Monday, September 25, 2006

"The Future of the Internet II"

The Pew International Report - "The Future of the Internet II" provides some fascinating scenarios for discussing the state of Network Culture. For example, their summary suggests that by 2020:-

"A low-cost global network will be thriving and creating new opportunities in a “flattening” world;

Humans will remain in charge of technology, even as more activity is automated and “smart agents” proliferate. However, a significant 42% of survey respondents were pessimistic about humans’ ability to control the technology in the future. This significant majority agreed that dangers and dependencies will grow beyond our ability to stay in charge of technology. This was one of the major surprises in the survey;

Virtual reality will be compelling enough to enhance worker productivity and also spawn new addiction problems;

Tech “refuseniks” will emerge as a cultural group characterized by their choice to live off the network. Some will do this as a benign way to limit information overload, while others will commit acts of violence and terror against technology-inspired change;

People will wittingly and unwittingly disclose more about themselves, gaining some benefits in the process even as they lose some privacy;

English will be a universal language of global communications, but other languages will not be displaced. Indeed, many felt other languages such as Mandarin, would grow in prominence"

Pew Internet: Future of the Internet

I am only just beginning to read the report so I can't say that I have come up with a considered reaction to it (this is a reactive blogging post). However, I can't help feeling that in the summary and reporting I have read so far there is very little made of the impact of the American Government or the so-called War on Terror on the development of Net Culture. I think this is important because I am afraid that we might be moving into an era of techno-jingo-ism and cold war ( with elements of 'hot' war mixed in) which will bring technologists and scientists into ethical conflict with the institutions of state and international governance on an unprecedented scale.


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