Every so often someone will conjure up a vision of the internet that offers a real insight using imagery that allows everyone to visualise complex concepts. One such insight was posted last week on Google’s official blog as part of a series on what the internet will look like in the next 10 years.
This post on the ‘intelligent cloud’ predicts that people will use ever more advanced applications to tap into the mushrooming ‘cloud’ of computational resources, online data and content. The authors predict that computer systems will get smarter by building their ability to ‘learn from the collective behaviour of billions of humans’ and by ’gleaning relationships between objects, nuances, intentions, meanings, and other deep conceptual information.’
While the post is intented to be inspiring and optimistic, the future it describes is disturbing if the ‘intelligence’ of that cloud can only be tapped by the powerful.
It is interesting to note that Google’s Spector and Och don’t express any reservations about systems that will be able to ‘glean relationships between objects, nuances, intentions, meanings’. Yet I’m not the only one to fret about such a vision from two of Google’s most senior engineers. But forewarned is forearmed. Journalists and researchers are going to have more reasons to defend their own privacy from systems that may evolve ways of tracking our internet activity in unexpected ways. Additionally, while we can currently tap into web 2.0 resources in imaginative ways and combine different search and networking tools to develop effective research strategies, overwhelmingly research strategies deployed by journalists consist of simple search engine queries.
But I suspect that the picture painted by Spector and Och means that – compared with today – our ability to function as really effective journalists and researchers in 2018 will depend far more on our ability to grasp, use and ‘mash’ tools to explore with precision just as publishers are ‘mashing’ tools deliver content.
Tags: mash web3 google filter privacy web2 tools