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The National Intelligence Council recently published it's projection of what the world will be like in the Year 2020. While there are many important things within, one section grabbed my attention in particular:

Growing connectivity also will be accompanied by the proliferation of transnational virtual communities of interest, a trend which may complicate the ability of state and global institutions to generate internal consensus and enforce decisions and could even challenge their authority and legitimacy.

More below:

The trend toward even more capacity, speed, affordability, and mobility will have enormous political implications: myriad individuals and small groups -- many of whom had not been previously so empowered -- will not only connect with one another but will plan, mobilize, and accomplish tasks with potentially more satisfying and efficient results than their governments can deliver. This almost certainly will affect individuals' relationships with and views of their governments and will put pressure on some governments for more responsiveness.

While terrorist and hate groups do organize via the Internet, I believe that the coming-together of groups that force the government to enact policies that actually prevent terrorism and assuage hate will outweigh such negative uses.

Another relevant quote:

Reports of growing investment by many Middle Eastern governments in developing high-speed information infrastructures, although they are not yet widely available to the population nor well-connected to the larger world, show obvious potential for the spread of democratic -- and undemocratic -- ideas.

I'm assuming undemocratic is a codeword for "Caliphate". Nevertheless, I see this as a positive trend.

I would highly recommend that everyone read the entire report [pdf, html], as it pretty much lays out all the challenges that we'll all be facing in just a (relatively) short while, some of which are pretty damn scary.

(Note: All emphasis mine. Quotes from pages 75 and 77 of the pdf).

Originally posted to jimblor on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 09:15 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Power to the people! (none)
    Got to love those internets!  

    Since Tom Delay has already declared during the elections that DailyKos supports terrorism (by funding his opponent) we are the new revolutionaries!

    My ancestors fled religious persecution in the 1630's, fought in the revolution, and crossed the prairies.

    Here's to our generation - crossing the world - wireless!

    Buying America Blue!

    by SallyCat on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 09:23:48 PM PST

    •  Same argument against labor unions (none)
      This was the same justification to fight labor unions and communism. The idea of workers banding together to wield their power against the elite was anathema. Thus was created the evil Red Menace and the violent attempts at suppressing unionizing. Our government failed to stop labor unions but managed to create communism as the boogeyman of America.

      GOP: Party before Country

      by puppethead on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 09:46:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting (none)
    I think Wired had an article about a year ago that made a case that the Web would render governments irrelevant.

     It seems to be happening to quite a degree really, pretty much everything can be done through the web, and the only trick is now how to make Bush irrelevant to us.

    •  Well, Wired.... (none)
      Didn't Wired used to run 3 or 4 articles an issue back in the 90s saying that the Web would render governments irrelevant?

      This is saying something a whole lot more intelligent, sophisticated, interesting, and credible--that the internet could facilitate the emergenece of international communities of interest at much higher levels of participation and communication than exist today.

      The result will not be "rendering governments irrelevant"--how's your virtual community in 57 nations going to fix the pothole down the street, JP Barlow?--it will be rendering them more responsive, more democratic... more like left-liberals have been saying governments should be for, oh, the past 240 years or so.

      My main critique of this report is that the 2020 date is way too distant. This sort of stuff is already happening, and will probably reach the level projected for 2020 by 2010.  

  •  Sounds about right (none)
    I seen a couple of papers that get into the nuts and bolts of some of this.

    To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind.

    by Descrates on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 09:36:09 PM PST

  •  Sounds good to me, though I'm not sure if (none)
    its the case. The internet could just as easily become a tool for totalitarian control.
  •  I doubt it (none)
    seeing as the internet as we know it in America could be seriously limited or at least fragmented by the actions of just a handful of major carriers. Last time I checked major carriers also happen to be mega-corporations, a la republican. There will be more government control of internet in most countries and probably even this one.
    •  A Big Concern, To Be Sure.... (none)
      But this is precisely the sort of battle that could prove revolutionary in shaking some sense into the online conservatives who've been washing their brains so regularly low these many years.

      When they finally get smacked upside the head with the fact that it's corporations, not the government, that's coming to shut them up, at the same time it's coming to shut us up, too.  

      I don't expect this to radicalize them all overnight. I see it as a much more gradual process. But if this sort of showdown does come, I think it really will represent an enormous organizing opportunity for us. I just hope we are ready for it.

      •  BY the time that happens (none)
        the government and corporations will be hardly distuinguishable from one another :)
      •  Yeah but. . . (none)
        Lots of small internet providers still pop up regularly.  Knowing a bunch of these guys out here in Northern California - by the time the government or big corporations figure out how to control them, they'll find a way around.

        Control was easier when there was wired connectivity required.  Wireless will change the way we communicate.

        Buying America Blue!

        by SallyCat on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 08:44:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Information is very difficult to control (none)
     Totalitarian governments have to control information to survive. A Government may try to shut down the Internet or closely regulate it, but because the Internet is so closely tied to modern commerce, it is a near impossible task. If a nation chooses to participate in commerce, they have to allow the Internet and the subsequent free flow of ideas. This can have unintended consequences. One of the first examples of this was the scandal over the loss of the Kursk.

     When the Russian submarine Kursk sank, the "Official" line the Russian Navy tried to sell was that an American spy submarine had rammed it and then escaped. The relatives of those sailors turned to the Internet for information and got the reports of defective torpedo accidents, seismic data, and the Western analysis of a probable cause. They were also aware that survivors were trapped on the sub and Western nations had offered rescue assistance, but Russia had declined the offer. President Putin finally got a handle on the situation, but it was very ugly.  Had they not been empowered by the Internet, their only source of information would have been the Russian Government.

    The present administration is rolling back the Great Society, the New Deal, the Enlightenment, and the Renaissance.

    by JohnInWestland on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 11:30:28 PM PST

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