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Technology & Innovation

The Internet Is About to Revolutionize Physical Space

Many of the physical spaces occupied by our institutions—office buildings, universities, shopping malls—are nothing more than low-bandwidth information transfer. Say goodbye to them.

What’s the Latest Development?

The Web’s ability to facilitate the transfer of information will continue to revolutionize our world, replacing the very physical space which many of our institutions take for granted. Office buildings, universities and shopping malls exist in large part to store information and facilitate its transfer between human beings. Many offices still hold large file cabinets, college lecture halls were built to allow many students to learn from one professor and malls provide consumers with information before they make a purchase.

What’s the Big Idea?

As our electronic devices shrink in size, they grow in terms of the amount of information they are able to store. A single laptop can replace rooms of file cabinets and online education courses enable professors to hold class with millions of students worldwide. “The future will look very different as we strip the information-carrying functions out of proxies and reduce them to their bare essentials,” says Bill Davidow. “This will happen because much of our physical infrastructure was just a low-bandwidth interconnection disguised as something real.”

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