As we move to IoT, automation and smart homes and cities and eventually to quantum computing we not only have to configure new encryption technology but also global framework of operation even as national and personal security concerns are met. Finger, retina and facial scan and now even deep vein identification are very safe for now but what about the future? However with over 50 billion Internet-connected devices by 2030 and everything from the defence, finance, health, governance, industry and various services depending on the net we will have to come up with a scalable smart failsafe encrypted digital universe or face massive catastrophe in case of breach or failure. The second important issue is individual freedom and piracy. We have to understand that now it's important to have a digital identity for various purposes which in many cases offer us convenience, for communication, transactions and regulatory compliance. Protecting this identity is different from guarding your privacy. Digital Privacy encompasses three domains: information privacy, communication privacy, and individual privacy.
Every day we hear of incidents of data leaks and sharing by social media and other websites. While this is true in many cases what is forgotten that often it is our own carelessness which results in such breaches of trust. The fact that over 3 billion people use social media regularly creates a peculiar situation. Firstly, all of us are using these websites and services by choice and knowingly accept various terms and conditions. Invariably these service providers are commercial enterprises and like most businesses, it involves customer responsibility too. Yes, there is trust involved and trust must be respected. Yet most of us who complain continue to use the same sites knowing well that we are leaving indelible digital footprints in cloud space. Obviously we are also dependent on various web-based services and online transactions. If you use a social media site there is a certain amount inherent risk you take by sharing information on public platforms even when there are certain safeguards. There is a trade-off between riding the reach of social media to communicate with others versus your individual data. Somewhere a median will be drawn to balance both. Data beyond your basic identification (so that others may know who is saying what) other information will have to firewall. We will need to segregate confidential information from our basic information. Clear differentiation between secret and private will emerge.
The days of an absolutely free anarchic Internet are over. Some regulation and some restraint and some business compulsion will alter the rules of the game. We will see in future better firewalls and transparency online. It will be one in which consumers are more educated about the issues and will not wait until the next embarrassing data breach to take steps to safeguard their personal data. In any case, the future of the Internet is collaborative so there will be more proactive cooperation between consumers and service providers, platforms and devices. According to Amara's Law, we tend to overestimate the effect of technology in the short term and underestimate it in the long run. Surveillance, espionage, data theft have existed in the analogue world since time immemorial. In fact in future technology will make this much more difficult. Nothing in this world is ever going to be 100% safe. There is a chance that there will abuse, theft or destruction of your digital information in the future too but in reality, such occurrences will be far lesser than what we have seen since the beginning of human history.
It is the social changes that I more worried about. We are getting so submerged in a sea of data on all kinds of screens and devices that the anxiety levels are higher. Recognition, affirmation, anger, hatred, applause, devotion, abuse, love, bonding, ideology and politics are all instant. There is alienation among families, friends, and people at large. Massive reskilling is required in the next 10 years to save hundreds of millions of people from losing employment or in some cases self-esteem in the virtual world of tomorrow. While voice cognition and AI will drastically reduce illiteracy there will be new challenges as language, lifestyle and occupations get altered in the always-on world. Submerged in a sea of connected devices our time and space will need to be preserved by self-discipline rather than regulation. Communication addiction is a malaise we need to be prepared to battle. However, several millennia of human existence is evidence that ultimately human spirit and nature helps us to overcome challenges of cataclysmic change.
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