Future of Internet Scenarios

Australia’s technology research consortium, Smart Internet Technology CRC, has released some results of an 18-month study examining what the Internet might evolve into by 2010 and the implications for end-users.

The report discuss about specific areas including the Open Source movement, social networks, digital games, voice services, e-health, and mobile devices.

The study points to four types of future, named Schools of Thought – or general scenarios: the Adaptive User Environment, Not The Smart Internet, Rich Media, and Chaos Rules. These scenarios are viewed not as mutually exclusive but as co-existent and to some degree intertwined.

1. Adaptive User Environment
An overriding assumption here in the context of the Internet for 2010 is that those creators, suppliers, and service providers who invest in understanding the complexity of human factors, and who apply their knowledge about the end-user interaction with the Internet, are generally the most likely to succeed. The best new technologies and services will be those that are created, designed, constructed, and marketed in ways that will be highly adaptive to human needs in the Internet environment of 2010.

2. Not The Smart Internet
The proponents of this School of Thought  advocate that a simple, user-friendly, and culturally appropriate Internet is the best option by the year 2010. It may be better in the  future to concentrate on addressing the
shortcomings and problems related to the operation of the present Internet rather than investing in, and building, a new Internet for the elites. We need an Internet that offers basic services for all.

3. Rich Media

is primarily driven by technological innovation in a world where there are a plethora of devices, applications and services feeding off the Internet by 2010. In a rich media environment, more and more people are able, and also can afford, to access the Internet, via a workstation, mobile phone, a PDA, or some other appliance. Therefore, as we approach 2010, more and more people will access a wide array of Internet based services irrespective of their dependence on a particular technology or a certain mode of connectivity.  It’s the ‘any content, any device, any format, anytime’ paradigm for the Internet by 2010.

4. Chaos Rules
Is primarily concerned with an Internet in the future that may be in a
continual state of decay and worsening disorder. Exponents of this School of Thought widely share a sceptical pessimism about the robustness of Internet services that may be ruined by ‘spam’ junk emails, rogue hackers and viruses.  They distrust the utopian visions of a ‘high-tech’ society because an over-reliance on information technology also creates pathologies and vulnerabilities.  Chaos Rules advocates believe Internet futures will be dominated by a negative utopian vision they describe as Digital Dystopia.

Download the full report Smart Internet 2010 (1.25MB, PDF) report or its Executive Summary (816KB, PDF).

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