There are some clear technology trends that don't show any sign of changing; among these are:
- Increasing bandwidth and close to zero cost
- Always on and always available (i.e. mobile)
- Global access to an increasing proportion of the World's population
Social networking and rich media have become prominently recently because they have become practical for widespread use. But these are only steps of a continuing journey.
Where might all this be leading and how will it impact people?
Here's a 'thought experiment':
"What if you could see, hear and smell in rich detail indistinguishable from personal experience, everything anyone else in the world is experiencing whenever you choose and whenever they let you"
That sounds like science fiction, and currently it is, but if the above noted trends continue it could become feasible, and anything that becomes feasible usually happens. Even if it doesn't happen completely, we'll certainly get much closer to this scenario. Consider how you perceptions might change if you had such close interactions with another person:
• How would you feel about them?
• Could you take over from them? In their work, in their culture
• How would this change your choice of country, job, language, culture, political affiliation, religion?
The sharing of information globally challenges national identity.
Traditionally Canada has been defined by geographic proximity. I'm a Canadian because I live in Canada. Most people that I interact with, and those that I interact most closely with, are also Canadians. The sum of our interactions has helped define the culture of Canada.
But now, I can interact with people around the globe, and the richness of those interactions is growing rapidly. Will I feel as Canadian in the future as I do now?
These are the kinds of issues that the Canada 3.0 Forum will be grappling with next week in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.