Like many others, my professional role requires that I try to figure out how the Web will continue to evolve. The question on my whiteboard is: “What is coming six months down the road…and what should we do about it?” Check out this post from bub.blicio.us detailing some of the latest theories about how things will turn out. I’m not enough of a tech geek to decipher which idea has the most merit, but I am intrigued by the concept of a more semantic Web – where computers and artificial intelligence would play a bigger role in the search and aggregation of content. Looking ahead, I have concerns about the nefarious impact of persistent (or worsening?) problems like spam, “Black Hat” search techniques and vitriolic personal attacks that seem to plague the Internet. Whatever the future looks like there will need to be improvements that allow users to find and use relevant information in an ever-expanding sea of content. Another important factor not mentioned prominently in the blog discussion is commerce – what tools and channels will manage to be viable businesses, and which innovative technologies will attract funding? Ultimately, however, I go back to the people rather than the technology or the markets. What are the emerging consumer trends? How are online habits changing? What products and services will be most critical in the years ahead? Starting from that point should keep me relatively close to the next iteration of the Web – I hope.

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