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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

2016: A Peek at Our Internet Future

Many people are predicting how our world will change in the present and distant future. Among the speculation is the discussion of how the Internet will change and how that will affect our lives in the future. The Internet is a huge economic component of all developing and developed nations and as I write this and as you read this we are communicating over the Internet.

Michael Pinto, a member of the board of directors of the New York Software Industry Assocation (NYSIA), is one of many people that are betting on the prosperity of the Internet. Not to long ago, I wrote about some of the legal issues we are facing with the internet and how big telecommunication companies want to implement a tiered fee-based Internet. The article can be found here. Michael Pinto has a much more positive outlook on the development and growth of the Internet.

He believes that, "The biggest shift over the next ten years will be one of attitude, as our mindset of 'going online' is replaced by one of 'being online' ". Michael predicts that the Internet, or "Internet" as he refers to it, will become the essential glue that holds the world together. This huge growth not only depends on the development of the Internet but also on the growth of computer power. Improved computing power coupled with an every expanding Internet will find its way into almost every object we encounter and every task we accomplish.

One critical component to Michael's vision of the Internet future is the "Death of the DVD". This is hard to imagine since we have finally become accustom to DVDs and now when I go to the video store 90% of the movies they have are on DVD. He argues that packaged media formats in general will vanish and which will give rise to downloaded media. The concept of the downloadable media format is already at work today when you purchase ringtones, music, or software online. But Michael believes that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to downloadable media. For example, digital books (commonly referred to as eBooks) have not had major success in the past because of several factors. In the next decade or two with advances in monitor resolution we should be able to download and read any book without getting dizzy or blinding yourself.

The final part of Michael's vision is the birth of a still nascent media form, Interactive Art. He believes that all media will become interactive in an attempt to grab and hold the incredible short attention spans we all will have from living in the digital age. Ironically, as the technology grows, the spotlight with shift from technology to art, as Michael describes it. Once all of the ground work has been laid, it will become more about the art and less about how it is accomplished.

An important aspect to consider, which Michael does, is that this all hinges on how we and politicians decide to control the Internet. There has been a lot of news lately about countries installing firewalls to censor web content; China is one great example. As Michael puts it, "The nations that thrive in the 21st century will be those that recognize the necessity of innovation for national growth -- innovation that will only come from citizens who can communicate easily (and inexpensively) with the outside world".

For more information on internet predictions read Michael Pinto's article on PBS.org as well as these other great articles:

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