For the last two decades, we’ve been gratified, bamboozled, astonished and sometimes alarmed by the surprises [the internet] has sprung. The first-order ones were innovations such as the world wide web, file-sharing, VoIP (internet telephony) and malicious software. In turn, these first-order surprises generated other, second-order ones. The web, for example, served as the foundation for search engines, Flickr, blogging, YouTube, Wikipedia and, latterly, smartphones and Facebook.
We’re now at the stage where we should be getting the next wave of disruptive surprises. But – guess what? – they’re nowhere to be seen. Instead, we’re getting an endless stream of incremental changes and me-tooism. If I see one more proposal for a photo-sharing or location-based web service, anything with “app” in it, or anything that invites me to “rate” something, I’ll scream.
We’re stuck. We’re clean out of ideas.