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The Internet Gives Power to the People Rather than to Institutions

Saturday, August 26, 2000

Andre Salwyn
Les Affaires
Technology Saturday

John Patrick, is at once a strategist, visionary and, by his own admission, a dreamer. While he dreams, the “techies” listen – that is what happened at Internet World in Los Angeles, last April, and in Las Vegas, in August, at the IBM Developers’ Conference.

Patrick has a clear vision of the way in which the Internet will influence human existence:

We are at the beginning of a transfer of power from institutions to people. The Internet’s future will be subjected to the needs of the people – serving as a rapid, available, omnipresent, natural, friendly, intelligent and reliable resource.

The long-awaited “bandwidth” will become available in accordance with the merger of telecommunication and cable companies. The differences in the services these companies offer will disappear.

Internet “jams” will unfortunately not disappear. Modem jams will be replaced by server jams as providers will have difficulty dealing with the growing use of the Internet.

The constant availability of the Internet will encourage people to do more things on line such as seeking constant updates on the weather, the stock market.

Today, 98% of the Internet is accessed using a computer. In two years, this percentage will be reduced to half. In future, people will be able to access the Web via television, PDA’s, telephones, public kiosks and even radio.

With new technology, cell phone users will be able to place calls all over the world without having to worry about language. A new “numeric translator” invented by IBM will permit messages sent in English to be translated into the language of the person receiving the message.

With the arrival of the “Internet-phone”s and their popularity in Europe, Patrick predicts that, within a year, European Internet usage will surpass American usage. The user-friendliness of the Internet will be made possible through a “new architecture,” “free source codes” and the development of a Linux-like system that will make “content access” much easier.

The Internet will become increasingly more useful with the installment of increasingly “specialized portals” that will allow people to share common interests.