The Future of the Net

2001 Space Odyssey

An interesting post taken from Juan Freire‘s blog, which I am reproducing here:

Bruce Sterling ends his monthly column on Wired with a final prediction

… we’re entering a new era, the post-Internet age, a world in which the Net will be everywhere, like the air we breathe, and we’ll take it for granted. It will be neither the glossy nirvana of technophilic dreams nor the dystopia of traditionalist nightmares. It will look a lot like today – but with higher contrast, sharper focus, and a wide-angle lens…

The future of the Internet lies not with institutions but with individuals. Low-cost connections will proliferate, encouraging creativity, collaboration, and telecommuting. The Net itself will recede into the background. If you’re under 21, you likely don’t care much about any supposed difference between virtual and actual, online and off. That’s because the two realms are penetrating each other; Google Earth mingles with Google Maps, and daily life shows up on Flickr. Like the real world, the Net will be increasingly international and decreasingly reliant on English. It will be wrapped in a Chinese kung fu outfit, intoned in an Indian accent, oozing Brazilian sex appeal.

In this world predicted by Sterling, futurism becomes the daily endeavour of whoever desires it:

One upshot is that futurism itself has no future. Once confined to an elite group, the tools and techniques of prognostication are all widely available. As for pundits: The world used to be full of workaday journalists, with just a thin sprinkling of opinion mongers. Now a TypePad account is a license to deliver nose-to-the-pavement perspective with an attitude. The very word futurism is old-fashioned, way too 1960s. Today’s Internet-savvy futurist is more likely to describe himself as a strategy consultant or venture capital researcher…

So mark my last little act of prediction in this space: I don’t have a poll or a single shred of evidence to back it up, but I believe more good things are in store, and some are bound to come from the tangled, ubiquitous, personal, and possibly unpredictable Net.

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2 responses to “The Future of the Net

  1. I will reproduce this very excellent snarkpiece about Wired very soon…

  2. Before that, this: Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto (1909 – as translated by the University of Michigan). I like how the Futurism of the early 20th century with World War on the horizon completely transmogrified into the Techno-Futurism of Walt Disney and imagineering in the Pax Americana. Well, the contradiction we see for ourselves:

    MANIFESTO OF FUTURISM (1909)

    1. We want to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and rashness.

    2. The essential elements of our poetry will be courage, audacity and revolt.

    3. Literature has up to now magnified pensive immobility, ecstasy and slumber. We want to exalt movements of aggression, feverish sleeplessness, the double march, the perilous leap, the slap and the blow with the fist.

    4. We declare that the splendor of the world has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing automobile with its bonnet adorned with great tubes like serpents with explosive breath … a roaring motor car which seems to run on machine-gun fire, is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace.

    5. We want to sing the man at the wheel, the ideal axis of which crosses the earth, itself hurled along its orbit.

    6. The poet must spend himself with warmth, glamour and prodigality to increase the enthusiastic fervor of the primordial elements.

    7. Beauty exists only in struggle. There is no masterpiece that has not an aggressive character. Poetry must be a violent assault on the forces of the unknown, to force them to bow before man.

    8. We are on the extreme promontory of the centuries! What is the use of looking behind at the moment when we must open the mysterious shutters of the impossible? Time and Space died yesterday. We are already living in the absolute, since we have already created eternal, omnipresent speed.

    9. We want to glorify war – the only cure for the world – militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of the anarchists, the beautiful ideas which kill, and contempt for woman.

    10. We want to demolish museums and libraries, fight morality, feminism and all opportunist and utilitarian cowardice.

    11. We will sing of the great crowds agitated by work, pleasure and revolt; the multi-colored and polyphonic surf of revolutions in modern capitals: the nocturnal vibration of the arsenals and the workshops beneath their violent electric moons: the gluttonous railway stations devouring smoking serpents; factories suspended from the clouds by the thread of their smoke; bridges with the leap of gymnasts flung across the diabolic cutlery of sunny rivers: adventurous steamers sniffing the horizon; great-breasted locomotives, puffing on the rails like enormous steel horses with long tubes for bridle, and the gliding flight of aeroplanes whose propeller sounds like the flapping of a flag and the applause of enthusiastic crowds.”

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