Pew Internet & American Life Project has released a new (and second) report on the Future of the Internet by 2020, which surveys thinkers, stakeholders and others, and comes to a conclusion, that the Internet will continue to spread in a flattening and improving world.
Isn’t that a bit obvious, after all, we are seeing these trends play out in real time. Should we be surprised that there will be a thriving low cost network by 2020? If you get beyond the report’s obvious conclusion, you might be surprised by their pessimistic prognosis of an online future.
The report quotes many of the well-known folks and raises the all-familiar bugaboos – privacy, the evil corporations, big brother societies, and the end of the nation states. I wish the report had spent more time looking at issues which are going to have an impact on the future of the network.
China, South Korea and other emerging broadband powers want more control over the Internet, with not only their own standards, but also their culture. That is part of the network evolution, but how does it impact the network as we know it? For instance, it would have been nice to know what happens to this low cost network when China deploys IPV6 or if India refused to play ball with ICANN. It would have been good to get insights on these topics from the “thinkers.”
I am not sure what the future will bring, but we just have to look back to the past to know, that good-and-bad, right and wrong are part of human evolution. Hitler and Gandhi, Stalin and Martin Luther King, Atom Bomb and Telephone … you could go on and on about the eternal struggle of evil and good.
As the society goes virtual, and networks become essential part of our lives, that struggle will move online. If the network takes our privacy, I believe there will be someone who will find a way to protect it. If there are those who have nefarious designs on the network, and our life, some will step up, and build the requisite antidotes.