Bring it on!
We're already seeing the beginnings of that breakdown. Mobile phones show how addictive constant connectivity can be: there's a reason the Finnish call cell phones kanny, an extension of the hand. Wi-fi hot spots and laptops let us enjoy a still-fractured ubiquity, giving a glimpse of an always-on, always-available Web. (As William Gibson said, the future is here, it's just not evenly distributed. Right now, it has an effective range of about 150 feet.) RFID, sensors, and smart dust are building intelligence into every manufactured object. GPS has moved from the yachting set to weekend hikers and soccer moms (those little bubbles on the roofs of new cars contain GPS locators). IPv6, the next-generation Internet protocol, will let stationary objects describe their locations. IPv6-enabled street lamps or traffic signals, for example, could warn utilities when they're about to malfunction; if their Internet addresses were associated with physical locations, they could function as a physical address, letting repairmen pinpoint their locations. Add it all together, and you get what computer scientists call "the Internet of things." It's a world in which data is part of the world; physical and virtual addresses are associated; things have senses, the ability to communicate, and the capacity to cooperate; and we can create and access information almost anywhere. What happens when computers leave the world, and cyberspace becomes part of it? When we have billions of tiny computers capable of working together? When the Web is experienced not as a separate universe, but an overlay on the world? We're going to find out.