Imagining the Internet
January 10, 2005 9:11 AM   Subscribe

Imagining the Internet. What will become of the internet? And how far off have prognosticators been about it thus far? Submit your own predictions, if you dare.
posted by rushmc (25 comments total)
The internet(s) don't exist per se. It's just a central, interactive computer that users login to, and it generates content and interactivity based on the user's profile.

For example: all those people you interact with in chatrooms: they're all fake. Computer-generated personalities designed to keep you hooked into the system so that you won't be able to use your time to self-actualize. They have even create industries around this whole internet(s) phenomenon to convince you that it's all real.

Imagine that you work as a web developer, at a web consulting firm; everything you build is internet(s) related, and all your spare time is spent on the internet(s). You, my friend, have no real life. You live in a fantasy world.

It's time to logoff.
posted by jsavimbi at 9:45 AM on January 10, 2005

I post, therefore I am.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:49 AM on January 10, 2005

the internet will prove to be a passing fad, just like the airplane.
posted by three blind mice at 9:52 AM on January 10, 2005

That jsavimbi bot is getting very sophisticated.

On another aside, Tim Berners-Lee looks exactly like Kevin Spacey in that sketch on the top of the page and Sterlings' mullet looks looks like it belongs on a dude who wears too much Navajo turquiose jewlery and possibly wifeswaps in the hottub. Futurism in the front, party in the back.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:57 AM on January 10, 2005

Internet2 will not be free, nor open.

Corporate controlling interest really missed the boat the first time around. I don't think it will happen again.
posted by orange clock at 9:58 AM on January 10, 2005

A loud voice will come from compuer speakers across the land.
"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"

The curtain will be pulled back to reveal a cackling John Poindexter, pulling levers and strings.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 9:59 AM on January 10, 2005

I forgot to mention that posting in forums has the same effect as an echo.

First you post something really unique (to you) and then the internet(s) machine waits for a couple of moments and responds to your post in one of three ways:

Friend, for or troll. That is the cornerstone for the holy trinity of the new millennium: trolls. It all boils down to trolls.
posted by jsavimbi at 10:05 AM on January 10, 2005

Trivial: I did a search on "video" and it was very amusing to see the phrase "Information Superhighway" (capitalized, no less!) in the very first result.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:11 AM on January 10, 2005

Bold prediction: the internet(s) will be used primarily as a time-wasting tool by bored office workers, who will wonder how office workers of the past managed to get through their monotonous days without that particular crutch to lean on.
posted by Stonewall Jackson at 10:15 AM on January 10, 2005

I predict that before another fifteen thousand years have passed, we will have developed self-perpetuating communal mind-clouds, where everybody is suspended in a transcendent state surpassing bliss, in which your noncorporeal mind touches every point in space, time and thought simultaneously, so that every shiver of a quark is like a single orgasm filling the universe at once. That'll last about five years, until somebody reinvents the popup ad.
posted by Hildago at 10:22 AM on January 10, 2005

My prediction is of little interest to anyone.

So here goes:

The internet, having developed into the Shopping Superhighway that it has, will be overthrown by quaint little local shops, thereby recreating the diversity currently missing from our lives.

The blogosphere [which will still exist] will tout these shops, and people will start travelling to find out just what's so great about them. Someone by the name of Sam will buy them all out and start up the StupidStores again.

We will all be sitting here, commenting on the state of the web and asking whatever happened to...
posted by kamylyon at 10:41 AM on January 10, 2005

Due to an overwhelming majority of new information being represented only in digital format, much of human knowledge and experience during Interconnected Network Times (as the era will be known) will be lost, making the efforts of the people who made such things meaningless.
posted by Captaintripps at 11:00 AM on January 10, 2005

Bold prediction: the internet(s) will be used primarily as a time-wasting tool by bored office workers, who will wonder how office workers of the past managed to get through their monotonous days without that particular crutch to lean on.

I've always known I was ahead of my time.
posted by effwerd at 11:06 AM on January 10, 2005

Okay, I've got a real one. I believe in -- I guess it's transhumanism.

As technology continues to grow, eventually there will be storages devices capable of storing all the experiences, thoughts and memories contained in a human brain. So not only do we not need these yucky bodies anymore (we can still use them, sure, but we'll have the option of losing them), but best of all, in every meaningful sense, immortality is both possible and universal, I'm guessing in our children's lifetime.

The internet will continue to be all the wonderful and idiotic things it currently is, but it'll also become a conduit for these versions of oneself (if you can save it to disc, you can certainly make copies) to go anywhere the net can reach for download into a local processor body, so you can experience an ever wider array of things, and then save those experiences back into the mainframe.

To me, that seems quite possible. I'm kind of stoked about it, actually.
posted by chicobangs at 11:15 AM on January 10, 2005

I just love this quote:
What the street used to be to historical dandies like Brummell, Baudelaire and Wilde, the Net is to the electronical one. Cruising along the data boulevards cannot be prohibited and clogs the entire bandwidth in the end. The all-too-civilized conversation during the rendezvous stirs up some misplaced and inconvenient information, but never leads to dissidence. Willfully wrong navigation and elegant joy riding in somebody else's electro-environment is targeted to trigger admiration, jealousy and confusion, and self-assuredly heads toward a stylized incomprehension. One fathoms the beauty of one's virtual appearance. – Geert Lovink, 1993
Not that I understand it, really... Yet I love it.
posted by taz at 11:15 AM on January 10, 2005

Two words, tek war.
posted by drezdn at 11:33 AM on January 10, 2005

Hildago has the vision. He wins. I'm still holding out for virtual porn though.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:58 AM on January 10, 2005

You're right, Hildago wins.
posted by kamylyon at 12:45 PM on January 10, 2005

hmm chicobangs, sounds kinda like this movie.

i'm in.
posted by quin at 2:29 PM on January 10, 2005

I agree with the notion that the internet is going to vastly change the way we perceive and interact with the field of education.
posted by Ark_Light at 3:08 PM on January 10, 2005

"In fact, the robots will re-create us any number of times, whereas the original version of our world exists, at most, only once. Therefore, statistically speaking, it's much more likely we're living in a vast simulation than in the original version. To me, the whole concept of reality is rather absurd. But while you're inside the scenario, you can't help but play by the rules. So we might as well pretend this is real - even though the chance things are as they seem is essentially negligible."

I think this guy should be the one suing the Wachowski Brothers, not her.
posted by ruddhist at 3:33 PM on January 10, 2005

Soul Catcher Project

A Lifetime in 10 terabytes.

Jack me in.
posted by exlotuseater at 4:27 PM on January 10, 2005

My prediction for Teh Internets: goatse, goatse, and more goatse.
posted by keswick at 5:09 PM on January 10, 2005

I used to think that the internet was going to trigger the next phase of human evolution, a spiritual and intellectual revolution that will finally allow us to end poverty, sickness, and crime, enable humans to be free and equal regardless of station or background, make money and power irrelevent, and allow us to become the numinous beings we all have to potential to be. Then I lost my third dotcom job, and I realized that people aren't very goddamn numinous after all.

I still think the internet has the power to transform us, though; 15 years ago, if you asked me who played Spock's half-brother in Star Trek V, it might have been days or even weeks before I could tell you it was Laurence Luckinbill. Today I can find out in seconds. If that's not the next phase of human evolution, it'll do until something better comes along.
posted by RylandDotNet at 7:07 PM on January 10, 2005

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