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Proud Union THUG
Fort Worth, TX


It's about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers and small business owners will be able to sell their products all over the world.
Farmers in Iowa sell their grain to local elevators (generally cooperatively owned) where it is sold all over the world or turned into ethanol. Average farmers lack the capacity and capital to ship their products all over the world anyway... I do not see high speed internet access changing this.

It's about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device
This means that somebody is going to have to obtain and digitize the blueprints for every building in a city. The database would also have to be updated regularly as building designs and layouts change during remodeling or renovations. I think firefighters can generally look at a building and the way it is burning to figure out alot of what would be on this "handheld device" anyway... I do not see high speed internet access changing this.

a student who can take classes with a digital textbook
Digital textbooks leave alot to be desired over a paper textbook. There are some things that electronic devices just cant beat their old school counterparts at. Also, I do not see why a "digital Textbook" would need a wireless internet connection. Download it once, and you're done... I do not see high speed internet access changing this.

or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor.
If you need your doctor to see something, the doctor probably needs to examine whatever you're showing them. This cannot be done with a face-to-face video chat. This patient should be face-to-face with their doctor... I do not see high speed internet access changing this.
I'm tired of killing stupid people just trying to do my job and go home!


Yep, sounds a lot like late 90s dot com style talk of information superhighways and how our lives are gonna be totally changed. The big things IMHO that show that we are in the future are cell phones, instant publication and distribution of entertainment goods /public notices /records, digital photography, and e-commerce.

As an example of how the internet is not magic: A recent law passed by Congress was printed out and brought along by an aide during Obama's vacation to Hawaii. Apparently they couldn't have just downloaded, printed, signed, and certified the law there instead of jetting a stack of paper.

The burning building problem isn't completely solvable. A few years ago, some firefighters died when they got trapped running for a exit that had been walled up years ago and the business had not updated the records. Records, even electronic ones, will never be totally accurate (even with inspections, fines, and criminal charges).

I don't know why we haven't implemented internet voting yet. Have each citizen get a public key certificate notarized by a national CA. They could use this for other government services in lieu of traditional ID.