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.
- The internet is “feral” and on the move.
- Language on the web. (“not just a translation problem”)
- 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.”)
- Regulation of the internet.
- Porn, trolls, and social regulations. (“Everyone lies on the internet”)
- Socio-technical concerns. (“Today, we worry about authenticity, ownership of information, digital literacy, and the identity of ‘Big Brother.'”)
Yesterday Genevieve Bell, a highly respected anthropologist and Director of User Experience within Intelâ€™s Digital Home Group, gave a lecture at Indiana University’s School of Informatics. One of the university’s doctoral student reports: