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The Future of the Internet as a Rhizomatic Revolution toward a Digital Meanings Society

  • Sirkka HeinonenEmail author
Part of the Public Administration and Information Technology book series (PAIT, volume 17)

Abstract

In futures studies, various futures images are sketched and explored at three main levels: possible, probable, and preferred ones. This chapter is concerned with identifying and discussing possible images of the future of the Internet. The Internet is a very recent phenomenon in humankind’s history. However, its development is fast and may divert into directions beyond our present expectations. Therefore, it is of crucial importance to explore various futures images in order to evaluate and foresee the ones that are worth attaining through active plans and measures. The current evolution of the Internet seems to follow a rhizomatic model, where knowledge is not disseminated systematically or logically based on a hierarchical binary tree-model, but instead follows the organic way of rhizomes to grow in all directions, penetrating all available niches. This new model heralds a digital meanings society, where people using the Internet are empowered in their search for meaning in all activities and meaning becomes the main capital. Three possible scenarios of the future Internet are presented, which vary according to their probability and desirability.

Keywords

Futures studies Internet Meanings society Digitalization Scenario 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This chapter contains some material drawing on the discussions with the following persons: Juho Ruotsalainen, Sofi Kurki, Markus Heinonen, and Marjukka Parkkinen. A few ideas from the Finnish reports written in the MEDEIA project (http://www.utu.fi/en/units/ffrc/research/projects/Pages/medeia.aspx) as well as Neo-Carbon Energy project (https://www.utu.fi/en/units/ffrc/research/projects/energy/Pages/neo-fore.aspx) have also been included in this chapter.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Finland Futures Research Centre (FFRC)University of TurkuHelsinkiFinland

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