Small publishers will make their take on their specialty. Of course pornography will pioneer this technology, as porn tapes perpetuated the VCR. Some guy takes nudie photos of himself, advertises the link. Thumbnail pictures are free – to see the screen-size in graphic detail is gonna cost you. Without a printing press, a delivery truck, a marketing staff, or a host of lawyers, he’ll be kickin’ it freestyle.
Instead of deciding what we want and when, advertising companies, their corporate clients, and big computer systems will be figuring it out for us … Subject to endless pitches, we will be identified by our consumer habits, immediately conscious of being encouraged to consume by people who seem to know us better than our friends.
You buy a pack of gum about every two weeks. Since you buy it with your cash card, everyone in the sweets industry has your name on their frequent-buyers list. Ten days after your most recent purchase, you log onto your computer and you have e-mail from Wrigley’s and Bubblicious – coupons, with a button – click here for gum delivery. You have become a habit. It may not seem that bad, heck, it might even seem like they are providing a service. Project this over the immense number of goods we use in our lives, and it becomes immediately scarier.
As a reporter of the future, I am going to know exactly how many folks read each of my pieces. Chances are, the newspaper will be collecting miniscule fees each time someone reads it – two-, five-, ten-cent digital cash stipends for each article. I probably won’t see more than a third to a half of that.
Business meetings will increasingly take place in cyberspace, involving participants scattered across the global marketplace. Scientists and researchers on different continents will probably work jointly on projects with a degree of collaboration that is unrealistic today.
Interactive mixed media would have limitless instructional, educational and cultural uses … The world’s great architects, doctors, musical performers, car designers and poets could use this technology to deliver and explain their own unique forms of knowledge. Students would gain the advantage of being tutored and would derive much more wisdom from the masters than they could by studying passive manuscripts, drawings and musical scores
The NII would make it practical to hook up the algebra students of 20 high schools around the country with 20 of the nation’s best algebra instructors. Students would be able to watch lectures interactively via video. They could also get individualized help by submitting their homework questions, via the NII, to an electronic teaching assistant. This computer program would answer routine questions and refer new ones to human instructors.
We see opportunities to break through barriers previously facing those living in rural settings and those with physical disabilities. Democratic values can be served by making more information and services available.
One of the capabilities of the WAIS [wide-area information server] software is a harbinger of future information-finding software agents that will roam the Net in search of information. This capability is known as relevance feedback.
Traditional as well as new corporate applications will be delivered to end users via the World Wide Web – that is the future.