If you want to know what the future looks like, there it is. The future is going to hang on whether or not businesses will be able to convince you to pay money for things you can otherwise get for free.
Some of you think I'm about to talk about file sharing and DRM and the evil record labels. But that's just a teaser of what's coming. The world has changed. All the rules we were trained to believe about society from birth until now are about to go out the window.
One way or the other.
Futurists and sci-fi writers talk about a "post-scarcity" society, meaning it's like Star Trek, where matter replicators and fusion reactors have ended all shortages. On one hand, that now looks like a ridiculous pipe dream, but in a lot of areas of our life, we're already there. Think about the porn. There's more porn than air now. Literally -- air is limited, but we have machines that can convert energy into .jpegs of titties from now until the heat death of the universe. Titties are post-scarcity.
Now think about how many people you know who live in apartments or trailers barely big enough to host a game of Twister but who don't care because they spend every waking moment at home either playing World of Warcraft or surfing the Internet. They're not looking for a two-story house with a swimming pool and a white picket fence. With a $300 netbook and a $20-a-month Internet connection they can connect with friends, meet girls, get their entertainment, pursue their hobbies and stay in contact with family or co-workers. They may even work from home.
Look at how many of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs they're getting digitally: