Survey Results on the Coming Internet:   Yes to Security, Decentralization and Immersion  

It is our great pleasure to present final results of this study exploring where the Internet is going.  
 
First, a little background. Our blog of May 30 highlighted George Gilder’s new book, Life After Google, forecasting how blockchain technology will create an Internet that is secure, decentralized and sensually immersive.  Using our method of collective intelligence, our blog of June 13 presented comments from several experts to frame these issues more carefully.  

This blog of June 27 presents results from a survey of 20 experts who answered our survey questions.  The responding experts are listed below, followed by detailed results using bar charts and comments.  Responses are often less that 20, as respondents do not answer all questions.  This is a small sample, but anything more than a dozen responses is sufficient to get into the right ballpark. 
 
Here’s a quick summary of what we learned:

 
Security May Arrive About 2027   

We found a sharp division of opinion, with roughly half of our experts thinking there is little or no chance that the Internet would become secure — and the other half thinks there is about a 60% probability that blockchain and quantum cryptography will solve the problem at about 2027.  After noting the success of Gilder’s previous forecasts, we tend to accept those who agree with Gilder.

Decentralization Likely About 2028-2030

We find some consensus around a 60% Probability and Most Likely Year About 2028-2030. The critical technologies are thought to focus on blockchain, but quantum, AI, biometrics and the Internet of things (IoT) also thought to offer localizing capabilities.

Immersion  Highly Likely About 2031-2032

The experts show good agreement on a 70% probability that immersive capabilities will arrive about 2031-2032.  They also suggest a variety of technologies will make this possible: blockchain, VR and AR, gaming, AI, IoT and a useful brain-computer interface.
 
Despite pockets of doubt and uncertainty, we think this study tells a compelling story about evolution of the Internet.  The continuing advance of computer power, possibly using quantum, nanotech and photonic technologies, is likely to make complex blockchain platforms feasible over the coming decade. Along with applications of quantum crypto and AI, a new generation of Web systems is likely to greatly improve security and move control from tech companies to individuals. Some confusion and security failures will remain, of course, but glitches will be accepted by a younger cohort of users. The development of richer Internet experiences using VR/AR/XR, biometrics, AI, the IoT and holograms is very likely to bloom into the Metaverse long anticipated. Obviously, many other trends will also play important roles in the new Internet, as noted in our experts’ comments.

The strategic implications should be formidable. The status and control of the large tech companies is likely to shift to users, and the Internet service providers (Verizon, Comcast,  etc.) may face competition from satellite systems flooding the air with cheap and abundant access. Apple and Elon Musk are launching satellites even now and expect to envelop the Earth with high-capacity broadband in a year or two.  In addition to fierce competition from these new sources, the entire supply chain of ICT equipment and services will be disrupted by an advanced generation of suppliers. Users should gain more sophisticated and immersive capabilities that are needed for the high-tech society ahead.

This is small study, but TechCast thinks it illustrates the power of our 2nd generation website in providing authoritative strategic analyses of hot topics quickly. Thus far, we have solved the  MegaCrisis by identifying 5 universal principles of a global consciousness, and this study outlines the new Internet architecture that promises to revolutionize life online. TechCast is considering our next strategic topic for study, and we welcome your opinion. Email us at Halal@GWU.edu to suggest topics you consider worthy of attention. 

 

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Peter von Stackelberg, USA

 

PROFILE SUMMARY

Peter von Stackelberg is a futurist, writer, story architect and worldbuilder, and university lecturer. He has more than four decades of experience as a writer and award-winning journalist and almost 30 years of experience as a consultant and professional futurist.

For the past decade, Peter has focused on emerging information and media technologies and is an expert with multiple publications on transmedia storytelling and constructing storyworlds. He has also worked on technology, innovation, and strategic foresight projects for companies like Honda R&D North America, General Motors, Shell Oil Company, Lockheed Martin, Texaco, Hasbro, and many others.

His book Technology & the Future: Managing Change and Innovation in the 21st Century was a best seller in its category for five weeks when released on Amazon in 2014.

Peter has taught at wide range of university and college courses in English, communications and business, including Transmedia & Digital Storytelling; Technology, Innovation, and the Future; Environmental Journalism; Systems Thinking; Strategic Management; and Business Communications. He currently teaches in the Communication Studies department at Alfred University.

Peter has a B.A. in Journalism from Ryerson University, a M.S. in Studies of the Future from University of Houston-Clear Lake, and a M.S. in Information Design & Technology from SUNY Polytechnic University.

