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Task 1C-1 Question 1

Posted by Humble 
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Task 1C-1 Question 1
February 21, 2007 09:05AM
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". This change has already started, as telephones and televisions become more integrated with the Net, and connectivity will grow to include everything from your morning alarm clock to the book you read before falling asleep at night. The "Internet" will no longer be a destination, but the essential glue that holds our world together.

Along with a change of mindset will be a generational shift. By the year 2016, no one under the age of forty will remember a world without personal computers. The average twenty year old will find it hard to imagine a time when there wasn't any email to check or Web sites to visit. When we reach this point, even the novelty of the term "Internet" will have long since faded to join such golden buzz-words of yesteryear as "space age" and "atomic".

In addition to constant Net connectivity, computing power itself will grow by leaps and bounds -- and this technology will also find its way into everyday objects. Your mobile telephone will be able to record broadcast-quality video, and a cheap child's doll will have the full interactivity of a video game.

But this improved technology won't be the true revolution; the real change will occur in our culture, and how we communicate with each other on a global scale. You can start to get a sense of this today if you visit the popular video Web site YouTube.com. The first thing you'll notice is that many of the most popular videos are from all over the planet. Within the top fifty videos you'll discover homemade music videos from China, sports clips from Eastern Europe, and even cute pet tricks from South America.

At first glance these amateur videos seem to be crude in quality, but these memes are in fact the first real taste of the "global village" first envisioned by Marshall McLuhan in the 1960's. It's no small coincidence that the concepts of portable computing (the Dynabook concept as envisioned by Alan Kay) and the first computer animation also date from the 1960's. Those seeds planted years ago will dominate the cultural landscape of 2016, and the garden that grows from them will be an international one.

Today, interactive media is still the tail of "mainstream media" and not quite yet the big dog. But in the years to come this trend will reverse, as interactive media becomes the dominant form of communication worldwide. You can see hints of this today as video games get larger budgets than some Hollywood films, and as programs like Microsoft Word add features that allow anyone to publish a blog.

As the Internet matures, it will become more of an art form and less about technology. Just as Charlie Chaplin and Sergei Eisenstein helped define the language of cinema in the early 20th century, a new generation growing up on MySpace and Flickr will shape and define this maturing medium. The Internet generation of today will eventually give us the Citizen Kane of the 21st century.

At the same time, the Internet faces many challenges from people who want to control it. Some nations have started to put up firewalls to censor Web sites, and large communication companies are thinking of creating tiered levels of Internet access. But such efforts are doomed to fail in the face of growing awareness of the Internet's vital position in a global economy. 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. A key competitive issue for nation-states will be how well connected they are to the larger global economy and network of ideas.
JwV
Re: Task 1C-1 Question 1
July 18, 2007 11:22AM
The mindset shift from going online to being online will open many doors, good and bad. Being permanently online, means that you also give up a degree of privacy. In the old days documents were stored in safes, locked away in cabinets, and even under the good old mattress. Now that personal documents are stored on your PC hard drive, and being permanently online, they can be accessed by anyone anywhere in the world. This can be prevented if you have adequate security in place. This means that the average user needs to become security wise to protect his data. Yet more and better hackers are emerging that can bypass the average security levels.

The cyber culture will also develop even further, where friends no longer meet face to face at the corner pub any more, but will interact solely with each other electronically. New social skills will develop and the skill of being able to interact on a personal level will decline. Gone will be the days were a group of friends play ball in the park. This is being replaced by LAN games, chat rooms, date sites. All interaction is done from the comfort of your home. Distance between people no longer matters, since in cyber space distance does not exist.

I feel that as the speed of the net, and related fields improve so more people will start to work from home. The need to go to the office to work will be replaced by connecting to the office network via the net from home. Also education done via the net will grow in leaps and bounds. The way of connecting to the net is also changing. It started with dialup, moved to dedicated lines and now its 3G and wireless. Soon satellite will dictate the way to communicate. When used correctly the net becomes a powerful tool to allow worldwide at little or no cost. Information on any can be gathered and compared from millions of sources. Yet within the net there lurks a dark side. A dark side of hackers, viruses, porn and electronic crime. And with this a new forms of law enforcement is developing to combat it.
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