1. Faster Broadband won’t cut it: as fibre continues to be rolled out to consumers, eventually the question will be asked, what for? 100 Mbps is only essentially for high definition video, and the movie studios want to keep this under lock-and-key. Apple will keep pushing ahead with their AppleTV solution, but the tv and computer remain in different worlds. Television connects to the outside world via broadcast signals or cable, and computers tap into the net via broadband. Separate universes.
2. Calls for greater Identity Management – there is already is a defacto system in place. If someone wants to verify who you are, they ask for your credit card details. There’s nothing more precious than money, and so secure (or semi-secure) systems are in place. Nice to know that it’s Visa and Mastercard safeguarding your identity. Otherwise, who you are online is who you say you are. IP addresses are recorded, but often the damage is already done. In the online world. you exist as your email address and credit card number.
3. Yahoo, Google, and MSN will continue to rule: it’s a sad fact, but humans can’t deal with too much choice. The famous Rule of 7’s from psychology comes to mind here. One only has to study the history of media evolution to see that all new media forms (paper, radio, tv) began as an explosion of creative, individual expression, but soon succombed to ad dollars and corporate consolidation. As soon as the next-big-thing comes along and starts getting everyone’s attention, a buyout offer will be in place. Attention equals opportunities to serve up ads.
4. The Digital Divide will blow out: in a serious way, there will be a class of people who are information-savvy, and know how to find quality things in the quickest way. Everyone else will rely on google’s distorted search system, and be at the mercy of manipulation. Ever heard of the Deep Web? These are rich resources that are publically accessible, but beyond the reach of search engines. Just knowing of it’s existence gives you a leg up. Already the world of RSS and feed readers is pushing into new information territories.
5. The Virtual Economy will explode: taken at it’s most basic level, money is just an exchange for you time and effort. It doesn’t really matter if it’s in the real world or not, but that’s how most people would understand it. Dig a trench, get paid for it, answer a phone, and it’s the same. Time and effort count online as well. It could be playing a character in an online game (Second Life), doing menial work for Amazon (via their Mechanical Turk). or just helping people out with their Myspace Profiles. Either way, it’s making a living from your computer screen. It’s a fascinating social development.