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6 Disturbing Trends That Might Ruin the Internet Forever

#3. But It's OK, Because the Internet Can Read Our Minds

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Imagine it's a few years in the future. You're driving home from work, with two hours to spare until the season premiere of Breaking Bad 2: Everyone's a Vampire, when your phone chirrups:

"You need a haircut, and there's a barber with no open facial sores on your route home from work."

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They said you weren't real, but I never stopped believing.

You get your favorite type of haircut, and as you're leaving the barber shop, your phone points out that the grocery store next door carries the exact brand of vodka you use to drown your sadness on sale for $5.99. This sounds like a beautiful dream, but thanks to John Krumm, Big Brother's grandfather, it's coming in the very near future.

Working with Microsoft's research lab, Krumm developed a program that collected 32,000 days of GPS readings from several hundred people and vehicles. Armed with this data, Krumm found that he could predict the future travels of any person in his study with better than 80 percent accuracy, up to 80 days out. Every drug dealer reading this column just shat a brick.

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"How cute! Three days from now, he's gonna start hiding it up his butt."

#2. The Death of the Cookie

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Congratulations -- all our privacy-conscious ways have successfully killed the cookie! As soon as people learned that websites were attaching the digital equivalent of leeches to their browser, they started putting on ... leech repellent. Whatever it is you use to stop leeches. Garlic enemas, probably.

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Or this, but only as a last resort.

The point is, cookies are dead, and advertisers still need to track your ass, because the Internet isn't worth very much money if they can't. Today they use something called fingerprinting, which records everything from your computer's monitor size to your history of software updates. It works on mobile browsers, which were traditionally immune to cookies, and, like any good horror villain, trying to fight it only makes it stronger.

Every change you'd normally make to "reset" your history -- uninstalling and reinstalling your browser, for example -- makes you easier to track. Enable all the privacy settings you want. Amazon.com will still know that you spend a solid 45 minutes each day debating whether to buy that full-size replica of Hellboy's gun.

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Do it. You'll be fighting the recession.

#1. We're Addicted to Multitasking, and That's Going to Change the Internet

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There are too many cool gadgets out there to not multitask. What, are you going to watch TV without an iPad? Like some sort of savage? Fuck that. There's browsing to be done, and it's not like Big Bang Theory works hard to earn your undivided attention. But advertisers have realized the distracted nature of their audience, and a new generation of "integrated" marketing designed to hit you on multiple devices at once is just on the horizon.

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We'd be fools not to jump on this bandwagon.

One day soon, we can look forward to banner ads and pop-ups timed to coincide with whatever product NBC's shilling this week. Don't get pissed. You're the one who logs in to everything with your Facebook ID. The equally creepy but also cool upshot of this is that we're also on the verge of context-related browsing. Search engines will recognize why you're asking questions.

Rather than sorting through a list of search results, you'll get snippets of relevant text from all the best sources your browser could find. Yes, it'll be ghastly at first. And buckets of old people will end up accidentally reading hardcore cartoon erotica. But progress can't be stopped, and nothing short of atomic holocaust will make us turn back the clock on convenience.

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You know who only uses one screen at a time? Freaking animals.

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