Database Answers  
Home Ask a Question Best Practice Careers Contact Us Data Models Search Site Map
  A Vision of Databases in the Future
This shows how Databases will affect every aspect of our lives from about 10 years time onwards.
The grey 'doughnut' at the bottom can be thought of as a Message Broker that sends messages between Databases.
We have defined a Universal Information Architecture which will support this Vision of the Future.

In the UK, the Guardian newspaper are making the running with Simon Rogers and his Data Blog and their new Open Platform.

The UK Government is also active with the Coins Database and open access to UK Government Data.

A Vision of the Future of Databases
The Background
I have been a Database specialist for over 15 years.

The diagram on the left shows things that we might be involved in if we 
live in a typical Community.
Each of these things will usually be supported by a Database, which is always 
invisible and so we are never aware of it or its importance.

From time to time I read comments like :-
   '... of course, Databases are very dry and boring.'.
I don't find them dry and boring (of course) and I am looking for a way to show this in a 
way that anybody could understand. 

I think the best way to do this is to ask creative and artistic people to come up with 
a picture or image of the future in 10 or 20 years time showing how databases (and the 
technology that uses them) will be everywhere, and what shape the technology could take.

Maybe these people have a well-developed right-hand side to their brains and I have only the left-hand side ?

Right now, we are familiar with a variety of portable devices and distribution media - Cell/Mobile Phones, iPods, PDAs, DVD players, and so on.

My personal prediction is that in less than 10 years everybody will have a portable device which will have free Internet access 
with universal wireless acess, which they will carry everywhere - just like everybody else - giving new meaning to -
'Don't leave home without it'.

Or maybe we will have chips embedded in our brains to listen to our choice of free music from 'GoogleMusicAnywhere', with adverts that 
reflect our personal interests.

Then the challenge is to create an image that shows this kind of future with some people in their daily lives.

Here's a summary of my thinking ... A. In 2008, the current Situation offers the following facilities ... A.1 Voice-activated PDAs ('Personal Digital Assistants')
  • These allow you to say things like 'Phone the Doctor' and the PDA will place the call A.2 Touch-sensitive PDAs, eg the Apple iPhone A.3 PDAs with Internet access, GPS, camera, with audio and video recording A.4 Twitter and Twittervision can display our minute-by-minute movements A.5 The Pandora Web Site will create a personalised Music Station just for you. A.6 Yesterday I saw an ad for a package of Samsung (Cellphone manufacturer), Oyster (combined ticket for Bus, Train and Subway in London) and Orange (Network Provider). It won't be long before the Cell/Mobile phone has the functionality of Tickets and can be scanned by a barrier machine. A.7 Today it was announced that Parking violations were being monitored by officials with head-mounted Video cameras. B. In 2017, the medium-term Future might look like this ... B.1 Wi-Fi will be available to everyone everywhere. B.2 We will be able to say 'Make an Appointment with my Doctor', or 'Pay this Bill' and it will happen. B.3 We will have portable around-the-clock devices.
  • These will be extended PDAs with will transmit GPS of our locationa and movements B.4 Something like 'GoogleMusicEverywhere' will play music 24x7 according to how we feel.
  • We can say 'I feel romantic' or 'I want to party' and it will play music to suit our mood. C. In 2027, the long-term Future might look like this ... C.1 We will be able to visualise one of our Bills and think or say 'Pay that Bill'. and the payment will automatically be made. C.2 We will be able to have chips implanted in our brains to make telepathy possible to fetch data from databases. I think I should stop here because I don't want to give you my views - I am keen to hear your views.
  • We are looking for a futuristic version of the diagram at the top of the page which illustrates aspects of living in a community.
    My previous work for local government in London involves a Project with a team of people who patrol the streets, checking on overall cleanliness and specifically, aspects of 'envirocrime', such as Graffiti, Ltter and Abandoned Vehicles. They use PDAs to send details of specific observations to a central Database and are then displayed on a Map of the area, and Hot spots are identified.
    You can download a Zipped version (240k) or a Microsoft Word version(290k) of an earlier description of this Grand Award.
    I have updated this page more recently than the downloads.

    A more technical Database-oriented version is shown on our Home Page.
    Right now, we take for granted the Databases and Technology that are all around us.

    For example, a Playlist on an iPod is a Database and the iPod is always with us.

