Information Technology in 2050 (SMITHSONIAN)

Question: What will information technology look like in 2050?

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger: I can think of a dystopian and utopian world in 2050.  And a dystopian world we have given up on individual choice and individual reflection.  We have let large stakeholders, whether they were governments or large corporations to make the decisions for us, we have become informational couch potatoes absorbing and consuming information that’s been customized and custom tailored for us without questioning.  We have become the modern equivalent of Orwell’s 1984 in which we believe and accept without questioning.  That’s my dystopian world. 

My utopian world of 2050 is really one in which we have found ways to empower individuals, empower groups and societies, especially marginalized groups through information technologies to energize, motivate, organize, to involve themselves in our society.  We have found ways to help our society manage itself and its challenges from the mental challenges like the environmental crisis, the global warming and so forth better.  Information technology can do a great deal to help us there.  And I hope we will use that opportunity to harness information technology towards that end.  Less a consumerized couch potato information consuming society and more an active involved and engaged society.

Recorded April 22, 2010
\r\nInterviewed by Austin Allen

Will we become a couch-potato society of information consumers, or will we be empowered, motivated and active?

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