Email:pvonstackelberg@gmail.com

The Coming Secure, Bottom Up, Immersive Internet

 

Bill’s Blog – June 14, 2020

 

Our previous blog of May 30 summarized background information on the Internet. It then posed three questions about advances in blockchain based the provocative new book by George Gilder, Life After Google:

Security  Can we expect the Internet to become secure and avoid todays hacking, viruses, malware, identity theft, pirating millions of personal data sets? What technologies will permit this? When?  George Gilder seems certain that the cryptology of blockchain will make all transactions safe from these threats. 

Decentralization  George Gilder thinks blockchain technology will permit a bottom up Internet that avoids the plethora of passwords, logins, cookies, tech giants, etc. How likely is this possibility? When? Do you agree with Gilder that blockchain will avoid all these tech company systems and return control to individuals?

Immersion   Virtual reality (VR) is slowly entering mainstream use, and sophisticated games create rich virtual environments. Gilder thinks the new Internet will be rich with sensual information and graphics. Will fully immersive  technology including 3D graphics, stereoscopic sound, haptic sense of touch and other effects become mainstream?  When?  

Like others, TechCast has serious doubts about blockchain. But how can we ignore this stunning forecast about the imminent transition to a vastly different web? Gilder was right in his landmark books, Life After Television, MicroCosm and TeleCosm!  His politics are crazy, but his knowledge about brilliant entrepreneurs in the trenches of Silicon Valley is breathtaking and compelling.  Yes, blockchain seems overly complex and demanding of resources, but so too were the first smart phones, the size of a brick. With quantum computers entering use, it’s easy to imagine blockchain becoming sleek and ubiquitous as computer power becomes infinite. 
 

This little study of blockchain is TechCast’s furthers our new approach to using collective intelligence directly in this newsletter. We focus on simple designs that are relatively quick, like action research, but offer big strategic payoffs. Our previous study using background data and 12 experts produced a definitive model of global consciousness to resolve the MegaCrisis.

In fact, our forecast of global consciousness seems to be erupting into public life even today as the “Black Lives Matter” movement abruptly shifts attitudes around the world. The sudden emergence of this political power is reminiscent of the “Me Too” movement that ousted sexual predators, as well as the passing of “gay marriage” laws a few years ago. Big change is always possible when the time has come. The most telling thing about  today’s push for racial justice is that it is led by young people across the political and racial spectrums, the cohort that intuitively favors principles of global consciousness. This newfound power could be turned to resolve any of the other great obstacles to serious change. In short, a major shift to global consciousness is almost here, roughly along the lines of our previous study.

This first round on the coming transformation of the Internet presents comments from our experts to frame the questions more accurately. We conclude with a short survey to get a better sense of what to expect. Here’s a quick summary of what we learned from the experts:

Peter King is rightly concerned about the vast potential impact of an even more demanding Internet – increased use of energy, more pollution and climate change, more intense tribalism caused by siloed information sources, distractions from reality and Nature, obsession with frivolous delights and so forth. In Peter’s words the question becomes security for whom? … Ironically, a technology that was supposed to bring the world together may ultimately be responsible for tearing it apart … we have created a cohort of young people who have completely lost touch with Nature.  This is the generation that believes milk comes from cartons and meat has no connection with the cruelty of intensive livestock farming…”

Jonathan Kolber focus on the increasing richness of multisensory online experiences and sees big possibilities for an improved Internet replacing travel and improving human awareness. Here’s how Jonathan puts it: “Fully immersive VR will transform how we work and play…  much of the pressure on the environment for physical resources will diminish … People will be able to share experiences with others … with reduced cost and social friction … An inexpensive full-body haptic suit will probably be the last barrier to full immersion … VR-enabling and enhancing software, including virtual worlds, will be a major growth industry of the 2030s and beyond.” 

Dennis Bushnell focuses on broader changes in Internet technology, forecasting ubiquitous computing to flesh out the Global Brain. Dennis describes it this way: “Blockchain is touted as a nearer term security solution, but has scalability, security and operability issues… The emerging Quantum Crypto approach is beyond blockchain on the way to quantum communications security solution …  A rapidly evolving Internet of Things (IoT), involving robotization of nearly everything with ever improving AI and intelligent agents … Machine/brain interaction is developing into 5 senses virtual reality/holographic projection/immersive presence… enable phone capabilities to go directly into the human brain, as we all become  part of a connected Global Brain.”

