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What’s next?

Posted by: | November 22, 2011 | No Comment |

That’s the question many people have been asking themselves and others lately, both in general conversation and in the media.

We have the Internet. It’s almost literally everywhere.

You can access it on a tiny screen that acts as a music player, video game, flashlight, day planner, and status symbol all at the same time.

The Internet is becoming less of a novelty and more of a “ho-hum” reality.

Let’s stop to think about that for a second.

The Internet is a worldwide, instantaneous avenue of information transfer, and a mere 16 years after it was commercialized and released for public use, it’s become a new type of pastime.

But with the attention span of most individuals in the developed Western world, there is, and likely will be for some time, a pressing need for newer, bigger and better means of traversing the Internet, and using it to benefit its users.

So what does this say about the Internet, and how we perceive it?

According to Tim O’Reilly, who coined the term “Web 2.0,” the term “Web 3.0” that’s also being attributed to him sums it up nicely.

“If Web 2.0 was the moment when the collaborative promise of the Internet seemed finally to be realized,” says The Guardian writer Oliver Burkeman, pointing to users’ ability to create instead of just consume via the Internet, “Web 3.0 is the moment they forget they’re doing it.”

So how can the Internet be used to do more than just create content for public consumption?

That’s a question that has rarely been asked of a communication tool.

Newspapers, radios and televisions can be used to relay All Points Bulletins to help search for criminals and keep the peace. But none of them have the capability to transmit information from a doctor in Singapore to a robotic arm in America that can be directed to perform open heart surgery on a patient.

Newspaper writers and radio announcers haven’t ever been used to map the structure of an enzyme that could be used to help fight HIV and AIDS.

So what’s next?

Humanity finds itself in a position to fix itself using a technology that it created and has become bored with, but still has only limited knowledge of its full potential.

If the history of printed news has taught us anything, it’s that there is much room for development.

So where does the Internet go from here?

under: Comm 455
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