How will we use digital technologies differently if we boost broadband speeds and access? Will faster connections change the way we live?
The Pew Research Internet Project canvassed a bunch of us for our thoughts. Respondents generally noted similar themes, including increased telepresence, expanded socialization and collaboration, the possibility of new art forms, vast piles of data. Some see virtual reality actually in use, while others shade that into augmented reality. Most saw mobile devices as deeply involved in everyday life.
Education and medicine received more attention than other social sectors. People emphasized personalization, big data, lifelong learning, and always-on learning for the former.
My own compressed, almost frantic response:
“Gaming has become a planetary culture industry, and it often relies on Internet connections for downloads, socialization, P2P gaming, security, etc. Game designers constantly push the resolution and display envelope; more bandwidth encourages this. We should expect new forms of gaming to emerge, such as ones integrating daily life with games (think Kinect or Alternate Reality Games) or more-immersive forms (play with that video wall).”
How will life change? I was struck by Laurel Papworth’s far-sighted reflection:
“We are looking at full video lifestreaming in the near future. The Lost Generation had to manually document their lives. The Eternity Generations (from now on) face a future where the tapestry of life has ceased to unravel. Lifestreaming from ultrasound to final illness (and beyond if we add intelligent bots to the life data) will be the killer app. The challenge going forward is to live a full life. No one will be able to sit around in their underwear watching TV if their lives are being streamed for current and future generations. There is a small possibility that by 2025 behavior will have normalized (back to passive, not caring of opinion of watchers) but more likely that will take more time.”
Be sure to read the full document, especially as the end contains a stinger of caution and concern. Respondents sometimes saw limitations, including video becoming un-innovative, “torturous” deployment, a decline in research investment, policy blockages, and general nervousness about digital innovation,