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App-Rising.com covers the development and adoption of broadband applications, the deployment of and need for broadband networks, and the demands placed on policy to adapt to the revolutionary opportunities made possible by the Internet.

App-Rising.com is written by Geoff Daily, a DC-based technology journalist, broadband activist, marketing consultant, and Internet entrepreneur.

App-Rising.com is supported in part by AT&T;, however all views and opinions expressed herein are solely my own.

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May 20, 2008 9:38 AM

Good News/Bad News for Broadband and Virtual Worlds

Nothing epitomizes how nascent the broadband revolution is than the all-too-common trend of bad news accompanying good news across all facets of the Internet.

For example, here's an article about how Gen Y is going to change the web, how that generation will embrace and extend its possibilities far beyond what's commonplace today.

Now here's the flip side: according to Parks Associates, a fifth of US households not only don't have Internet access, they haven't even sent an email yet.

So we've got one segment of the population zooming forward, while another even larger segment still hasn't bought into that most basic of Internet applications.

This same good-news-bad-news trend manifests itself elsewhere. Like this fascinating story about how researchers are using the virtual world Second Life as a platform for testing out artificial intelligence. What they've done is create characters who are guided by computer minds instead of human.

But here's the bad news: 90% of all initiatives by businesses to incorporate the use of virtual worlds to enable collaboration end up failing within 18 months. The primary reason cited is that too much emphasis is placed on the technology and not on how people use it.

For every step forward there seems to be at best a pause and at worst a step backwards.

Now I know I can't be overly critical of this as the Internet continues to grow unbelievably quickly from a historical perspective, and many of the benefits it potentially provides demand fundamentally altering different aspects of our lives, which isn't likely to happen quickly if we're talking about moving all or at least most of society.

But at the same time the issues that come up don't seem insurmountable so long as we make a concerted, coordinated effort to overcome them, to share information about best practices and how to inspire adoption, to understand that only together will we all realize the full benefits of broadband.


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