By combining search and browsing history with geographic and other spatial information, mobile devices have greatly accelerated the ability of our favorite applications and websites to predict, suggest, and refine responses to a query–or respond even when no overt query has been made. In other words, context itself has become the new query.
The best generalist museum in the Bay Area is not, in fact, in San Francisco, but on the shores of Lake Merritt in Oakland. Not surprising, when you consider that Oakland, in a way of thinking, is the true center of the region.
Perhaps the last two trends we’d ever imagine converging are the decades-long path to individual self-expression via technology with the rise of mass surveillance via the national security state. But, on this auspicious fifth of November, we do well to remember how all this came to be.