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Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy Kindle Edition

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Length: 248 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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About the Author

Shel Israel and Robert Scoble have been friends for several years. They have appeared in the media and on conference stages many times. Both have a passion for how technology will change the world Robert Scoble is among the world’s best-known tech journalists. In his day job as Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for the latest developments on technology’s bleeding edge. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports for Rackspace TV and in social media. He can be found at You can email him at, and on social networks as Robert Scoble. Shel Israel helps businesses tell their stories in engaging ways as a writer, consultant and presentation coach. He writes The Social Beat column for Forbes and has contributed editorially to BusinessWeek, Dow Jones, Fast Company and American Express Open Forum. He has been a keynote speaker more than 50 times on five continents. You can follow him at and talk to him at or at most social networks as shelisrael.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1949 KB
  • Print Length: 248 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Patrick Brewster Press; 1 edition (28 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #63,821 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jim Muttram on 5 Nov. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the book as a rapid survey of the contextual technology landscape, and particularly welcomed the examples - although the approach make the book seem more like an extended post or magazine article. Where it fell down is in assessing the problems - privacy, data ownership, security etc etc. The NSA revelations, which were just breaking when the book was written, and which continue to unfold may come to make this shortcoming weigh much more heavily than it might otherwise. Worth reading, though....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jamie O'Shaughnessy on 24 Nov. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book just fails to deliver. If you know anything about this area, you'll get nothing from this book. If you know nothing but are interested, you'll get an unrealistic view of where tech is going. The general direction and points that are made are generally where the tech world is going. However there are 2 big problems with this book. First, it's like reading a massive advert for a couple of products/services/companies (Google Glass being one). Second, the way technology is discussed is so out of touch with what it takes to actually invent and deliver such technology you don't get a realistic view of where the tech world is heading. As a professional working in this area I'm greatly disappointed by this by journalists who I considered to be knowledgeable. If you're interested in this area, you're far better off spending your time reading articles on the net than bothering with this book.
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By Smith on 8 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are deeper books on this subject out there but that doesn't mean that, even at it's current price (2GBP), you should dismiss it. Scoble and Isreal delve into the expectations, benefits and downsides of contextual data collection and analysis, predominately via mobile platforms.

The first half of the book addresses future concepts, innovation and practical applications of the world viewed and harvested by large, and small, companies -- to best serve our needs, wants and whims. It's going to be a great world...maybe! There's plenty of examples given; although none which will surprise most savvy readers. And it's all written in a straight-forward, appeal to all language. I didn't find this half of the book that surprising, nor did I find it particularly deep in information. It served a purpose, but I do have an interest in this area, generally speaking, so that might account for my impression of it.

The back end of the book; especially the health, and data privacy chapters were quite a bit more interesting. The writers highlight the flip-side of the 'wonderfully contextual' world with the stark realisation that insurance companies might just not want you to be in tip-top health all the time. And who owns the data anyway? It's highlighted as a worry and rightly so. This is serious when it comes down to it all.

All-in-all a coffee table book that doesn't particularly tax the reader, but there are some thinking points to be had. I'm not sure I'd have paid full price for it, given that you only have to watch Scoble on any podcast or interview to hear pretty much the full contents of the book given by him.

If you're really interested in the future (once you've finished AoC) that they are talking about, a great (fictional) read is Sycamore (Near-Future Dystopia) [Kindle Edition] Craig A. Falconer. The amount of overlap between the two books is very, very apparent. Highly recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Richard Beaumont on 16 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
This book is a must read for anyone with a smartphone, and anyone interested in the role of technology in society - which is basically everybody!

Science fiction author William Gibson once wrote that `the future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed'. What Scoble and Israel have done for this book is travel to the places where the future has arrived, and returned with a picture to show the rest of us how our lives will increasingly be shaped by ever present, and increasingly intelligent every day technology.

It is a place where technology has the power to make our lives better, with a rich contextual connection to the people and the world around us. However, as they point out, this future may have a price in the form of diminished privacy, and that as a society we are yet to form the rules, laws and behavioural norms that balance these benefits and costs.

Some of those rules and laws are already being debated and prepared, so above all this is a very timely book, which adds to the debate about getting the balance right. Scoble and Israel rightly highlight the issues of transparency, permission and control as central to this debate. They don't claim to have any answers, but this book is nevertheless a valuable contribution to the discussions about how we can make sure that the future of technology is one that benefits us all.
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Format: Kindle Edition
If you're someone who like to keep current in bleeding edge and future tech like I am, Robert and Shel have distilled all the research and interviews of the people who really shape our tech future and created an easy to read book. It does not delve deep into specific subjects, (a lot of the tech behind these innovations would require a lot of understanding!) but it is an eye opener to see how the tech we will use in the future will become more aware and be of more value to us. A great read, I'd wholeheartedly recommend it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Viv Craske on 24 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
Would you wear Google Glass? Will you buy a smartwatch? Do you own a Nike FuelBand, Jawbone or Fitbit? Then this book is made for you. For everyone else on the planet, we'll be shaped by the concepts in this book, whether we're aware of it or not. Chances are, if you're reading this, you want to be a participant in a digital contextual future, not some outsider moaning about privacy and Big Brother and the good old days before big data, so dive in!

The context of The Age Of Context is that five emerging forces - mobile, social media, data, sensors and location - and about to create sociological change that this book documents. This decade will be defined by the technology, economics and social need and willing to use these five forces to change the world.

The other context for this book is that co-author Robert Scoble is one of the lucky few to be trailing Google Glass - expected to be one of the first to market wearable tech gadgets that change out relationship with technology. Glass is written about plenty here and much of the book's genesis comes from and is, ahem, seen thru the lens of Glass.

The move from mouse and keyboard to touchscreens in our pocket; from physical music, films and documents on drives to files in the cloud... these are small steps compared to what the age of context brings.

So what does the future look like? Doctors actually talking to patients while your notes and a differential diagnosis pops up on screen. Shops that know when I'm coming, know how important a customer I am, and gives me relevant offers. Self-driving cars (yep, we're all a little freaked out about this one, but think about the advantages for the blind and disabled, say the authors). More efficient policing (and traffic lights!) based on sensors and big data.
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