Monday, June 18, 2007

Brave New World

TechCrunch alerted me to a very interesting YouTube video created by Davide Casaleggio that appeared first on Read/Write Web. The video talks about the future of the Internet in a 1984 / Brave New World style. A bit creepy where everyone is connected online via avatars or as the video puts it Agav, an agent avatar. Second Life, Amazon, and Google are the short term winners but Google eventually rules the world in 2050. The Agav's have five senses built in so that you can trade experiences with anyone (i.e. Joe's European vacation can be yours too!)

The video is definitely creepy and I hope that avatar interaction never replaces real life interaction (although for some MMORPG's this is already reality). However, it really gets you to think about where the Web is going and how much more we can exploit by making the World "flat." Thomas Friedman's book, The World is Flat, already discusses how small the world is when you can pick up your VoIP and call around the world or email or IM someone in India for example. With Agav's this will give you the feel of knowing someone without knowing someone. However, the video also brings up an interesting point that "No one on the Internet knows that you're a dog."
I think that if this is the main way that we begin to do business, there will be ways to assure folks that you are who you say you are. Stronger security and identity measures will need to be in place.

And then finally we run into this cultural problem. The root of all of our problems right now. (I don't want to get political here but...) Online culture will be dominated by who has the most dollars. At this point, its the USA. Will US culture be the dominant one online? And if so, what are the repercussions? With information and culture so available, will other cultures be completely forgotten, destroyed, or wiped out?

Interesting points here but I think one thing remains is that one mile is one mile and that local news will always be of interest to the users. I spoke about local and the big market opportunity that this is. I think that overall the Web will be used for understanding of culture (hopefully) but the ability to broadcast your culture online and for others to respect and learn about other people. After all, like the movie Babel, misunderstanding is the root of most problems. Could the Web be that next Tower of Babel? Remains to be seen....

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