THE OMNI-WEB  -  Monday November 29th, 2010
Last June I completed an architectural novella (Scatterbrain: A Cautionary Tale, available free from Speculative Publications), the narrative of which revolved largely around a ubiquitous high-speed Internet. By ubiquitous, I mean literally an omnipresent web, covering equally every square mile of the planet. The vision was not one of my far-fetched ones. In fact, through fault of miscommunication, I was already under the impression that geo-stationary satellites were delivering wide swathes of Internet to rural homes and isolated locations. I simply projected a few years into the future and said, well, what if you could get Internet everywhere? Underground, in the middle of the Atlantic, etc – how would that further change our relationship to technology?

So you can imagine my consternation and delight at discovering that last Friday the first satellite dedicated to delivering Internet to Europe was launched. The Hylas (Highly Adaptable Satellite) is the wobbly first step, one presumes, of an infant era that will develop into omnipresent connection. Almost simultaneously, I heard that O3b, a Google-backed company that plans to provide satellite internet to the developing world, has finally found the money they need to get their $1billion network project off the ground (so to speak).

To tackle the idea from another point of view: one of the last refuges in the city where there is absolutely no Internet is the Tube. Even iPads, Kindles and Blackberries are not that common to see being flaunted about – there’s simply not that much to do on one without the web. This divine subterranean isolation from the informatic world (a sensation of protection akin, I imagine, to that of dodging the Luftwaffe’s bombs) is now slated to end. Sooner or later we will be doomed/blessed to live in completely augmented realities – not just in cities, but everywhere. Couple this development with futuristic floating holographic screens (the first thing I’m going to do with one of these puppies is project the Death Star into my London Ice Cave) and the not-so-distant future of Minority Report (Microsoft Kinect hack) doesn’t sound so implausible.

In conclusion, as a blog dedicated to tracking the emerging future (or the recently emerged present) the launch of this satellite is a major, but silent, milestone in the digital development of Western society in the new millennial age…

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