On the 10th anniversary of its founding, Google has recently been asking 10 of its “experts” to give their predictions of what’s going to happen in the next 10 years as the internet evolves. I’m no expert but as a curious partaker in this brave new world, I thought I’d give a shot at coming up with my own list of future predictions –
- Computation moves into the cloud – obvious but important. This is the key to the future which will provoke massive social change. No longer will we be tied to our desks or fortified corporate networks. Work anywhere on any device with the same access to all the same resources.
- Technology is humanised – forget “plug and pray”, it just works. Long promised, rarely delivered. This is when technology is liberated from the geeks into the hands of the masses. Compatibility will be a thing of the past once computers all speak a common set of standard languages.
- Interfaces are revolutionised – keyboards and mice will seem quaint. Touch, eye, voice and possibly even brain controllers will be commonplace. If you think the iPhone is cool you haven’t seen anything yet. Understanding semantic context will make manipulating complex data childs play.
- Connectivity is ubiquitous – the internet is everywhere. Not just on your computer or mobile ~ it will be woven into the very fabric of everyday life as an essential additional layer connecting everything to everyone and visa versa. Blanket high-speed wireless connections will exist across all major cities.
- Personalisation gets personal – whether you are in the real world or the virtual world your social connections, interests and history (etc) will follow you everywhere you go. The flow of information will be automatically targeted and fine-tuned around this. You control who sees what/where/when.
- Language barriers are broken – English is only the 4th most spoken language in the world. Through real-time machine translation you now speak and understand the rest. The volume of information you have at available will drastically increase through this. Small businesses can now operate globally.
- Information overload & dependency – faced with more information than you could possibly imagine people will face new challenges of how to cope. Some will thrive in this new sea of unlimited potential while others will face serious mental collapse. There will be those who choose to disconnect entirely.
- Viruses are no more – with the majority of software provided as a service (SaaS) viruses which plagued Windows users will be a thing of the past. However, new even more dangerous and sophisticated threats will emerge with personal data stored in the cloud a prime target.
- Social homogenisation – spurred on by technology, globalisation takes an ever stronger hold on social norms. It becomes a cognitive and social culture, not a geographic one, which relies heavily on the notion of information and knowledge exchange in a complex web of relationships.
- Man-machine distinction blurs – the line between humans and machines begins to lessen. Old concepts of pre-net existence will seem foreign to our children who will liken the change to the Age of Enlightenment when mankind made a seismic shift in the way we live and ultimately exist.
This won’t all happen in the next 10 years but we are already seeing a steady progression towards it and, unless climate change or a natural disaster wipes us all out, I strongly believe this will be a reality well within our lifetime. What would be on your list?
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I see this new age as exciting but not an enlightenment but a New age of Slavery. Don’t get me wrong I am a techie to the end but with all of this man and computer, and so called merging, I beleive we as a human race will loose our humanity in this new brave world.
-Just my 2cents
Think for yourself and you can be free.
I agree with you to an extent but how do we define humanity? Is it something static or something that can change? Could this just be the next step in our evolution?
There are no clear answers here but the future is in our hands…
I don’t mean to put you down or anything, but none of that will happen unless a miricle will happen. The economy is racing down and the world is getting destroyed. In ten years we may not even exist and life as we know it will be no more. If we don’t stop to try and realize the problem that humans are destroying the world. We won’t be existing for much longer. I’m just putting in my 2 cents about this because i don’t know much because I am only 13. But I’m not blind (no offense to blind people) but i know that the world is plumitting to nothing. It doesn’t take a rocket scientest to figure that out! Well thats jus my opinion of the future. =] One person cant effect the world.
Perhaps if you offer up some constructive suggestions for the improvement of the future of the human race people might listen. No sense getting frustrated. What kind of miracle were you after?
Funny point of view. Especially for me, because i interpret humanitys current situation and the technological advancement the exactly opposit way.
In my opinion everybody is living better than ever before, there is more freedom, more understanding for other people and different cultures (the lack of that and the fact that millions of people were kept stupid is in my opinion the reason of most wars) .
