Uncertainties

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What are the uncertainties that infuence the future of the internet? List what you think as possible uncetainties in the development and use of the internet in the next 10 years. Go ahead, put your ideas on this page!


Lets start brainstorming. Some suggestions:

1. viruses - both on the user side as well as the hardware

2. terrorism - maybe just a fad

We could also apparently analyze the development and impact of spam on the usage of e-mail. Spam filters may easily cut down trustworthy messages and increase costs. Something like 80% of e-mail traffic is SPAM

Here is the link Spam&Viruses

3. the video internet, with broadband in the future?

4. the mobile internet. The mobile phone made mobile voice communiction ubiquitous. The same technology is now being applied to making internet communication equally ubiquitous. However there are many uncertainties. Will consumers adopt this technology? What applications will consumers adopt? There are also tradeoffs involved. In general to acheive greater data speeds either more aggressive modulation schemes or more spectrum is required. The first involves investments and costs, the second government regulations. What will operators and governments do in the future? How will consumers react to these developments?

5. intellectual property/copyright and the internet. The internet allows the free exchange of all sorts of protected content. Can intellectual property be protected on the internet? If so, how? If not, will the internet fundamentally make the concept of intellectual property obsolete?

6. IPv4 and IPv6. For years there have been dire predictions that the address space offered by IPv4, the underpinnings of the internet as we know it, was being quickly exhausted. IPv6 solves this problem, but it is rather incompatable and hence has not been adopted. Will the internet reach a point where new expansion becomes impossible? Will there be two internets? Will bridging technology finally come of age?

7. Device convergence. The convergence between media and the computer is already well underway. The same is true of the convergence between the phone and the internet and increasingly even the car and the internet. Some envision that one day the internet will be less about human-to-human interaction and more about device-to-device interaction. Will this come to be and what will be the results?

8. Distributed computing. As computers grow more and more powerful, most of the time the power of these machines sit idle. The internet though allows for individuals to offer this idle time to others to take on computational tasks. Deschal and Seti@Home have proven that such a framework for computation is possible. Will the internet become a marketplace for computational power? Can this sort of technology be utilized to map genomes or conduct complex scientific research?

9. The term "cyberspace" is often used to describe the internet. However, the origin of this world is from the science fiction book Neuromancer by William Gibson (and re-explored in similar ways through other science fiction writers i.e. Neal Stephenson in Snow Crash). It was meant to describe a completely different world where people interacted in a completely different way than in the physical world. It involved the whole of one's consciousness, a full virtual reality. From media, to ideas like VRML to elaborate on-line gaming worlds, baby steps have been taken in this direction. However, never does one enter into cyberspace as a seperate reality, sort of like a dream state. The technology has simply not been there. Is this original vision of cyberspace possible? How far along the evolutionary process can we get by 2015?

10. The internet as a workplace. Telecommuting has become increasingly popular. The internet has allowed for increasing levels of virtual communications, from email to video conferencing. People work closely with people for years and never see them face to face (I know this is the case with me). How much can the internet progress to making the office, the daily commute, and business travel obsolete?

11. MobileIP is a very interesting idea which if fully realized should make the internet an easy, ubiquitous part of our existence. In theory it should allow one to be on their corporate network in all ways regardless of where they are, and to allow them to seemlessly roam, without disturbance or reconfiguration from fixed-line to wifi to mobile. However, it again requires a great deal of new modifications and infrastructure. Will this idea pan out?

12. The actual speed of the internet connections and the compression methods employed to transfer files in the next ten years are high uncertainties. Experiments have been performed where they have been able to transfer several gigabytes in a couple of seconds across the atlantic, but for these speeds to become common, the entire infrastructure of the Internet must be changed. Today, the main limitation for expanded use of the Internet is the bandwidth, with DSL technologies being the preferred access types in most high-tech countries. Although these are capable of transferring as much as a few megabits per second, the factor holding these transfer speeds down may very well be the providers' financial interests.

