Taming Tomorrow: Can you stay seated?
In popular culture, there is a progression of leaps from counterculture to fringe to mainstream and beyond. The same pattern is seen in internet based consumer-facing technology. With internet based technology, the leap from counterculture to mainstream is much faster.
Sometimes a provocateur stays seated like Google and Signal. Sometimes they fall like Napster and Myspace. Who is caught in flight today and will they stay seated or fall? Early blockchain players like Bitcoin are caught in the air while the technology seeks credibility. The sharing economy is shaking out with Airbnb staying seated while Uber is unbalanced. So what?
The process of mainstreaming – moving from counterculture to mainstream – is as much about social adjustment as it is a technological provocation. By social, I mean governance that acts upon the behalf of greater society. As examples, we have secure messaging platforms that challenge national security assumptions, sharing economy propositions challenge taxation systems as people monetise their slack property.
Why is this interesting?
Popular culture provocations brought about changes in long-held societal attitudes and governance toward sexuality, appearance and behaviour. In the same way, popular internet technological provocations are challenging social and legislated conventions around financial instruments, privacy and employment.
Anticipating the legislative adjustments, for example, taxes on cryptocurrency transactions gives us an idea of the shape of the world once adjusted to a provocation. Anticipating the shape of the future mainstream gives us a platform to improve existing, or create new, public sector and private sector organisations.
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Also published on Medium.