Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Big Six Future ICT Projections

I am reading a book entitled "the future of the internet". This book is a real eye opener.  After reading this book, I am compelled to think of some  internet "strategic" projections for the next few years.Here are some of "the way I see it" ideas. Beware some of the ideas are "GEEKY".

1.The future of the internet will hinge on its capability to create and solve more social problems.  The Internet is evolving to be an ubiquitous mode of communication, entertainment, education, business and socialising. You could define ubiquitous as the state of being widely present. You can say that it is possible to literally "carry" the internet in your pocket (..if you have a smart phone that is!!!). This of course will solve the problem of communication and information access but will create further social problems including privacy, copyrights, pornograghy, child abuse etc. As long as the internet stays a double edged sword and creates the allure of "you cannot manage me" then this is going to keep attracting various professionals including the humanists, social scientists, public administrators  while not forgetting the technologists themselves.

2. The call for a unified international legal framework to "manage" the internet will only be a far fetched attempt to do the impossible. In my tribe, there is a saying that goes something like this: "One man's medicine is another man's poison". One of the reasons that the internet has been very successful is that it has been able to accommodate these two types of "men" quiet comfortably. Take the issue of copyrights, some countries have been known to have abolished copyright laws as and when historically was favorable to them. These countries now want to protect their Intellectual property,how about the other countries? Drugs and prostitution are legal in some countries, in others...? The internet today will need a "unified" international law to "manage" it. This is a very very difficulty task to achieve. Even after the fervent cold war and the push for democracy and communism by the then two super-powers, there still exist today many countries in the world that have neither the two forms of governments. Is it possible to achieve such a wide scale clear cut philosophical war on the internet and start pushing for a common agenda. Is it possible to create fronts of ideological differences or commons?

3. The generative PC is here to stay. Even though others have succeeded in the development of a business model centered around the use of controlled internet access devices, this trend will not suffice to significantly affect the continued use of the generative PC. An example now is the use of googledocs and other internet based collaborative services that are controlled by a minority of players. This trend creates over- dependency or reliance to a particular vendor or a minority group of vendors, many people are sitting very uncomfortably with these situations. Governments and any institutions projecting a "sovereignity" of the people will not wish to place all their "eggs in one basket". The generative PC has facilitated the exponential growth of the internet because of its ability to allow a very large pool of software developers to develop many applications that not a single "big" software vendor can be able to achieve. This wave cannot be stopped and it is bound to grow.

4. Free and Open Source Software usage will support continued expansion of the internet. Do I need to say more here? Barriers on the acquisition of costly proprietary software for the generative PC will be lowered through the use of FLOSS. The growth of the generative PC  will ensure that the usage of FLOSS continues to soar. Adhoc implementation of copyright protection legislation will push many entrants to the FLOSS way.

5. IT Security will remain a portent threat unto the near future. Many organisations implemented ICT with a very keen eye on the potential benefits that ICT can offer them interms of efficiency in service delivery and information management. Very little regard was placed on the security aspects that were overlooked in the more than warranted drive to achieve growth, profitability and efficiency objectives. It is now the realization that these systems ,that we rely on so heavily ,are vulnerable. Because of this, the issue of security is being addressed in a patchwork manner. We are fixing protocols, encapsulating data with additional security layers etc, these will not significantly address this challenge. A total rethink of the ICT Security fabric will be necessary in the long-term.

6. Open Collaborative Systems and Content Development Networks will be the "Next big thing". Investments to increase internet access are finally bearing fruit in Africa. The submarine cables are finally here (See map to your left). But what will run on those cables? How much of local content is available on the internet? Try searching for something specific to an African country on the internet then you will realise this sorry state. This is more acute in educational content. There is going to be this realisation and more efforts will go towards collaboration in the development of relevant content suitable for localised consumption.

Now...there you have it.