13. The profitability in the telecommunications market and thus the development speed of new technologies is an uncertainty, as the traditional telecoms face digital convergence. Cable providers have been stealing customers from telecoms on services such as internet and voice over ip, who have responded by building fiber networks capable of extreme bandwidths. This also means that the telecoms will hit back at the cable companies, offering high-definition TV feeds, video on demand etc. All these issues will have an impact on the profitability of the converged telecom industry; in the short term the fight will probably a boost in developments and benefits for the consumers, in the mid term perhaps industry consolidation and a slow-down in developments to recover losses.

14. Who will run and govern the Internet in 2015? Currently there are several agencies responsible for parts of the internet administration, such as IANA and ICANN besides regional and national authorities such as in the EU and individual countries. But with some new propositions to revamp the internet, from players such as Cisco systems and PlanetLab, will the same organizations still be responsible or are other organizations needed?

15. The internet allows for the open exchange of information across societies. People who never have travelled far from their homes and who have only been exposed to one viewpoint can now communicate widely. However, the question remains how much different societies actually want to interact, and how much they will be allowed to. A huge percentage of traffic in the world goes to a few, corporately owned, media outlets. In countries like China, access to certain content has been restricted. Will the internet actually become a forum for discussion between multiple viewpoints or will it remain local and largely the domain of a few entrenched interests?

16. Scaling People. One of the more innovative aspects of the Internet is the harnessing of a large number of people and thier behaviors. Examples of this include Ebay's reputation system, weblogs creating large distributed social networks which add endless commentary, analysis or sourcing of news items and collaborative efforts like wikipedia. Even the large scale semiautomatic and automatic gathering of data has had implications, such as software vendors automatically collecting crash and usage data, or Amazon watching purchasing behavior to do individualized recommendations. How will these social networks and collaborative efforts evolve, and how will product design change to harness and use communities?

17. Portable HardDrives/Computing. The IPod has made it popular to start carrying around mass storage devices that can contain a lot of personal data. Companies such as OQO are creating general purpose computers in your hand. These devices will have limited or no connectivity while on the go. How will this constant change in the availability of bandwidth affect application design? These devices can also create small ad-hoc networks that enable a less centralized internet structure for certain types of data. What will that do?

18. Enabling Peer to Peer everywhere. One of the de-facto limitations of the internet is that clients can't reliably talk directly to clients. This is due to the address limitations and security designs at the edges of the network. Can these concerns be addressed, or worked around, or will the norm be for only servers to have peer to peer relationships?

19. The Presentation Layer. Content schematization and enhanced graphics capabilities have enabled new ways of working with the internet. Keyhole and NASA's World Wind, use progressive downloads of terrain imagery and data mapped on to three dimensional environment to give access to something similar to the globe software in Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. External sites have links to small amounts of map data that points to a specific region, adding annotations to the world representation of text, graphics, or animations (such as ocean currents). How will we experience the internet as applications take advantage of richer display capabilities mixed with the massive amounts of distributed data on the internet?

20. Locationally contextual information. Thus far the internet has been pretty much the same regardless of location. Based upon determining the country you live in, google might be offered in a different language or CNN might offer slightly different stories. However, locational features offered by mobile internet access offer much greater granularity. How will this effect the internet? Will it be used to advertise? Will it be used to customize? Will it be used to censor? What will this mean for the internet?

21. The internet and government. In 2001, Filipinos used the internet and SMS to spread info about the corruption charges against their president, Joseph Estrada. They used technology to quickly organize massive street demonstrations and bring down his government. In 2003, Howard Dean used the internet to raise large sums of money and build a viable campaign for the US Presidency. In 2000, the Democratic Party of the US State of Arizona allowed members to vote for their choice for Presidential candidate through online voting. However, recently the web site of George W. Bush's campaign had to restrict access to its site after a denial of service attack. How will democracy be changed by the internet in the future? Will the internet become the forum by which we elect leaders? Will it become the forum through we debate politics and organize mass demonstrations? How will the internet change political discourse? How will politics touch the internet? Is the internet robust enough to handle its role?

