Stephen Downes Gazes into the Internet Crystal Ball

Intriguing speculations on major issues facing the internet in 2004. “2004: The Turning Point: An overview of some of the issues that will change the way we use the Internet.” A list that parallels my own interests.

  • Email Redux - end of spam, probably end of SMTP to be replaced with authentication
  • A Population in Search of a Community - blogging is too individual, current community tools are plagued by spam, need a way to be heard through blogging
  • Blogging without Writing - interesting one tenth of one percent reply rule, that only 1 in 1000 people participate in online communities for the number of people who read. What if spyware was under the users control and could keep track of content explored, leading to the formation of your own library.
  • Personalization Finally Works - personalization finally begins to succeed as we are able to consume the information we want from vastly larger number of resources. I have links to 500 blogs but I don’t read all of them regularly, suppose I can personalize those lists to find what I want to see.
  • Learning Objects at Last - the education world is doomed because the vast amount of learning resources will be free. MIT OpenCourseWare triumphs. But then where does research occur?
  • New Hype: Simulations - the only content that can’t currently be coopted by the proverbial 16-year-old with a computer and an attitude.
  • Attacking Open Content - newspapers, music, television, movies: all the content producers will be trying to close down the analog hole and the digital distribution as quickly as possible. Maybe the communities will end up being the darknets of speculation.
  • IP Communications, Finally - VOIP and teleconferencing finally begin to arrive.