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December 17, 2008

Pew Report Predicts Life on the Interent in 2020

The Pew Internet & American Life Project released its report called the Future of the Internet III.  The report predicts how the Internet (and how we use it) will appear in 2020.  From the summary of findings:

  • The mobile device will be the primary connection tool to the Internet for most people in the world in 2020.
  • The transparency of people and organizations will increase, but that will not necessarily yield more personal integrity, social tolerance, or forgiveness.
  • Voice recognition and touch user-interfaces with the Internet will be more prevalent and accepted by 2020.
  • Those working to enforce intellectual property law and copyright protection will remain in a continuing “arms race,” with the “crackers” who will find ways to copy and share content without payment.
  • The divisions between personal time and work time and between physical and virtual reality will be further erased for everyone who’s connected, and the results will be mixed in terms of social relations.
  • “Next-generation” engineering of the network to improve the current Internet architecture is more likely than an effort to rebuild the architecture from scratch.

None of these predictions are particularly earth-shattering, particularly the one suggesting a lack of social tolerance on the Internet.  Forums and other comment threads do show off the worst in some people, and their example isn't going to reduce or slow it down in the future.  As for DRM (also known as copyright protection), just look at the fight between Blu-Ray backers and the people who work to break DRM on that system.  The control system for Blu-Ray is made to be variable enough to react to breaks in protection.  Yet the breakers still break it.  This is one of those situations that may impede Blu-Ray if the back and forth is not transparent to users who want to simply drop a DVD in a player and watch a movie.  The mass market will likely not want to keep updating firmware just to play a disc.  The future may just be more of the same.

The Pew Report is here.  [MG]

December 17, 2008 | Permalink

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