I really liked the question and wanted to preserve my thoughts here for future reflection. 5-10 years is a long ways to be projecting, especially online. I don’t think I could even go 2-3 years out the way things are currently going. But I’ll give it a go.
Within 5 years:
- Infrastructure will improve significantly. If the economy doesn’t tank so badly, we will see rapid expansion of bandwidth “to the curb”. We’re already seeing the beginning of this in unlicensed spectrum being leveraged to provide rural “high speed” wireless. And Google is lighting up dead-fiber like it’s money is burning a hole in it’s pocket.
- The cloud will be more federated. Instead of having two or three main incumbents in the IaaS arena, tools will gradually be released to allow individuals more authority to maintain their own part of the Internet.
- Data will be personal again. Projects like diaspora, The Locker Project, and others will force the API paradigm to shift toward individual users. Instead of a centralized API, a P2P network of individually managed APIs will allow web apps to get data where it (authoritatively) lives without users worrying about 3rd parties doing the right thing with their data.
Within 10 years:
- Traditional government will fragment. The existing government as we know it will change rapidly. Today’s government paradigms worked for getting things done for the last century. I think it’s clear that there are more efficient ways of how government could work given today’s technology. I think many people will try to bring their own ideas of government forward. This will happen in a way that allows people to subscribe to the parts of government ideology that they agree with and opt-out of the parts that don’t benefit them. Fragmented governments will not exist in the real world, but will be logical groups of people who self-organize online with the objective of specific benefits for their group. Traditional government will be forced to accept these “2.0” governments or will be shuttled gradually into obscurity.
- The singularity will be a lot more real and a LOT more pervasive than ever. While it will likely not happen in the next decade, we will start seeing nano-tech that we will use to improve parts of our biology. Within 20 years, bio-tech will be in the up-swing of a huge market growth that will easily be in the multi-billions. Mobile will no longer mean “cell phones”, Mobile will mean “you”.
- Pharma as we know it will die. (This is my own personal wish and completely unrelated to Internet/Mobile.)