"Social Awareness" To Replace Social Networking

The Internet of Things is fast approaching and with it comes Web 3.0, where "social awareness" will replace "social networking." Soon tweets and status updates will become fully automated and generated by the world around us versus us ever having to touch a keyboard again.

Ambient intelligence systems are being developed with sensors and smart objects that will instantaneously create awareness about our whereabouts. This data will then be shared with our social networking and messaging platforms. Our friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter will be alerted automatically without us ever having to manually tweet or post a status update.

Achilles KameasAchilles KameasAchilles Kameas, a senior researcher at the Research Academic Computer Technology Institute (raCTI) of Patras, Greece coordinated the EU-funded ASTRA project which brought together researchers from multiple disciplines, including psychology, interaction design, knowledge engineering and computer science. Their mission is to take social networking to the next level.

Internet of ThingsInternet of ThingsIn my past blogs, I have written about the Internet of Things and Semantic Technology where Web 3.0 will eventually no longer need the input of humans, because all the content warehoused from the Web 2.0 era will be able to data-mined by machines and use when needed .

Users of a social networking platform based on the ASTRA approach would no longer need to post status updates manually to let their family know what they are doing or where they are. Surrounded by smart objects and sensors in their home or office, the system will continually update their status information, automatically telling friends that they are unavailable to receive a phone call while they are busy cooking or that they do not want to be disturbed during a business meeting.

This video gives you a glimpse of the future which is just around the corner. The ASTRA project examines "social awareness" and how it extends the primary tenets of social networking that addresses our need to stay in touch with family and friends or to be reassured regarding our own well-being.

According to Kameas, creating mobile apps is the next step in the "social awareness" process and consumer electronics manufacturer Phillips and mobile operator Telenor are presently conducted trials of the ASTRA technology.  So soon there'll be an app for that!

The response of test users, Kameas says, "has been generally positive, although many have raised concerns about privacy and security issues." In that regard, the Kameas notes that the system is similar to Facebook and other online services in that users can choose how much information they share and with whom.

The researchers developed their approach based on the so-called focus-nimbus model to determine what information is shared and what is received by different people in a social network. A Psych Central report states that "in this context, a person’s nimbus consists of the type, amount and detail of information they want to share with others, while their focus contains the type and amount of information they choose to receive from others, including their reaction to the person’s nimbus."

In an ITC Results report, Kameas notes, “it’s like a window. You can leave it wide open, pull the curtain, or close the blinds. Then, what you choose to put on display in the window, be it content or an activity, can be seen by others.”

So the future is here, my friends. As long as it took us to get to Web 2.0, like everything else in life, we will soon be seeing it fade into our rear-view mirrors. It will be interesting however to see whether Twitter, Facebook and the other social networks transition into this brave new world, or whether they'll be stuck in a time warp, unable to adapt to the change!

See you on the other side!