"In computing, the vision always precedes the reality by a decade or more. The pattern has held true from the personal computer to the Internet, as it takes time, brainpower and investment to conquer the scientific and economic obstacles to nudging a game-changing technology toward the mainstream.Comment: I certainly agree with the author that techies tend to assume that technology will develop more quickly and have more rapid social and economic impact than they do. I certainly did decades ago when I was one. It also seems to me that in retrospect, information and communication technological advances have had greater long term impact more rapidly than I imagined or could have imagined.
"The same pattern, according to scientists in universities and corporate laboratories, is unfolding in the field of sensor-based computing. Years ago, enthusiasts predicted the coming of “smart dust” — tiny digital sensors, strewn around the globe, gathering all sorts of information and communicating with powerful computer networks to monitor, measure and understand the physical world in new ways. But this intriguing vision seemed plucked from the realm of science fiction."
Developing low cost, maintenance free sensors should certainly make our Internet-linked computers more tuned in to the real world, and thus more helpful. I suspect that there will be a delay as institutions change to enable the potential in the new technology to be utilized. How long will it take our medical systems, for example, to take advantage of the potential to monitor health-related behavior and biomedical data on a real time basis in ambulatory patients and to utilize the technology to automatically provide feedback to encourage healthy behavior?