The biggest shift over the next ten years will be one of attitude, as our mindset of “going online” is replaced by one of “being online”. This change has already started, as telephones and televisions become more integrated with the Net, and connectivity will grow to include everything from your morning alarm clock to the book you read before falling asleep at night. The “Internet” will no longer be a destination, but the essential glue that holds our world together.
Along with a change of mindset will be a generational shift. By the year 2016, no one under the age of forty will remember a world without personal computers. The average twenty year old will find it hard to imagine a time when there wasn’t any email to check or Web sites to visit. When we reach this point, even the novelty of the term “Internet” will have long since faded to join such golden buzz-words of yesteryear as “space age” and “atomic”.
In addition to constant Net connectivity, computing power itself will grow by leaps and bounds — and this technology will also find its way into everyday objects. Your mobile telephone will be able to record broadcast-quality video, and a cheap child’s doll will have the full interactivity of a video game.
As the bulky footprint of personal computers becomes smaller, the desktop computer as we know it will disappear. Thanks to decreased computing costs, the average American home will become littered with computers — like the television sets of today, you’ll find them in cars, kitchens and even bathrooms.