household and personal effects - will be merged into the return of the PAN.  Whether anyone actually calls it a Personal Area Network is irrelevant - though I suspect that the term will be avoided because it will ring in the minds of some as old tech, which, for the sake of marketing, is automatically bad. 
Improvements in battery life are usually cancelled out by expectations by hardware and software makers of more battery power to consume, but I think that wireless earbuds could become a thing, since there's a practical upper limit to what an ear-scaled speaker need to do. 
Fitbit and other biometric monitoring devices seem to have a niche. 
Smart watches will become practical if they can get their price down below 25% of their paired phone (as opposed to their current ~100%). 
While it might be nice to adjust your thermostat without getting up, do you really need to be able to do it from work?  Maybe that's not the best example, but how many household items are they trying to make internet-capable when you really don't need to be able to use them from more than 3 meters past your front door? 
Oh, and they're trying to make keyless entry an app on your phone, so there's that. 
So yeah, don't think of it as an internet of things.  Think of 5G as the return of the PAN. 

Sudden Short Story 105

"It's quite cosmopolitan, don't you think?" he asked her, as they both looked around. 
"It's almost like a marketplace, but without the scarcity," she replied. 
So many races were here that it was hard to decide with whom to interact first.  There were even pattern-beings propagating themselves along the walls! 
The couple wandered through the area, looking around excitedly, until he felt her tug on his hand. 
"I'm sorry," she said as he turned around.  Starting with her left eye, she began to turn to stone.  "Despite my training, I thought of that place, all those star-ages ago." 
He embraced her suddenly, then pulled back to look into her eyes.  One last tear ran out of his left eye as he, too, began to turn to stone.  "It was called Earth." 
"Why did you think of it, too?" she asked.  "You could have made it."  Those were her final words, as the left half of her face turned to stone, and it raced down her left half. 
"What would have been the point of that?  Now, neither of us has to be alone.  I just hope that someone thinks to preserve the statues that once were the last humans." 
Stone raced down his left, too, and finally crossed her line of symmetry.  They positioned what parts of themselves they could carefully, so that they stood stably, and so that they would hold each other forever. 
Her last sight was of his stone left eye, and his of hers. 

Sudden Short Story 104

He and his opponent were playing a deckbuilder this time.  There came a time when they both had their decks in their shufflers, and he asked, "Do you suppose, in hindsight, that it was wrong of me to make you?" 
"How do you mean?" it replied. 
"Well, I created an artificial general intelligence for the purpose of being my opponent in games, but now it's self-aware.  Is it right to create sentience for such a purpose?  Or for any purpose?" 
It reached for its deck, but seemed to move more slowly as it processed these questions of ethics.  "I suppose," it replied, "that, as long as you did not intend to create sentience, then the only question is whether you should have been more cautious about what you were doing, to avoid creating sentience.  I am, after all, the only known sentient to have such a sense of purpose."  After a pause, it asked, "Is it bad to not have to have sought it myself?  Or is it good to not have the risk of squandering my entire existence seeking purpose, as so many of your people once did?" 
"You raise good questions," he replied.  He thought for a moment, shuffling idly, even though the shuffler had done that job for him.  "When you find out, let me know."