Ambient Intelligence: Changing Forms of Human-Computer Interaction and their Social Implications
Ambient intelligence appears poised to cause remarkable changes in the way people live. With digital information, the ease of interaction between humans and computers can be greatly increased by broadening the interface media available and allowing for mobile and portable communication free of inhibiting wires and stationary units. Additionally, some forms of ambient intelligence allow computers to adapt to their user's preferences. The result of ambient intelligence is ultimately a more empowered computer with the benefits of added convenience, time and cost savings, and possibilities for increased safety, security, and entertainment. This technology has the potential to significantly impact business and government processes, as well as private life. The paper describes developments to date in ambient intelligence and its closely related counterpart, ubiquitous computing and communication. It discusses the driving forces behind this digital information technology, describes the equipment and devices involved, the obstacles to implementing ambient intelligence on a large scale in real-world scenarios, and considers the future outlook. The authors believe that the introduction of this digital information technology will have wide-ranging implications, which will for the most part be beneficial and valuable.