Steve Hausman sees major obstacles to security and decentralization, but the technology is likely to become practical in about 5 years.  Listen to Steve’s main ideas: “Threats to the Internet will only increase in the future when everything will, in essence, be a computer… so they are vulnerable to becoming compromised …  every type of safeguard we put into place an Internet adversary comes up with a counter measure …  blockchain technology has the potential to transform security in a radical fashion such that its use might obviate the need for passwords and ensure that individuals attempting to gain access to a website are validated …  will become practical in about the next five years… .  It is likely that in another decade VR and AR will become so commonplace that these devices will be with many people all of the time.” 

Peter von Stackelberg sees serious limitations in blockchain technology that will prevent the security and decentralization claimed by George Gilder. But he also thinks blockchain will serve a useful niche. Here are his main ideas: “A single bad security incident could discredit public acceptance … Blockchain technology typically doesn’t perform as well as non-blockchain systems with similar functionality … I seriously doubt that blockchain will return control of information to citizens … we are early in the commercialization stage” of the technology life cycle.”

Alexandre Pupo draws on his ICT skills to forecast these trends. He thinks The Internet tends to become a more and more insecure space for people in the next ten years. That will happen due to the increase in numbers and types of autonomous agents … Blockchain technology has a small chance of replacing things like passwords, logins, and other authentication and validation mechanisms … Part of the immersion technologies – the fewer complex ones – will become mainstream by 2030. The more complex ones still have a longer path and will not become mainstream before 2035.” 

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The Bottom Up, Secure and Immersive Internet

The Bottom Up, Secure and Immersive Internet

 
This week’s blog explores the coming next generation Internet — a web that is secure, decentralized, sensually immersive and has other advanced features. Below are key trends driving this change.
 

The Blockchain Revolution
 
George Gilder’s latest book, Life After Google, is a landmark forecast on what he calls the “cryptocosm.” Like his earlier book, Microcosm, which forecast the Information Technology Revolution caused by microchips, followed by Telecosm, which forecast today’s explosion of wireless technology, the cryptocosm extends major advances in blockchain technology into all spheres of the Internet.   Gilder thinks the cryptocosm will produce a web that overthrows the top-down monopolies of Google, Facebook, Amazon and the other tech giants that have created a web that is insecure, clumsy and destined to fail. Using stunning examples of brilliant technological advances by pioneering entrepreneurs, Life After Google promises an Internet that is secure, private, decentralized and controlled by users rather than the tech giants.
 
In Gilder’s terms:   “Google is hierarchical. Life after Google will be heterarchical. Google is top-down. Life after Google will be bottom-up. Google rules by the insecurity of the lower  layers in the stack. A porous stack enables the money and power to be sucked up to the top. In Life after Google, a secure ground state in the individual, registered and timestamped in a digital ledger, will prevent this suction of hierarchical power.”   A telling sign is that China is leading the blockchain revolution. In October of 2019, Premier Xi Jinping called on the nation to “seize the opportunity of blockchain technology as a new security architecture for the Internet.” In April 25, 2020, China launched its national blockchain platform, the Blockchain Service Network (BSN). In time, Xi plans to replace their national currency and other currencies around the globe with new digital systems.   TechCast has reservations about  blockchains. It requires multiple people to endorse a transaction, burns up huge amounts of energy and generally seems too complicated. But we should not discount too easily this latest vision from one of the seers of technology.
 

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Bill’s Blog – May 09, 2020

Wrapping Up Our Study of the Global MegaCrisis

 

I am grateful for the many wise comments contributed to our study of the Global MegaCrisis, and also for the  many responses from readers of Bill’s Blog. A close friend in California told me: 

“Bill,  I love what you are doing with your blog.  I want you to know you DO have hugely interested readers… I am right now sitting in a rocker on my deck , reading your blog, watching the moon rise, drinking a glass and generally communing. In my imagination, I can actually hear your voice.   Please keep on keeping on.  This is important work for all of us and for the planet.

Onward in grace and in hope! Julie”

As one example, the Men’s Group of my church in Georgetown, Holy Trinity, one of the most influential in DC, took to this message with enthusiasm. After outlining my thoughts in a Zoom meeting, they decided to devote five meetings to discuss the five principles of global consciousness.  The meetings on principles 1 and 2 have been held thus far with great success and the others are planned in the following weeks.  I am left amazed and gratified to find such an honorable response. It certainly has left an impression on the more than one hundred men in this group and their wives, many of whom joined the meetings.