    Books at Amazon, eBay Bids and Menus at Starbucks are other examples of Databases that we use in our daily lives, usually without giving it a second thought.
    It's interesting to consider the future evolution of Microblogging Sites, like Jaiku, Moodgeist, Mozes,, Tumblr and Twitter.
    An entertaining variation is TwitterVision which display in realtime where people are around the world and what they are doing.
    And what about Social Networking web sites, like MySpace and YouTube ?
    Wired magazine reports that a well-respected scientist called Gordon Bell is involved in a 'Lifestyle' experiment called MyLifeBits on behalf of Microsoft.
    This involves recording everything he does and says throughout the day as a permanent Life History.
    This is a 'Database for Everything Personal'.
    Although the project is still in the preliminary stages, Bell envisions MyLifeBits evolving into a database that would form part of the MS operating system.
    The program would have both a practical and personal side: users could employ the system to record every bit of data relating to a business venture, for example, or to document every stage of their child's development.
    "I like to think of it as an accurate surrogate brain," Bell said.
    Someday in the future, a compulsive recorder could call up a single day in her life and get an hour-by-hour breakdown of what she did, said and saw.
    This page on my Web Site lists over 450 Databases and gives an indication of the range of current applications of Databases.

    The winning design will bring to life a combination of Technology for fun and entertainment.

    We'd also like to see the aspects of express evolution explored.
    In other words, how quickly will things change and will some changes generate more changes more quickly and so on ?

    The key question is 'How will Technology and Databases affect daily life for the young people in this diagram in 10 to 20 years time ?'

    Some examples are shown in the ../images below (but don't let your thinking be in any way restricted by them).

    The image on the left is from an interesting article in Time Magazine on 'Data Addiction and the Hyperconnected'.

    The article discusses the impact of Blackberries and the new Apple iPhones as examples of Personal Digital Assistants,(PDAs).

    It defines the new term of 'Data Addiction' as 'the ceaseless craving for digital stimulation that contemporary technology is creating in us'.

    It mentions a Web Site called Twitter which lets you broadcast, (on phone, IM or Internet), minute-by-minute
    details of where you are and what you are doing.

    Invitations are being sent to the Colleges and Universities listed in the table below, some of which are identified by ImageineFX Magazine as the Top Ten in the world.

    If you'd like to enter, please email Barry Williams.

    Invitations to participate have been sent to the Institutions and Individuals who are listed on a separate page.


    Here are ten of the Top Digital Arts Schools around the World compiled by ImagineFX Magazine   

    1 ConceptArt Atelier San Francisco Focusses solely on training for concept art work. Contact : by email
    Ringling School of Art and Design
    Sarasota, Florida This Not-for-Profit School is one of America's finest arts institutions. Contact M.Craig
    3 Lisaa College of Applied Arts Paris, France Accredited by the French Ministry of Culture.
    4 The Arts Institute Bournemouth, England Established in 1883 - Contact : Suzie Edwards, Press and PR Officer
    5 Truemax Academy Copenhagen, Denmark Focusses on 3D CG - Phone : 00-45-70-27-77-87
    6 Art Center College of Design Pasadena, California Renowned for preparing students for the realities of working in the commercial arts fields - Contact Email :
    Phone 00-1-626.396.2200 and try emailing to ask why email keeps bouncing.
    7 School of Visual Arts New York Orignally known as the Cartoonists and Illustrators School.
    8 Rhode Island School of Design Providence, Rhode Island Founded in 1877
    9 Academy of Art University San Francisco The largest private school of art and design in the USA.
    School of Art, Media and Design
    Bristol, England Phone number : 0117 32 84716. The curriculum is focussed on concept art skills
    Additional Invitations were sent to the following Academic Institutions ...
    Middlesex University
    London, England Email Helen Bendon and Stephen Boyd-Davis sent 12th.April
    National Film and TV School
    Beaconsfield, England Email sent 9th.April
    Royal Holloway, University of London
    Egham, Surrey Email sent 12th.April
    SAE Institute
    London and Global Email sent 9th.April
    Thames Valley University
    Ealing,London, England Email sent 12th.April
    Truro College
    Truro, Cornwall, England Email Fran Mullins sent 9th.April
    University College, Falmouth
    Falmouth, Cornwall, England Email sent 9th.April
    University of the Creative Arts
    Epsom, England Emails to Ben Stopher and and Laurie Yule sent 9th.April
    Yale University
    New Haven,Connecticut Emailed Laraine Sammler at the Digital Media Center for the Arts - sent 12th.April
    20 Memod On Imagine FX Site Beautiful landscapes

    Here are some examples, (and here's some more) ...

    Derkku's Ballet Dancers - this conveys the idea of Communities linked by the device on the table A City in the Future --->
    Home Ask a Question Best Practice Careers Contact Us Data Models Search Site Map