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Ambient Intelligence: A Novel Paradigm

If the space around us could adapt to our needs and intentions, then our lives
would be much simpler. We would have to spend less time on our daily chores,
we would be more productive and, hopefully, we would live in a less worrisome
and, most likely, more secure world.

Ideally, it would be great if we could live our lives in environments able to
commune with us. In Star Trek, the generic user not only can dialogue with
a computer, but can also shape the environment - the holodeck - to suit their
needs. Undoubtedly we are still far from such a futuristic era, most likely we
will not live long to witness a Star Trek world, but we can push forward science
and technology. However, in order to progress we can not simply and blindly
rely on technology, we must develop interdisciplinary methods encompassing
all aspects of our life to develop intelligent solutions, user centric, able to
understand us and our lifestyle and activities. We will most likely need to design
new methods for learning, adapting to specific moments in time, environmental
and personal conditions. We will need to find new ways to combine science,
technology, art and, above all, cognitive and psychological studies, to devise
complete solutions; not simply working ones, operating to better the space
around us.

Current technological advances have made giant leaps forward, but they are
still too intrusive and passive. The monitoring of public and private spaces
usually impinges on our privacy and in some cases barely adheres to the local
laws (some European countries have very strict privacy laws on video data
and information, for instance). So, interdisciplinary solutions will have to be
adopted to include legal and ethical issues to generate solutions commensurate
to all of us, as citizens of a modern and democratic society.
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