Now it is time to wrap up this small study by noting a few references you may find useful: 

  • My blog of March 28 provided background information and issued a call for comments on solving the Global MegaCrisis. 
  • The blog of April 11 presented responses from seven contributors that concluded the coronavirus shows the present world order is not sustainable and suggests moving to a global consciousness. 
  • The blog of April 25 included another six responses extending our discussion into even more hopeful territory. 
  • The Journal of Future Studies is posting a summary of all this in their online version. 
  • Jess Garretson, CEO of The Cognis Group, has been posting podcasts on all issues of Bill’s Blog. The latest is here. 
  • An article summarizing the entire project is available here at BillHalal.com
  • To learn more about contributor Sohail Inayatullah, see How to Become Futurist and the Metafuture School

    One final essay trickled in recently from my colleague and good friend Pradeep Rau. Pradeep is a brilliant scholar, a seasoned manager and an inspirational leader. His considered advice is offered below.

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Mario Guillo, Spain

 

PROFILE SUMMARY

International PhD in Sociology, Degree in Communication and Master’s degree in Business Management. He developed his doctoral work in Finland and Spain, studying the Finnish Innovation System and focusing on the potential of Social Networks to develop Open Innovation Ecosystems.

Associate Professor of Participatory Foresight and Social Innovation (Department of Sociology – University of Alicante, Spain). Researcher at FUTURLAB – The Foresight Laboratory at University of Alicante (UA) and CMO at OGPI – The International Cooperation Project Office at UA. Since 2007 has been working as expert in Foresight, Innovation and Knowledge Transfer in more than 30 international cooperation and consultancy projects in 5 different continents.

Visiting professor in Aalto University, Haaga Helia University of Applied Science, Arcada University and University of Turku (Finland), Leuphana University (Germany), Deusto University (Spain), Pontifical Catholic University (Peru), Instituto del Bosque at Simón Bolívar University (Venezuela) and Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil), teaching postgraduate courses and workshops on foresight methodologies, innovation strategies and communication tools. He is author and editor of different scientific articles and books on Foresight, Innovation and Strategic Communication Issues (in Spanish and English language), and founding member of The Millenium Project Spanish Chapter.

Email: mario.guillo@ua.es
 

Enric Bas, Spain

 

PROFILE SUMMARY

PhD (Hons) in Sociology . Full Professor of Social Foresight and Innovation at the University of Alicante (UA-Spain) since 2001. Visiting Professor/Researcher in universities worldwide.Director of FUTURLAB-The Foresight Laboratory at UA. FUTURLAB is part of three international major projects concerning Social Innovation: LASIN (Latin American Social Innovation Network) and SEASIN (Sout East Social Innovation Network) –both financed by the European Commission- and Red CYTED de Prospectiva e Innovación (financed by the intergovernmental science and technology program for Latin America and the Caribbean area).

Editorial Board Member of multiple scientific journals / book collections (European Journal of Futures Research, Journal of Futures Studies, Springer-Nature, Plaza & Valdés, etc…). Former member of the WFSF-World Futures Studies Federation Executive Board (2000-2005) and the European Futurists Conference Lucerne-Switzerland (2005-2012). Member of the SFRI-Strategic Foresight for Research and Innovation experts group of the European Commission (since 2005), and Coordinator of the WG3: Design of an effective Foresight-for-Innovation Network in Europe.

Recent outstanding publications would be “FLUX-3D, Participatory Foresight for Social Innovation” (Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2013) or “The Future Internet” (Springer, 2015). Late research (EC project “OpenDoors”)  has been oriented to the future of Shared & Collaborative Economy, and the regulatory role within the dialectics state/market (to be published in FUTURES journal). Currently working on UX-Design, Participatory Foresight, Complexity Management and Social Innovation. More recent area of interest: Climate Change, Social Change (Lifestyles) and Circular Economy business models (shared and collaborative economy).

Email:  bas@gcloud.ua.es
 

Alexandre Pupo, Brazil

 

PROFILE SUMMARY

 Professional with experience in technical and managerial aspects of Information Security and System Development, contributing to operations and results optimizations, to eliminate errors, and to build better technological solutions and organizational processes.

PhD student in Administration, also holds an MSc degree in Administration, an undergraduate in Information Technology, specialization in Information Security, and a specialization in Business Management.

Contribute to Brazilian and international initiatives in areas like Technology, Information Technology, Information Security, and Management as the TechCast, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), and the Program for Future Studies (Profuturo).

As a member of these organizations, develop activities related to social, technological, managerial, information security, and future aspects of existing and emerging technologies.

