25 October 2008

Genevieve Bell: “The next Internet revolution is already happening!”

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Genevieve Bell
Yesterday Genevieve Bell, a highly respected anthropologist and Director of User Experience within Intel’s Digital Home Group, gave a lecture at Indiana University’s School of Informatics. One of the university’s doctoral student reports:

Bell used an ethnographic lens to examine what the Internet might look like in 10-20 years from now. She began by noting that the internet is not just about technology: it a social product; it is ideas; it is a set of forces. In other words, the internet comes with cultural baggage wrapped around it. And now, the internet, according to Bell, is fragmenting into a series of technologies.

Bell outlined six different signs that the next internet revolution is currently underway.

  1. The internet is “feral” and on the move.
  2. Language on the web. (“not just a translation problem”)
  3. Infrastructure and the range of upload and download speeds. (“the costs associated with participation is likely to increase not decrease, and the concept of a free and open internet is unrealistic.”)
  4. Regulation of the internet.
  5. Porn, trolls, and social regulations. (“Everyone lies on the internet”)
  6. Socio-technical concerns. (“Today, we worry about authenticity, ownership of information, digital literacy, and the identity of ‘Big Brother.'”)

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