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

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  1,044 ratings  ·  120 reviews
In 2006, co-authors Robert Scoble and Shel Israel wrote Naked Conversations, a book that persuaded businesses to embrace what we now call social media. Six years later they have teamed up again to report that social media is but one of five converging forces that promise to change virtually every aspect of our lives. You know these other forces already: mobile, data, senso ...more
Paperback, 230 pages
Published September 5th 2013
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Ricardo Sueiras
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
I had been looking forward to reading this book as I follow Scoble's blogs and posts on Google+.

This book in effect does a good job at distilling and summarizing a lot of the stuff he has been talking about, and the book certainly does a good job at describing the key concepts of the contextual world.

If you are new to this topic, or have not followed Scoble's various activities online then this book will probably be a great introduction.

If you have a reasonable grasp of contextual and sensor tec
Geoff Livingston
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Book of the Decade?

Robert Scoble and Shel Israel have teamed together to write a well received new book called the Age of Context. In some regards, it may be the book of the decade for marketers, laying out a roadmap of what is to come.

The book examines the impact caused by the confluence of five technology sets impacting us today; mobile, social, data, sensors and location. Age of Context offers a well grounded view of how companies are using these technologies together to launch us into a new
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: almost nobody...
Largely an absolute waste of time. Reads like one big advertisement for new technology in general. Everything that is coming is great - and if not, it is not avoidable anyway. So get used to it... The number of companies introduced are far too many to count. Feels like the authors got money from the companies they mentioned. I constantly felt like being pitched new technology in general and mentioned companies specifically. I only gave it two stars, because it is well written and did give me som ...more
Oct 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
We live in truly amazing times. Consider just a few data points:

There are now more mobile phones on the planet than there are human beings.
An estimated 100,000 mobile app publishers have already released more than a million different apps, which have collectively been downloaded more than 45 billion times, more than six apps for every man, woman and child alive today.
The FDA has approved a tiny digestible sensor that can be put into a pill and swallowed by a patient. Proteus Digital Health, one
Rawn Shah
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: future-trends
We are going to live in the Age of Iron Man’s J.A.R.V.I.S., not Batman’s Alfred. That is the gist that I get from reading Shel Israel and Robert Scoble’s new book, The Age of Context: Mobile, Data, Sensors and the Future of Privacy. The Age of Context is a tour-de-force documentary of the state of technology in 2013 looking across a broad number of fields: healthcare, transportation, the electronic home, urbanization, mobile devices, marketing, and understanding customers. There are so many refe ...more
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: technology
Just okay. The authors list out different areas about the future of 'context', but it ultimately reads like a long infomercial. Unfortunately, the insight is not very deep, and the authors simply mention many small startups who are doing work, or who might do work, in the area of context. There is no discussion at all on the underlying technology.

The book rightfully spends a fair bit of time talking about privacy. However, they don't actually say anything meaningful. A large portion of the book
Jun 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, tech
Decent read on the near future with a broad overview of technology. As a person who works with big data for a living, who worked on robotics, and who has a passion for sensors - there was a lot to enjoy about the book. Data, specifically data generated by things, will be huge and will have a dramatic impact on our lives. This book offers a glimpse but I don't think it added to the discussion: only summarized.

Still, if you don't know much about data analytics or haven't heard of the Internet of T
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
From my Amazon review:
I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of this book and was literally unable to put it down. Yes, it's that good. I don't want to spoil the book for you, so I'll just say this: if you loved their last book, Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers and/or are interested in the future of personal technology (i.e. Google Glass), quantified self (i.e. FitBit), shopping, in-home technology privacy/personal data and social medi
Sep 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loss of privacy is price of progress: ...more
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
Largely a waste of time if you've been paying attention to mega tech trends in recent years. ...more
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good predication on Mobiles, Sensors which gathering data about us in future circumstances., Defiantly Privacy will be question mark in future (we are in tip of it now., worst yet to come)... and given few examples too... like Google Glass, Shopperception, Moto X.

Shopperception installs panels containing PrimeSense 3D sensors* analyses the shoppers behavior in front of the shelf. how much time they spending., what actually buys. those sensors always monitoring customer behavior.
*Developed by SRI
Feb 21, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: digital
I didn't much like it. The authors do start off by mentioning that the book is a collection of their interviews with leaders who are on the fore front of technology. But I didn't think that was warning enough for what was to follow. The entire book felt like a string of examples strung together to make a logical chapter. I absolutely respect the authors who are veterans in their fields, and obviously know the who's who in the industry. But after a point it just felt like the books sole purpose w ...more
Luke Stark
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The discussion of context is still very relevant and continues to drive how our technology flows. However, in 2020 some of the chapters have become dated as we have either surpassed the technology or it's become clear that the technologic steps either aren't happening or are happening in very, very different ways. An interesting read and provides topics for conversation including ongoing privacy concerns. ...more
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed reading this book. It's dated somewhat now as it's 4 years old and talking about technology.

Still some really interesting concepts and predictions that still haven't quite come to light, but I reckon they will. The authors were just a little optimistic.
Egdares Futch
Good forward looking statements for 2012, but feels very dated in 2018. Many of the things stated as experiments have been deployed and tested in the field.
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
It took me a while to read this as the great work of wearable tech pioneer Steve Mann appeared to have been shoehorned into a passing sentence in exchange for some epic Google Glass worship. This enraged me so much I threw the book across the room. Never done that before.

I like Robert Scoble. I don't know Shel Israel. I really didn't fall in love with this book. But I guess I may not be its target audience.

If you don't click on the occasional tech themed link as it flies by on twitter, and if yo
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy, the new book by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel examines the intersection of mobile devices, social media, big data, sensors and location-based services and how this “Perfect Storm” of technology will affect our future.

