Chaos to rule Internet in 2010

Chaos will rule the Internet in 2010 as spam, viruses and fraudulent e-mails continue to cause havoc, according to Professor Trevor Barr, user environments program manager at Swinburne University of Technology.

Delivering the Smart Internet 2010 report, a 50,000 word prediction on what the Internet will be in five years' time, Barr, who is also the leader of the research team that conducted and compiled the report, Smart Internet Technology CRC, outlined the four distinct issues that various schools of thought consider the Internet faces in the near future.

Speaking at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney yesterday, he said the four traits affecting the Internet are an Adaptive User Environment, the so-called Smart Internet, Rich Media and Chaos Rules.

Professor Barr said the team intended the report will provide insight as to how experts see the near-term future of the Internet. The team interviewed some 35 global IT experts for opinion, as well as consulting 28 secondary sources.

"Once we had all the data we mapped it out and where those experts had shared views we formed 'schools of thought' and actually constructed four different schools of thought," Barr said.

"In terms of the Adaptive User Environment, we feel there's been no killer application to come from suppliers or carriers over the last decade, and whatever changes have happened have come from surprises - Google is a surprise, so is text messaging and e-mail. This shows that users are now driving technological change and within that we now have the notion of User-Centric Design (UCD). In five years successful products will actually come from this process called user-centric design.

"Secondly, we need a basic Internet that works for all, not a 'Smart Internet', as in a world with six billion people, only 700 million can access the Internet, so that is a wide argument for a basic Internet service. We are really only dealing with questions of access and affordability; in terms of rich media, for those that can access it in the future will be any content, anywhere, anytime - rich media is the territory of a lot of technological innovation but the smart designers will keep the users in mind.

"Chaos rules state that the Internet is actually becoming dysfunctional, because there are too many applications, too many problems and a large part of the problem is the lack of trust in online transactions."

Smart Internet 2010 was launched by the Minister for Communication, Information Technology and the Arts Helen Coonan at the ICT Outlook forum held at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.

Coonan said the report is a significant resource that will get people thinking strategically about the opportunities and challenges that the Internet will present as it integrates more into modern life.

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