The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

Thoughts on the ‘post normal world’ and more | Digital Life in 2025 | Pew

Pew have come out with their regular every 5 year survey of internet denizens and this time on their view of digital life in 2025.  It’s a bit choppy leaving readers to form their own view.  15 theses are hardly a theses.  However there are some fascinating snapshots and provocative thoughts as well as the usual summaries of todays headlines framed as the future.

What I still found missing here are more mundane things such as same day shopping delivery or hyper-local 3D printing shops to produce your manufactured gizmo of choice.

However here three of my favourites from people I would expect no less and which summarise what I see as potential (2) and threats (1). 

These three in my view can look at the trends and possibilities, and synthesize into a lucid thought provoking sense of future. Who knows if its 2015, 2025 or 2055.  That’s not the point.  Where is this taking us is the point.

(Paragraphisation ( is that a word?) and bolding is mine as I find that preferable to editing someone else’s words in this context.)

We have entered the ‘post-normal’ world

Stowe Boyd, lead researcher for GigaOM Research, took many overlapping influences into consideration in his response, also figuring in the influences of robots and asking, “What are people for?” He predicted: “The Web will be the single most foundational aspect of people’s lives in 2025.

People’s companion devices — the 2025 equivalent of today’s phones and tablets — will be the first thing they touch in the morning and the last thing they put down to sleep. In fact, some people will go so far as to have elements of their devices embedded. The AI-mediated, goggle-channeled social interactions of the near future will be as unlike what we are doing today, as today’s social Web is to what came before.

The ephemeralization of work by AI and bots will signal the outer boundary of the industrial age, when we first harnessed the power of steam and electricity to amplify and displace human labor, and now we see that culminating in a possible near-zero workforce. We have already entered the post-normal, where the economics of the late industrial era have turned inside out, where the complexity of interconnected globalism has led to uncertainty of such a degree that it is increasing impossible to find low-risk paths forward, or to even determine if they exist.

A new set of principles is needed to operate in the world that the Web made, and we’d better figure them out damn fast. My bet is that the cure is more Web: a more connected world. But one connected in different ways, for different ends, and not as a way to prop up the mistakes and inequities of the past, but instead as a means to answer the key question of the new age we are barreling into: What are people for?”

The age of the ‘global supercomputer’

Mike Liebhold, senior researcher and distinguished fellow at the Institute for the Future, commented, “The Internet is morphing from the global library into the global supercomputer. By 2025, almost every application or service we can imagine will be enhanced by the application of enormous computation enabling widespread applications of capabilities like mining, inference, recognition, sense-making, rendering modeling as well as proactive contextual computing.”

A ‘balkanized’ system

Paul Saffo, the managing director of Discern Analytics and consulting associate professor at Stanford, wrote, “The pressures to balkanize the global Internet will continue and create new uncertainties. Governments will become more skilled at blocking access to unwelcome sites.”

Relevance to Bankwatch:

The nice thing about this kind of survey is that it expands the mind and gets a person thinking beyond the day to day.  The three points brought out from the quotes above are what I find interesting. 

  1. Internet as the next leap in industrialization
  2. Internet as a supercomputer (processing vs cataloguing)
  3. multiple internets

I recently read Thieves Emporium and while the story line is moderately interesting, the lifestyle structure was most interesting.  It’s a time where the criminals use only open source throw away computers to transact with customers.  They do because that’s the only way they can be certain there is no government surveillance while they operate in the ‘new badlands’ buying and selling drugs, pills, and anything people need.  Open source means the badlands can inspect the OS to ensure no surveillance. 

This is a great example of balkanization of internet, or point 3. 

But the other two are where the potential lies.  These talk to the internet getting smarter and delivering solutions to us.

Written by Colin Henderson

March 11, 2014 at 23:25

Posted in Uncategorized

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