I was joking with some friends last week about going retro on communication for a week. No mobile phone, no internet. Just the house phone and me. Fortunately for me, my job depends on being connected, and there’s no way I can be on the internet and not do personal stuff (on my own time, of course). This got me and my friends joking about how we never left the house when we were waiting for a phone call back in high school. We’d sweat over sisters and brothers ‘tying up the line’ and making it impossible for us to speak with our boyfriends. Those were the days.
Flash forward 25 years. Communication has changed to the point that we are starting to rely less and less on our phones – even if we can take multiple calls at once from anywhere in the world. Today Mashable.com posted a piece called “What the Web of Tomorrow Will Look Like: 4 Big Trends to Watch’. As someone who loves anything tech, anything futuristic and tech and most things internet related (just not my complete inability to get OFF of it), I thought this would be very interesting for me to check out.
Once I read through it, I got to thinking. The one prediction that got my mind running was number 4. Social Media Will Be Its Largest Component. This lead me to start thinking of cool scifi movies I’ve seen and their predictions and which, if any, ever come true. There’s ‘Minority Report’. I think we’re getting to a point where we will be identified and personally addressed by ads as we walk through train stations, yep. BladeRunner has the video calling. Oh, by the way, I am certain there are many examples that pre-date the movies I’m mentioning, but that’s not the point. From there I got to Videodrome. Virtual/Reality.
Born was a kernel of a thought. What if Second Life had been introduced more recently. Let’s say two years ago. I wonder momentarily if it would have taken off but it was just seconds before its time. Per Wikipedia, the highest number of logged in avatars at the same time was in January ’09 – a paltry 88,200. Comparatively, Facebook states that more than 35,000,000 FB users change their status daily. Having joined Second Life and logging a total of 3 hours on it, in toto, I can say that I don’t think so. It’s a really cool application and my mind raced at the potential and possibilities. But, in the end it was too hefty for me. Facebook, on the other hand, has got me hook, line and sinker. What I would like to see, and here I am going to make a prediction of my own that this will in fact happen, is a merging of a Second Life type of application with Facebook, or the development of something like it by Facebook. How many hours do your friends (and you, admit it) spend on Gangster Wars, or Farmville, or CafeWorld. To me it seems a natural progression. So, you heard it here first, folks. Too bad I don’t get paid for correct predictions.
What disappointed me about the forecast? That there wasn’t a feature that locks you out of your own devices under certain circumstances. I’m saying that if you are too drunk to be out in public, you are too drunk to be on Skype, IM, or even email. Of course, leave it to Google to have ‘Mail Goggles’. A tiny lab add-on that allows you to indicate after what time of night and on what days you will be required to take a short math test in order to send your mail. You can indicate how difficult the test is meant to be. I found it more annoying than useful, but to be truthful on more than occasion I had to complete the test several times before I could send the email. They should have a ‘maximum attempts’ setting in there, too. These seem like such simple, yet important, features that should be included on any device that can access the web.