The authors paint a picture of an exhilarating, brave new world; one Scoble and Israel don't have to work hard to sell me on.

But, as I learned over the past decade working as a consultant, I am not an average per
Jeff Stockett
Sep 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The future is awesome.

Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love science fiction. There is a lot I like about it, but one thing I really enjoy is speculating about how technology will change our society, revolutionize our culture and alter our daily lives.

This book reads like science fiction, but it's not. I've enjoyed following Robert Scoble as he has blogged and vlogged about technology for a long time. This book is the culmination of all the research he has done through countless interv
Bufo Calvin
Mar 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This is an important book by writers who have proven their ability to project trends in consumer tech use.

Robert Scoble & Shel Israel talk about the intersection of five tech forces, and how they will combine to create an "Age of Context", in which our devices (and organizations) will have a better idea of who we are and what we are doing, and tailor communications and services to fit.

It can be quite off-putting if we can get an ad that tried to target us, but was wrong. One example in the book
Yesterday Robert Scoble posted on his Facebook feed ( that he desired some more people review this book prior to its official release date. I e-mailed and offered to do so. He provided a PDF of the book.

Scoble and Israel's enthusiasm for technology is infectious. Folks who read them are inundated with that on an almost daily basis. This book captures much of what Scoble has been describing in his posts for the past year or so.

According to the authors, th
Dec 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tech, non-fiction
The Age of Context is an optimistic view into our present and the future of computers. As a computer engineer, this book definitely excites and inspires me. The main ideas of this book will remain with me as I develop new software.

As this book was published in July, just as the NSA revelations were coming out, the view of privacy and security seemed a bit brushed off. The issue of keeping our data private has become much more important over the second half of the year. If users are going to hand
Brian's Book Blog
Age of Context – A look into the future (or the now) of business.

This is a look into what is going on right now in the world of business, since writing this, Israel has written another book on the same topics that update things and bring everything into the new and ever-changing world of social media.

Narration was done by Jeffrey Kafer, and boy does he nail this. How hard do you think narrating a book about technology and business is? I can’t imagine that it’s easy by any means, but Kafer seems
Jimmy Williams
Dec 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Hopefully this technology is "3 Laws Safe"

As a lover of technology and a fan of The Jetsons I enjoyed this book. This book is about the future as well as the present. The technology discussed in this book is both exciting as well as scary. I understand the idea of privacy no longer exists. I also understand that innovation and technological advances are going to happen and how we operate as a society will have to adjust. I also believe that corporate personhood is a dangerous thing. I understand
David Hodges
Dec 07, 2013 rated it did not like it
Even though I am very involved in the world of computing, I can't say that the future these guys hold out to us is very appealing.
Why we want sensors and smart appliances to do things for us is beyond me.
Why would I want smart agents suggesting what to wear and where to eat and what to see?
Human beings are built to explore, to discover, to have curiosity. These devices are soul-killing.

What I do look forward to:
Self-driving cars. An absolute necessity to end the carnage on our highways.

What I f
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is written for anyone who considers themselves a technology enthusiast that appreciates not only what technology can do for you now, but interested in where it might be heading. I fit this profile given that I am in the profession as part of my career and if you ask my wife I am always game on buying the next trendy thing.

Robert and Shel do a nice job calling out the major themes going in technology with their definition of the five forces (mobile, social media, sensors, location base
Ruan Viljoen
Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
In general I love technology books, but I really struggled through this one even though it was a fairly short listen on Audible. I think the Age of Context is a really interesting premise and I have no doubt that we will see many of the predictions in this book come true in coming years, maybe even sooner than we think. However, I feel this book falls flat in a number of areas:

- Relevance: Even less than a year since its release large sections are now no longer relevant or significantly outdate
B.J. Murphy
Nov 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing, informative, and breathtaking!

There are many books out today which attempt to predict the future. Many of which fail from the get-go due to their lack of understanding current technological projections, mistaking the rate of technological growth to being linear when, in all actuality, they're really exponential.

Scoble and Israel's book here doesn't disappoint! Not only do they recognize the exponentially fast pace in which technology grows today, but they also take it another step furth
Mike Dee
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting book. My review is a lists of points I noted as i read it.
I wonder does it take a techno-utopian view of the world?
With regard to technology adoption and practice Scoble is an edge case, which is noted by the authors.
Privacy expectations different in various parts of world. In Europe privacy expectations are higher.
Maybe it's just me but I don't care what my friends like. We like different things.
What about serendipity?? Social media does not account for that.
Free Ice-
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Age of context is not an eyeopener for a tech person, but it is incredibly focused on a matter of technology transformation all around us and at this very moment. Wearables, augmented and virtual reality headsets may seem like toys for tech geeks and early adopters today, indeed they are, but, at the same time, they scarcely draw the picture of tomorrow for the average Joe. That’s what this book is all about: deliberate observation, analysis and projection of results on the 5-25 years timeline.

It does a great job of pulling together various pieces of trends and providing a thread, a narrative that is based on the premise of context. The book picks up multiple examples of the 5 trends which the authors feel are going to have the greatest impact - mobile, social media, data, location and sensors. It also puts an interesting spin on data privacy by pushing forward the notion that the current technology trends would be the greatest enablers only when sharing happens. In other words, the m ...more
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96 likes · 26 comments
“Using various combinations of the five contextual forces, forward-thinking marketers are shifting focus away from mass messages and more into what Maribel Lopez, founder of Lopez Research, calls “right-time experiences,” where mobile technologies deliver customers the right information “at precisely the moment of need.” 1 likes
“The force is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars” 1 likes
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