Experts Weigh In On Potential Impact Of Gigabit Internet: Pew

Chuck Bednar for – Your Universe Online
The coming age of gigabit connectivity will usher in the age of holograms and virtual reality, immersive gaming, next-generation wearable technology, 3D printing, new collaboration services and the most sophisticated artificial intelligence yet, according to a new Pew Research Center report released Thursday.
As part of the report, which was prepared in association with Elon University, Pew asked over 1,400 technology experts and Internet builders to share their thoughts about new online activities and applications that might emerge as Internet speeds soar past the 1,000 megabits of information per second (Mbps) threshold.
In a statement, researchers said they asked survey participants whether or not they believed there would be “new, distinctive, and uniquely compelling technology applications that capitalize upon significant increases in bandwidth in the US between now and 2025?” Eighty-six percent of those interviewed answered yes, while 14 percent responded no.
The study’s most common theme, Pew’s director of Internet, science and technology research Lee Rainie told PC World’s Grant Gross, is that “this level of bandwidth and connectivity will change basic human interactions. It’ll change the idea of being together, what community can be.”
In short, the increased bandwidth will make it possible for online interactions to feel more real than they do currently. However, some survey responders, Gross explained, were worried that virtual interactions would become so lifelike that they could lead an increasing number of Internet users to view them as being better than reality.
Experts believe that this so-called vivid telepresence that would become possible in the era of the gigabit Internet would come in the form of Star Trek-style holodecks, holograms, fully immersive gaming, new collaboration services for enhanced virtual face-to-face meetings and perhaps even 3D pornography, the PC World reporter added.
Marti Hearst, a professor at the University of California-Berkeley, told Pew that gigabit Internet collections could make it possible for people to “sports and music virtually, distributed, across the globe,” to “have virtual Thanksgiving dinner with the other side of the family,” and to have “remote assessment, treatment, and surgery” for health issues.
“Generally, more interaction will be done with others remotely. For example, your golf lesson could be done with a coach remotely, in real time, while he or she watches your swing at the tee and has you make corrections and adjust your grip,” she added. “These ideas aren’t new, but they will finally work well enough if given high enough bandwidth.”
Likewise, Jason Hong, an associate professor in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, said he believed the enhanced internet would likely lead to breakthroughs “in terms of video quality, audio quality, robotic control, and time.” He also predicted that gigabit connection speeds would lead to increased use of life-logging technology, telesurgery and remote medical support, and new types of cloud-based applications.
According to The Guardian, the report is based on the notion that gigabit Internet speeds will spur new technology in much the same way that dial-up access led to the widespread use of email and Web surfing, and how broadband connections brought music downloads, video streaming and social media into the mainstream.
In January 2013, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, speaking at the US Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting, issued a call to have gigabit Internet connections in all 50 states by 2015.
“The US needs a critical mass of gigabit communities nationwide so that innovators can develop next-generation applications and services that will drive economic growth and global competitiveness,” Genachowski said at the time.
FOR THE KINDLE: The History of 3D Printing: redOrbit Press