In 2006, co-authors Robert Scoble and Shel Israel wrote Naked Conversations, a book that persuaded businesses to embrace what we now call social media. Six years later they have teamed up again to report that social media is but one of five converging forces that promise to change virtually every aspect of our lives. You know these other forces already: mobile, data, sensors and location-based technology. Combined with social media they form a new generation of personalized technology that knows us better than our closest friends. Armed with that knowledge our personal devices can anticipate what we'll need next and serve us better than a butler or an executive assistant. The resulting convergent superforce is so powerful that it is ushering in an era the authors call the Age of Context.
In this new era, our devices know when to wake us up early because it snowed last night; they contact the people we are supposed to meet with to warn them we're running late. They even find content worth watching on television. They also promise to cure cancer and make it harder for terrorists to do their damage. Astoundingly, in the coming age you may only receive ads you want to see. Scoble and Israel have spent more than a year researching this book. They report what they have learned from interviewing more than a hundred pioneers of the new technology and by examining hundreds of contextual products.
What does it all mean? How will it change society in the future? The authors are unabashed tech enthusiasts, but as they write, an elephant sits in the living room of our book and it is called privacy. We are entering a time when our technology serves us best because it watches us; collecting data on what we do, who we speak with, what we look at. There is no doubt about it: Big Data is watching you. The time to lament the loss of privacy is over. The authors argue that the time is right to demand options that enable people to reclaim some portions of that privacy.
©2013 Shel Israel (P)2013 Shel Israel
Robert Scoble spends his life visiting the most innovative technology companies and talking to the most visionary entrepreneurs. In the Age of Context he distills what he has learnt into predictions of how technology will impact the world and the way we live. The changes are revolutionary, the opportunities are vast and the threats to privacy, very worrying.
It is a very interesting and stimulating read. I would recommend it to anyone whose job is dependent on understanding how the Internet and technology will evolve and what impact it will have on our lives. Not all the predictions will become reality, but if only half are correct the impact will still be huge.
I may listen to this book again but only to review some of the ideas and thoughts on automation
"An excellent, quick read"
I can strongly recommend this book with a significant caveat. You must read it within the next year or so. Since the focus is so bleeding-edge, it’s many specific company and product references are aging very quickly. In fact, in the ~6 months since publication, there are already a handful of dated references that remind you how rapidly this industry is evolving.
Beyond that, it’s very competently written. There are plenty of stimulating examples and conjecture for the hardcore tech enthusiast, while still being accessible for the interested layman.
From a vision perspective, I think Scoble and Israel largely get things right, although some of their timelines might be a little optimistic. Companies seem to be progressing a little more slowly in developing competent analytics than many would expect. But then, futurists seem to consistently overestimate software advancements – writing intelligent, context-aware software is proving challenging.
In conclusion, this is a great listen, but make sure you can get to it before it’s stack of supporting examples gets too stale.
"Great content by a great narrator!"
Technically relevant geekinfo.
I especially enjoyed the section on Google glass and how most people are initially opposed to it until they wear one and within 5 mins they want to own one.
Robert Scoble's persona really resonated with me via Jeffrey Kafer. I felt as though Robert was really speaking.
No. I listened to this book while commuting to work and on two plane flights. I prefer to consume audio books in small snippets so I can contemplate what the content is about. Especially with technical content such as this. I even found myself going back and re-listening to some sections to clarify some questions I had.
I enjoyed the book content and narrator. Jeffrey Kafer has a clear and concise voice that is well suited for many book styles. Thank You Jeff!
"Hopefully this technology is "3 Laws Safe""
As a lover of technology and a fan of the Jetsons I enjoyed this book. This book is about the future as well as the present. The technology discussed in this book is both exciting as well as scary.
"Interesting But Short Shelf Life"
Scobel and Israel are a top IT reporting team. Maybe THE top team. They have an intriguing curiosity, wonderful access, and an ability to translate tech complexities into colloquial English. But, high tech becomes old tech at blinding speed. I finished this listen on 6/15/14. A lot of their material was… well think of a banana. You know how quick the yellow ones become brown? We'll this banana was flecked when I read it, on the way to brown.
I'm guessing the expiration date for Age Of Context is probably 10/14 or 11/14 at the latest. Get it while it's fresh, huh?
Jeffery Kafer's a good fit for the read he helped me enjoy the listen.
"Interesting and entertaining"
It gave a good overview of the trends in technology shaping future society.
The whole aspect of context - the trend towards the weaving together of data and information from different sources and contexts giving a whole new dimension to our lives.
It was a pleasure to listen to, and although many subjects dealt with in the book - like self-driving cars and Google glasses - are well known novelties by now, the book dealt in depth with the possible implications of these different new technologies.
"Fascinating. It's like I, Robot...only real!"
By far, the content was the most enticing aspect of this. I actually had volunteered to listen to this, thinking it was fiction (my fault for not reading the description more carefully) and was initially surprised to find it non-fiction...but the content of this non-fiction feels so much like reality blending in with science fiction that it held my attention raptly the whole way through.
Completely fascinating material. Science-fiction becoming reality in ways that can only make your jaws drop.
I have heard samples of Jeffrey Kafer's performances, but not a long-form as this one. Jeffrey does a great job of delivering the content in a way that draws you in and engrosses you in the material so smoothly that I sometimes found myself forgetting it wasn't him that wrote this!
wanted to, but time didn't allow. It's one of those that you wish your drive was longer so you could keep listening.
I would recommend this book to just about anyone!
"An interesting look into the future of technology"
Yes, I would listen to Age of Contest again. I'm not the biggest fan of non-fiction books but Jefferey Kafer was able to keep me interested.
I was very interested in the section about advances of Context as it relates to the medical field. As someone who has a family history of cancer, any kind of advance detection is a benefit to me.
I liked the way Mr. Kafer kept me engaged in the story. As this was non fiction, the content could have been 'dry' but Mr. Kafer's narrating kept me entertained.
The future is closer then you think
"Context is everything"
Takes the trends of social media, sensors, and other technologies and shows how the age of context is driving huge paradigm shifts in the way we interact with our gadgets and each other. Scobles and Israel bring great insight to the discussion due to their deep knowledge of technology and business.
"Age of Personalized Technology"
If you know something about Big Data, this is the next book to read. The authors are knowledgeable and engrossed in technology and convey well how we're entering an age of personalized technology (e.g., your phone knows when you're home and reminds you of your tasks). I would skip the last chapter, which is fanciful thinking from the authors of what they expect to see in the year 2038.
"A great challenge issued to us all"
I did not read the print version, but felt the audio version was terrific.
He seemed to really capture the voice of the authors.
This is an incredibly thought-provoking read. Exciting and terrifying at once.
While some of this book is futuristic, a good portion of what is illuminated is already here. The authors have provided great context for many of the current and coming innovations. There is something for everyone interested in grasping the changes headed our way.
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