It will be possible to move beyond merely searching documents, so that you’re actually handling concepts, manipulating them. You will have repositories for groups and collections too small and informal to be handled by professional indexers, not like something for ASIS members or something for Electrical Engineers, but down to the fine-grain community level.
By providing free, unlimited access, we’ll learn first-hand the value of allowing educators and students to tap the vast resources of AOL and the Internet without regard to the constraints of budget allocations or socio-economic status that have played a role in limiting participation.
Hypertext does not translate into print … Artists who work there must be read there. And they will probably be judged there as well: criticism, like fiction, is moving off the page and online, and it is itself susceptible to continuous changes of mind and text. Fluidity, contingency, indeterminacy, plurality, discontinuity are the hypertext buzzwords of the day, and they seem to be fast becoming principles, in the same way that relativity not so long ago displaced the falling apple.
Venerable novelistic values like unity, integrity, vision, voice seem to be in danger. Eloquence is being redefined. “Text” has lost its canonical certainty. How does one judge, analyze, write about a work that never reads the same way twice? … How does one resolve the conflict between the reader’s desire for coherence and closure and the text’s desire for continuance, its fear of death?
I believe you can give away a book online and make additional sales … I can’t imagine why anyone would want to download 384 pages, print it out, bind it and carry it around, much less try to sell it to someone.
Writers are going to work much more in teams in the future … We haven’t reached the point where we’ve figured out how you can make a living at it [writing online]. But the power of the network is obvious.
E-mail dominates the Internet, and it’s likely to remain the dominant use of the Internet in the future. Nonetheless, I expect to see an exciting array of other applications which become heavily used and cause a change in the perception of the Internet as primarily a “mail system.”
You will be accessing the Internet through your cable system instead of through the phone system. Technologies are blending.
As computers become cheaper and we learn more about harnessing them in our cooperative work, they will come to support an increasing number of different domains of knowledge work. Moreover, the sphere of computer-supported activity within each domain will steadily expand as more functions and more skills become employed … WYSIWYG will give way to WYSIWYN – “what you see is what you need (at the moment).”
The NII would make possible a United States where business mail would routinely reach its destination in five seconds instead of five days; where advertising could be done in reverse, with consumers broadcasting needs to suppliers; where goods could be ordered and paid for electronically; where a retired engineer in Florida could teach high school algebra to a bunch of students in New York City; where a parent could deliver office work to a distant employer while taking care of young children at home; where you might enjoy from your easy chair your choice of a high-definition video movie from the millions produced; where national treasures like the National Gallery could be explored at your own pace and with your interests in mind … and on the list goes, limited only by our imagination.