2018 Will Be the Year When the Internet Collides With Reality

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The onset of a new year brings plenty of predictions, and so I will hazard one: Many of the biggest events of 2018 will be bound together by a common theme, namely the collision of the virtual internet with the real “flesh and blood” world. This integration is likely to steer our daily lives, our economy, and maybe even politics to an unprecedented degree. For instance, the coming year will see a major expansion of the “internet of things,” especially home and other smart devices subject to our commands. So much of our time with information technology has been taken up by texting and Facebook, pure communications of symbols and photos and videos. The next steps will be controlling our doors, heating systems, lights, stoves and refrigerators, and moving toward driverless cars. The virtual world will be managing our older physical processes more and more. 

But the possibility of independence from internet use is diminishing rapidly. The bright side, which is very bright indeed, is that the integration of the physical and the virtual will spread productivity gains throughout the American economy. The downside is that skill in virtual worlds will determine a person’s financial success and enjoyment of life more and more, to the disadvantage of those on the dwindling side of the digital divide.


2018 Will Be the Year When the Internet Collides With Reality