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(ReadWith) InternetPrivacy / AlwaysOnPanopticon

Quora Answer : What are the Megatrends and Influencers (technical, political, social and economic) that will be gain dominance in the next 5 years, both with respect to the world and India?

Jan 26, 2014

1) The war over privacy / general purpose computing.

Snowden etc. are just the opening shots. Governments around the world are ramping up their capacities to monitor all electronic communication. They're trying to get their right to unlimited surveillance enshrined in law. (The end result in the US might yet be that Congress approves the NSA's practice.) Meanwhile everyone who cares about their privacy is going to start unilaterally investigating ways to keep their data encrypted and away from clouds that are located in the US or other vulnerable locations. We'll see a big swing back to storing data on your own machines and using P2P syncing for backups, sharing information etc. Cloud providers have surged in the last 5 years, but I think the tide is turning away from them (to mix geophysical metaphors for a second.) More countries will insist (as Brazil is threatening) that companies in their jurisdictions keep user data within the country.

At the same time, there'll be more international laws to try to restrict the computers that you own. The governments will want DRM etc.. allegedly to stop you watching pirated videos (Trans-Pacific Partnership) , but in practice to be able to have a back-door to see whatever you are up to on your computer.

2) Compound that with cheap robotics / drones. (Everyone has a couple of flying cameras with the intelligence of a smart-phone.) and Google Glass type wearable cameras and suddenly privacy is going to get very messy indeed.

3) Rapid prototyping / 3d printing etc.
leads to an explosion in the number of people who want to design physical stuff. There are orders of magnitude more product designers and hardware / thing startups and orders of magnitude more things available in small production runs. Crowdfunding / Kickstarter etc. help accelerate this trend. You'll be able to find a long tail of niche stuff the way you have a long tail of niche web-sites.

4) Climate change keeps making the weather weirder.
More atypical droughts, flooding, out of season heat-waves and cold-spells. More disruption to the harvests in different parts of the world. More speculation of food prices. More farmers go broke. Potentially more hunger.

5) The US continues to lose both military power and moral authority.
More small wars that the US hasn't the resources / will to get involved in / stop (eg. Syria). More countries ignore the US agenda more of the time.

6) The continuing rise of "netocracy", that is, a class of internationally minded, privileged, "nomadic" people who feel more comfortable with and loyalty to their peers in other countries (eg. other Quorans) and less loyalty / affinity with people who just happen to be from the same country or city. This international elite will support both international lawmaking and international protests. (Everyone from advocates of global human-rights standards to Occupy etc. are part of this way of thinking.) The netocracy are loyal to their affinity networks first, and native countries only a distant second.

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