July 9, 2010

Internet evolution: Where hyperconnectivity and ambient intimacy take us

Imagine the implications of the future that most technology experts foresee: Wireless devices are embedded in everything—including us; cameras record activity in all public spaces; databases catalogue our online moves; massive data centers allow our information to be sorted and understood in new ways; the physical environment changes as “the Internet of things” and “everywhere” applications are widespread; projection of digital material is possible on all kinds of surfaces; immersive, invisible, ambient networked computing makes us available to more people in more ways; software exhibits humanlike thinking; and a direct brain-to-computer interface is possible. These are just some of the future scenarios predicted by experts, as documented by Pew Internet & American Life Project surveys and other current research. These advances can be expected to generate both positive and negative effects and lead to considerable social change.