Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A wave of technology

As reported on the BBC website today, 15 years ago the net was 'founded' as a free, open system that anyone could use. The effects, while slow to take off, are now moving at a pace that is phenomenal. The net has become such a part of life it's hard to remember what it was like before it. Indeed anyone younger than myself by just a year or so probably can't remember that. In that respect I, and many others, really have been at the forefront of the web's creation. I remember MSN messenger, Audiogalaxy, Hotmail and Napster and now it's Youtube, FlickR, Facebook and Itunes that have taken over - all evolutions or re-imaginings of existing ideas, made more involving, user created - the first three websites in the second list only exist because of users input, nothing else.

*As an aside Audiogalaxy was a music peer-to-peer website that had a lot of web 2.0 characteristics before the term existed - it had forums, user groups and you could even send songs to be queued up for other users - this was in the late 90s.

A link I found just yesterday via my old course tutor was a fascinating read about how the time that people have spent developing Wikipedia is actually nothing in relation to the time human's have spent watching television and that the net is now actually changing people lives because web 2.0 allows them to create information, or simply, to be creative.

What you have to wonder about is when the next generation take over they will treat the web as a standard, a norm, and rather than being impressed at what it can do they will say, 'why can't it do X?'. This will open up new and currently unimagined potential. It's always worth remembering this quotation - and one of my all-time favourites - if you believe the web is reaching its limit:

"Everything that can be invented has been invented." - Charles Duell, Commissioner of US Patent Office, 1899

As a final thought, this video is an amazing insight in to the future of the web and what it might become, or is on its way to becoming...

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