December 14, 2008

Pew Research Center: "Future of the Internet III: How the Experts See It"

The Pew Research Center has released Future of the Internet III: How Experts See It

A survey of internet leaders, activists and analysts shows they expect major technology advances as the phone becomes a primary device for online access, voice-recognition improves, artificial and virtual reality become more embedded in everyday life, and the architecture of the internet itself improves.

They disagree about whether this will lead to more social tolerance, more forgiving human relations, or better home lives.

I was one of the people contacted, and gave my perspective. The press release quotes me for my bubble-popping views on Second Life and its ilk:

The evolution of augmented and virtual reality: ...

"For some reason I've never been able to comprehend, certain pundits can seriously propose that the wave of the future is chatting using electronic hand-puppets. Flight Simulator is not an aircraft, and typing at a screen is not an augmentation of the real world."
- Seth Finkelstein, author of the Infothought blog, writer and programmer

The "electronic hand-puppets" phrase sums it up for me. At the height of the hype, when Second Life was being marketed to various A-listers, I wished I had had the opportunity to attend one of those presentations and bring a ventriloquist's dummy, communicating only by using the dummy (i.e. raise the dummy's hand instead of mine, put it in front of me and move the mouth when I spoke, etc). I'd say the dummy was my "avatar", and I was in Projection Reality. The point would be to illustrate how ridiculous it all is, but I suspect the audience wouldn't get the joke (plus I don't have the status to pull off something like that).

Anyway, I'm quoted a few more times, but the only other really good line I have is "One Laptop Per Child is a classic "Ugly American"-style project."

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in press | on December 14, 2008 05:00 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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