Thursday, 21 May 2009

worth reading

Charles Stross is a dude - near future sci-fi is a) VERY interesting and b) not often done well. He pulls it off - if your interested I highly recommend accelerando.

Either way this is his keynote speech from a recent MMO conference - which doesn't have too much to do with MMO's but a lot to do with the future of the internet and computing in general.

The concept that I think is most interesting and already semi-visible within current high-end gadgets (ie the iphone) is the dissolution of the net-space/meat-space boundary (ie internet becoming part of the real world rather than something on the other-side of a screen). This is something that will be most likely the next paradigm shift (the advent of the 'net was the last one). Moving to a society that treats information and the access of it as a basic human right. Currently its only the hard-core netizens (ie me) that get annoyed when they are cut off from internet access but this is rapidly changing.

The business and academic worlds have accepted email as the standard method of communication, Twitter and its blogging brethren are becoming the accepted methods of breaking news (see swine flu and the Mumbai bombings). While much of the populous consider the internet a hobby or something to use to send the odd email it is rapidly (for people under 30) becoming the only method of communication and research.

In my case more and more of my 'luxury' purchases (ie DVDs) come from online and using google maps on my phone has saved me several times (can't wait to get my iPhone once i can afford it). With things like the sixth-sense in development and pushing more of the internet into the real world.

Going back to the speech I think one of the most interesting aspects of this is that it is predicted within the next 20 years - with e-readers and similar already hitting the market as well as the iPhone considered the bench mark for next-gen mobiles I wonder if a lot of this won't be here sooner. It's also interesting to see how the rate at which we lose the ability to predict the future is lessening. In the 1900's people thought they could see clearly to about now. Now people are un-willing to bet beyond the next 5-years let alone several decades.

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