Things have changed a not over the last few years. Once the net, was the preserve of the few. Talking about servers, hosts and site, let alone html or mail, was unusual. It looks like we are entering a new generation of technology, that isn't lost on the technologists. Some like Thomas W Malone or MIT believe that the current communications revolution is going to change the world as much as mass literacy. His research predicts the future of work is one where more business is done Peer-to-Peer.
What is interesting about his view is he likens it to what has happened in government, as communication has improved less social stratification is needed.
This is not lost on much of the Web community. The recent Reboot conference's theme this year was whether technology is causing a new renaissance. Perhaps over the next few years we will see groundbreaking inventions with internet technologies, not they have reached a level of maturity. Society seems now to be ready.
One message that apparently did come out at Reboot8 as Robert Paterson talks about is more markets and trading in business requires more relationships and personal trust. Perhaps ethics will be of increasing importance. For those in the industry who do what they say, and produce the goods, this is a good thing.
Market based trading of skills; services and goods could lead to a very different society. With services that are normally provided by large organisations, cheaply outsourced: to the east or automatic services, small groups can provide valuable services organised in their own companies. There is less need for weighty middle-management layers and large company hierarchies. Complex systems and projects are increasingly less managed and more done.
But in these changing times, as Malone says, it's up to us to choose the world we want.