Old Scenario Rejuvenated through Cloud Computing

Well, interesting to see an “age old” (in Internet timing) scenario finding a second life, so to speak… This FT article, from Shane Robison in response to Nicholas Carr’s Digital Business cover feature published on January 30th 2008, talks about Cloud Services needed to fulfill a kind of scenario we all remember from the early Internet days involving a series of coordinated actions (such as reminders, information gathering for weather, flight status update, recommended route to airport based on actual traffic conditions, etc.) that need to be carried out for a traveler scheduled on a given flight. Assuming cloud services, the article further stresses some properties of such services like pervasiveness, proactivity and personalization.

Now what exactly would we find behind “cloud computing” ? Of course, all the great technology and infrastructure we now have at hand stemming from grid and utility computing and storage, service architectures, etc. but we may still be missing a basic building block. One which would offer some of the nice and desirable properties to realize such scenari. Actually, thinking about it again in terms of pervasive, proactive and personalized immediately triggered the idea of “personal avatars” or “electronic butlers” launched in the Ethos of the Cloud knowing at all time what to do, where I am, what I need, and of course able to protect itself from the outside since it is likely to hold many personal information. Having worked for some time on Mobile Agents, peer-to-peer protocols and DRM led me to think this might just be the time for a new start for Mobile Agents. Moreover, combined with virtual environments such as for example Second Life could represent just the right Human Computer Interface for Mobile Agents.

What better metaphor could we find for a mobile agent to which we delegate complex tasks than one of an Avatar which by the way may not necessarily have a human like representation. People may want to think about it as a simple “black box” with a mood like interface on it instantly showing a sign of its status… Real World and Virtual World probes and sensors helping along the way…

Fun times ahead and as we very well know, sometimes the timing is just not the right one, mobile agents have been around for decades, maybe just waiting for the right “Cloud” to start delivering on their promises and capabilities…


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