How Ubicomp Is Influencing Big Data and AI

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In this special guest feature, Arnab Mukherjee, Co-Founder and CTO at ZineOne Inc., discusses how ubiquitous computing, otherwise known as ‘ubicomp’ is not a completely new idea. It’s a concept in software engineering and computer science where computing is made to appear anytime and everywhere. Arnab has 20+ years of experience building enterprise technology platforms. Before starting ZineOne, he was head of Kana’s North American Engineering Team. Prior to that he was architect of Oracle Fusion Middleware Data Layer. Arnab was also a founding team member of Turfview, which was sold to ICTEAS.

When HAL 9000 was first conceptualized in the late 60s novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, the idea of a computer that could control your surroundings, communicate, interpret emotions, and recognize faces was considered something that could only exist in a futuristic science fiction fantasy.

Today, that fictionalized use of computing is fast becoming a reality. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are deeply woven into our daily routines—where we go, what we eat, when we are and aren’t home, and what we buy. Many of us are unaware of just how much our lives are affected by these technologies because they fit so seamlessly into our day-to-day. This seamless integration is made possible by the emergence of ubiquitous computing.

What is ubiquitous computing?

While computing hasn’t yet reached the dystopian fiction of computer chips embedded under our skin feeding images directly to our brains, computing is all around us, whether we are looking at a device or not. Unlike our general understanding of computing as actively engaging with a computer, phone, or television console, ubiquitous computing means that modes of computer interaction and data extraction are happening during seemingly mundane tasks such as driving, buying coffee, and entering or leaving our homes.

Ubiquitous computing has made it possible for our homes, credit cards, and even our refrigerators to sense and collect information about us. These drops of information feed tremendous big data sets, which in turn analyze trends and interactions, before returning that information to us through new interactions—movie recommendations, optimized driving routes, and phone defaults that predict our behavior, to name a few.

How do big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence work with ubiquitous computing?

In the scenario above, big data, machine learning, and AI are working in harmony to create the conveniences we have slowly become so accustomed to. We allow our information to be collected and feed these massive data streams, which in turn enable our computers to learn more about our routines, adapt to our preferences, and predict our behaviors. In return, our lives become frictionless—instant alerts when necessities run low, one-click ordering, voice commands, smart music playlists, and more. Your computer predicts your needs before you even have the opportunity to forget.

How are these technologies interacting to change computing?

The rise of big data, machine learning, and AI paved the way for ubiquitous computing, but now, ubiquitous computing has become foundational in its own right. Without the means to collect the granular data ubiquitous computing provides, we wouldn’t be able to get the complete picture that enables machines to adapt and truly build intelligence. These four important components of technology have created a network benefit. Big data, machine learning, and AI wouldn’t be able to evolve at the speed they need to if not for the pervasiveness of computing.

Today, these technologies continue to feed each other, transforming steady growth into exponential growth. They also open doors to new, innovative interactions between people and their surroundings. For all organizations to thrive, they need to tap into this incredible resource so they can connect more deeply with their user base and constantly adapt and fine-tune their messaging and services to meet changing needs.


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