Email: alexandrepupo@gmail.com
 

 

Kakha Nadiradze, Georgia

PROFILE SUMMARY

 Dr. Kakha Nadiradze as President of the Association for Farmers Rights Defense, AFRD Georgia is a certified practitioner of Agriculture, in the field of Food Safety, Environment protection, Plants and Animals AgroBiodiversity conservation. He received multiple awards from FAO and other International Organizations. Dr. Nadiradze currently serves as Country Representative and National Coordinator Southern Caucasus Countries of the Coalition for Sustained Excellence in Food and Health Protection, CSEFHP. His research work is connected to quantitative and qualitative GMO Analysis. His current research interests connected with BioBanking for the conservation of Agrobiodiversity. Dr. Kakha Nadiradze, an accomplished executive whose distinguished career in high tech spans the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, has been appointed as Task Force Member of the Global Genome Biodiversity Network, GGBN.







Email: nadiradzekakha@gmail.com

Bill’s Blog – April 25, 2020

 

Our blog of March 28 issued a call for comments on solving the Global MegaCrisis. The blog of April 11 presented presented responses from seven contributors that concluded the coronavirus shows the present world order is not sustainable and suggests moving to a global consciousness. We now present responses from the second round of this study using collective intelligence again. Quick summaries of the responses shown below show some who see more peril ahead and those who see the promise of change.

Jose Cordeiro captures this nicely by noting that the Chinese word for “crisis” means both threat and opportunity.


Hazel Henderson, Futurist and CEO of Ethical Markets Media, offers guides to avoid a collapse  of the Internet under heavy loads caused by the virus crisis. “Now that  everyone and every organization on the planet is going virtual … the question is on everyone’s lips: ‘Will the coronavirus break the internet?’ We at Ethical Markets are using some simple rules… They won’t harm anyone’s business or other outreach activities.  Rather such politeness and consideration for essential users and public information can help assure that the internet can continue to be the vital backbone of our lives for the foreseeable future. 

Peter King, Environmental Consultantprovides comments from two of his associates in Asia:  “Among my peers, there is considerable anxiety about what kind of world will emerge from COVID-19.  The accumulating threats to the planet—climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, illegal wildlife trade, air and water pollution, depletion of fish stocks, loss of coral reefs, among others—have been put on the back burner, while billions of people are hunkering down at home.  On the other side of this pandemic, will we go all out for economic recovery at the cost of the remaining absorptive capacity of the planet, or will we have learned our ultimate lesson—Nature always wins in the end.  

Jose Cordeiro, Vice Chair, HumanityPlus and Director of The Millennium Project, shows how this crisis presents both threats and opportunities. “We are currently living in a MegaCrisis, which implies MegaDanger but also MegaOpportunity. Even though Covid-19 originated in China, it is now a global problem and it requires a global solution. This MegaCrisis can be the MegaOpportunity to move forward together as one global family in our small planet. 

Michael Lee, Futurist and Author, examines the possibilities: “We could be facing unemployment and poverty on a scale that will dwarf the impacts of the financial crisis of 2008-9. When the global economy awakes from its lockdown hibernation, will it be a zombie economy? Will the epoch of wars and empires, which has engulfed history and caused more death and grief than I have the stomach to calculate, finally be over? Can we come together as one human race, black, white, yellow, brown and all the beautiful shades of human skin, to focus on the one reason why we’re all here in the first place: to use our fleeting lives for the total, ethical upliftment of human civilization?”

Fadi Bayoud, Consultant, Strategic Anchors, offers his vision of a preferable future: “beautiful as a priceless piece of art where: Spirituality drives human relationships. Science is respected, and governments invest more in scientific research … People’s development becomes a social policy. Education becomes free and foresight oriented …Economy becomes shared and sustainable … The countryside and Nature are a source for spiritual, psychological, and somatic healing. Industrial energy production is sustainable. Individual households produce their own energy needs … where rivers and lakes are source of pure and clean water. Health paradigm shifts to prevention.”

Julio Millan, President of the World Future Society, Mexico,  thinks “The megacrisis … is showing us that we have been leading the wrong model: it is not about individual gains, but about the common welfare. …  to behave like good citizens and understand what it means to do things for our community, to be empathetic to our neighbors, and to create better societies. Our concern now should be, what are we going to do when the liberal order, to which we are so accustomed, falls? We are in a historical moment, because after the pandemic our preconception of the world is going to change: we are entering a new era. 

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