If you're in advertising, technology, R&D, planning a startup of your own, or are just a dreamy futurist, I recommend going through PSFK's "The Future of Real-Time." It defines relevant topics like human sensor networks, personal census, data democracy, mobile communities and context cartography. Each is illustrated with a number of concrete and current examples.
Perhaps most importantly, it will take your thinking about real-time tech out of "Twitter! Foursquare!" stasis, which I imagine will be a welcome relief.
One thing that hit me after perusing the first two sections: we are being monitored and are contributing to our own monitoring. That should come as no surprise. And it isn't the government that brought us here; it was us, our peers and our desire to propel ourselves forward at the pace of our technology. (Christophe Hasselin's Big Brother vs Little Brother theory returns to haunt us!)
Amidst the experimentation, the game development, all the playing that comes to QA the current limits of tech, we're beginning to see the blossoms of accessible solutions that will change our lives, certainly for the better:
- Mobile and private STD tests (iPhone-ready!)
- Asthma inhalers that measure air quality
- Apps for measuring the happiness of a community against local environmental factors