The long run to the turn of the millennium got us preoccupied with conclusions. The Internet is finally taken for granted. The iPhone is finally ubiquitous computing come true. Let’s think not of ends, but dawns: it’s not that we’re on the home straight of ubicomp, but the beginning of a century of smart matter. It’s not about fixing the Web, but making a springboard for new economies, new ways of creating, and new cultures.
The 21st century is a participatory culture, not a consumerist one. What does it mean when small teams can be responsible for world-size effects, on the same playing field as major corporations and government? We can look at the Web - breaking down publishing and consuming from day zero - for where we might be heading in a world bigger than we can really see, and we can look at design - playful and rational all at once - to help us figure out what to do when we get there.