The Web in 2020 will see:
• Technology convergence, heralding a single personal email/phone
number for life and ‘always on’ connectivity coverage which –
technically at least – has 100% global coverage…
• Software as a service will be the norm. This will involve outsourcing
and streamlining everything from video conferencing to supply chain
• Mobile Web and Internet interfaces will increasingly no longer take
the form of high end luxury gadgets, but will instead become utilities.
We will still think of them as tools, but by 2020 they will increasingly
have become ‘transparent’. Like pen and paper they will be norms,
which when in use, become extensions of our bodies…
• Technologies and applications which ‘make it’ will have stood the
Technological Darwinism test. That is, they will enhance an already
existing basic human need, such as the need to communicate,
exchange goods and services, and shape our own identities, etc…
• The emergence of the Web and other Internet applications as a
‘glocal’ agora. A market place, meeting place and forum for gossip,
debate, politics, entertainment and more, potentially creating…
a more socially aware generation – instead of seeing a rise in ‘web
based personality disorders’, the space which online communities and
social networking sites provide for ‘face work’1 will see a generation
of highly socialized and culturally sensitive individuals.
• Work spaces and work time will be more fluid (for some).
• The Internet will be green – relying on technologies that require
reduced energy, alternative energy sources and offsetting of
contributions to carbon emissions.
• The Web, online communities and social networking sites will have
facilitated the development of an alternative economy. Supplementing
a cash economy with a ‘relative economy’ this will see goods,
services and time ‘traded’ by individuals, groups and perhaps even
businesses both locally and across the world.
• The distribution of mainstream mass media – TV, film, music – will
have changed significantly. Already Channel 42 have announced plans
to sell domestic programmers over the internet. On demand pay-per-
view packages, as well as ‘bottom up’ cultural production as
facilitated by YouTube, will see media consumption further
personalized and diversified.
• After some early teething problems, voting will be carried out online
and via mobile technologies, this will have increased turn out figures,
and resulted in more referendums being called. However, several Digital
Divides will persist. One will be a self-selecting ‘lifestyle’ demographic
of largely middle class individuals living in the post-industrial West who
will ‘drop out’ of the ICT revolution in a ‘Luddite’ by choice movement,
the other, more disconcertingly, will be large numbers of people in
Africa, parts of Asia and South America who simply do not have the
means to ‘connect’ to the Internet.
Download PDF: Life Online, The Web in 2020
Image Credit: Radar Networks