Today, people have to work less, the standard of life as well as our maximum age increases drasticly. Institoutions, religions and terrorists, as the church, that tried to control our brains for thousands of years through fear of death, and caused several wars and millions of deaths, are slowly destroyed by the education of the masses. Knoledge can be accessed by basicly everyone thats interested.
Bigger scale problems, as the current climate situation, are cared and cured by international instances, as well as technology (clean, regenerating energy, efficiant machines, our growing understanding).
I also think, that countries are slowly merging (europe, u.s.a. ).
If this continues, there wont be any reason for war.
The age we are living in cant be compared with the past ones, it is one of understanding and enlightenment.
Not everybody has it as good as we do, but its progressivly getting better. For everyone.
Its easy to say everything is bad, especially if you never had the hard times.
Please excuse the way i (miss-) use the english language, im just getting fluent now.
Leander V. Gabriel
I could not agree with your comment more, the world does seem to be plummeting to nothing at the moment.That being said, saying human’s won’t even exist anymore in 10 years time in a tad over-dramatic to say the least. Sure maybe we’ll live in a seriously messed up dystopia-like world at some point in the future, but I highly doubt we’re just gonna die out any time soon. Humans are far more resilient than we give ourselves credit for, I think.
Wow, that’s a pretty pessimistic view for someone who’s only 13!
The world has a lot of issues right now yes, but I don’t think it’s quite the end yet. Previous times of recession or difficulty have always yielded new innovations and advances.
Don’t write humanity off just yet, if American can get rid of Bush and elect a black president anything is possible!
“The Cloud” is going to turn in to a cloud burst.
There is far too much room for espionage. With so much data conveniently stored in one place this is far too convenient for government sanctioned hackers and regular hackers. It is also easier for corporate espionage, and if miscreants decide to take down “the cloud” they can send an army of botnets to perform DOS attacks against an entire cloud network. How will corporations react when thousands or millions of workers can’t do their job? How will this effect our economy and what government actions will have to be taken to prevent a disaster?
How will media corporations take advantage of the Digital Millennium Act to gain access to peoples login credentials to look for copyright infringements? How will the media corporations threaten legal action against “the cloud” corporations and attempt to control what goes on in peoples private cloud? Right now the media corporations can threaten jail time for the bosses of businesses that can’t control what their anonymous users do, they force them to filter out content whether or not the content is proven legal or illegal, and a host of many other ill-conceived actions. How is this going to affect how “the cloud” operates?
Even if you have nothing to hide, do you really feel comfortable with having governments, corporations or staff of “cloud” corporations peering in at all of your private online activities? Would you feel comfortable knowing that some pervert employee from a “cloud” corporation has the ability to look at your child’s personal pictures? Would it bother you if your insurance company was able to get full access to your medical files without your knowledge or permission? Would you feel comfortable if someone made an false accusation against you and your information was handed over without your knowledge? What if a corporation also makes false allegations against you and all of your corporate and trade secrets were handed over to them?
In my opinion, I think “the cloud” is a very bad idea. There is too much room for exploitation and abuse. The term “big brother” also comes to mind.
I don’t have a simple answer to this. It needs serious thought.
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To me it’s like we are slipping into more and more MICRO contact under the guise of MACRO connection. Yes it will be more global, more and more connections. Faster and faster. It must be like what the brain itself does, with
trillions of neurons firing off messages simutaneously every second of every day. Only WE become the neurons, sending and receiving messages. And neurons seem to be in a constant highly charged, highly excitable state. As a big picture person, I’m not a fan of minutia to infinity and beyond. Perhaps this is why the matrix movie and meditation were popular. One was a great illustration of technology spinning out of control, without any thinking ahead and the other becomes more necessary as humans get out of breath from this forced acceleration. I realize I have a choice, but I also know I’m standing on the grid with all this “humina humina”. And personally, I think the more we rely on our devices, the less we stay in contact with our ability to potentialize. It could be fun..but I think a human brain operating at 100% would be a LOT more interesting. Just sayin….
Viruses no more is a must 😀
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