The Pew Research Center asked a set of professors, businessmen, and readers of "technology-oriented listservs" to imagine the Internet of 2025. (Source in PDF and HTML.)
Some respondents speculated that there would be amplification of known trends: "ambient" networks (sensors, cameras, phones/tracking devices) that are increasingly integrated into work and social life, ongoing disruption of traditional "content" industries, and the continued growth of analytics/surveillance ("tagging, databasing, and intelligent analytical mapping of the physical and social realms.") Of course, networks "accurately predict[ing] our interests and weaknesses" implies the loss of personal privacy, first to governments and corporations, but eventually to any interested party or social engineer.
Others predicted decentralization and fragmentation self-forming mesh networks, darknets, and proliferating incompatible national/corporate algorithms. Your freedom would be circumscribed by the ideology of your network's owner.
I put the question to you, O People of Soylent. What futures do you foresee? What trends or pathologies does the Pew report minimize or neglect? How can or should *we* influence the Internet's direction in the next decade?
I suspect that the vast majority of people will either not be concerned about the increasing loss of digital privacy or they won't understand it, and that those in business and governments who benefit from that apathy with take advantage of it. We'll be told comforting narratives about how safe and secure we are, and handed something shiny to distract us while we're plugged into the Matrix's automatic money-milking machine. As far as the global power nexus is concerned, our only purpose is to enrich them.
My only question is what will spark the revolt, and when will it happen? Afterwards, the world may resemble E. M. Forster's story "The Machine Stops" as people discover that the support structures have broken down, and they're on their own. That's when we'll finally see the answer to the question about what human nature is really like, absent the control structures that surround us now.
I suspect that the vast majority of people will either not be concerned about the increasing loss of digital privacy or they won't understand it, and that those in business and governments who benefit from that apathy with take advantage of it....
My only question is what will spark the revolt, and when will it happen?
It won't be a revolt, but means to maintain a level of digital privacy will still exists.
Using the background noise generated by the Internet of things, at least some of the geeks will be able to evade surveillance and maintain a level of privacy in what would be important to them (sure, maybe not a full privacy). The rest won't care.