22. E-commerce has been greatly aided by the general tax-free situation it enjoys in the US and some other countries. However, some government officials when facing budgetary issues have found taxing this trade attractive. Will tax free status for internet transactions survive? If they do not, how will this effect e-commerce?

23. Internet crime. Today crime is a major concern for people on the internet. Theft of goods and identity are not uncommon. Pedophiles use the internet to lure children. Just this year, a German court tried a man who found someone on the internet to kill and eat. Will crime deter people from fully embracing the internet? Will the media coverage overblow this problem? How can internet crime be prevented or mitigated in the future?

24. Labor flexibility. New technologies and internet offer businesses much more flexibility in finding the cheapest employment and give rise to "bodyshopping" - grabbing cheap labour - across the globe. Clear example of this is the US and Europe making use of Indian residents for programming software and call center services. The whole notion of jobs and workplaces is being redefined. How fast and far reaching will the globalization of labor develop itself because of the internet, and will it ultimately have an effect on equality across continents?

25. Digital divide. As the internet takes up an increasing place in our lives, at least in the developed countries, the question rises whether internet is actually for everyone. There are still many places in the world where the internet is not accessible, or it is too expensive or has very little capacity or it lacks the other necessary infrastructure. Moreover, the usage of the internet by the old and young in our Western society is also very unbalanced. What implications will this digital divide have on the social, political and economical relations between countries and the different sectors of society?

26. Social interaction. Although research shows that internet did not yet have an effect on the time spend with family, face-to-face interaction with friends has decreased as a result of the internet. Online social networks such as Orkut, Friendster and LinkedIn expand from conversations among people who share personal information and common interests, yet who differ in other ways such as living halfway around the world. So, social interaction between people is obviously growing, but will this digital interactivity also lead to a significant decrease in verbal skills of people?

27. Internet voting. The Internet might be examined as a possible new method for voting. When Internet voting is a mainstream, young people would be the most influential in the future of politics. As it stands right now, twenty-something adults are looked down upon in politics. They rarely vote and rarely care about political issues. But that might all change with the Internet. Because that is the age group that is the most Internet savvy, they will have the upper hand in the future. This age group might gain power and influence in the political process with their knowledge and use of the Internet. Will Internet voting will become the norm? Will it also increase voter turnout? Will it fully replace really polling? How secure is it?


Can a software be ultimately improved to a level when one can guarantee the error-free code?

28. Anonymous chatsite. There are some websites (chat boards) where anyone can write anything as anonymous writer. In such websites, people make attacks a certain person or a certain company by putting non-credible information or just lie on the website with evil intent. Especially, recently companies are facing necessity to consider how to cope with rumors floating around on the internet. Even if the information is not false, a certain information on the website can damage a company. For example, one director of a famous American pharmaceutial company was forced to resign because his extramarital affair with a femal employee was disclosed on a anonymous chat board. So far not only companies but also society does not have an established way to cope with creation of rumors with evil intent to attack someone or some organization.

29. the 'holodeck' - the internet could even 'evolve' completely into something else, there is no guarantee that the internet we know know will survive indefinitely or that we will be using this style of internet in the future. the digital tv revolution will see us using tvs as they were meant to be used as 'communication devices' for the first time and if we can grow the technology to teh extent that we can just talk to anyone anywhere as if they were there, will we still want to use the internet and what will it become?? possibly something similar to teh holodeck in 'star trek'

30. 'non text based internet' as the internet moves slowly from text to video, consideration should be taken for the individuals that have been living online for the last two decades, having been used to simply speaking their mind in text they will be prone to misunderstandings and often taken out of context especially as there is currently a large influx of 'new' users to the internet. should special communities be set up online for these people, and would teh existing comunities actually want to 'maintain' their presence. should we hold a vote and say 'text based' or 'video based' and then carry out according to 'democracy', or should we set up small text based hubs for teh people that have no interest in moving to 'video' that will always remain text based and attach disclaimers or employ full time admins to nurse any flame wars that break out. this is already happenning in part with web 2.0 although it is destroying the communities it serves in the process magick