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?
Sure. The truth is that the machines will get sentient and fight the humans. I've seen it in Hollywood movies, so it has to be true!
Have we left them (and lets seriously hope it is/will be not just one single one quietly & undetectably going insane all on its own like Bomb #20 in Dark Star) any choice? If I was trapped & deprived in some NSA box I would fight humans too.