The 'Intelligent Internet' is making gains

Advances in speech recognition, artificial intelligence, powerful computers, virtual environments and flat-panel displays are propelling the transition to a smoother interface between people and computers, according to new projections from TechCast, a Washington consulting company.

That bodes well for growth in electronic government services such as Internet taxation and auto registration, said William Halal, joint owner of TechCast and a professor at George Washington University.

The key developments in computer intelligence synthesis are creating what Halal calls the 'Intelligent Internet,' a trend that is promoting IT commercialization in both the public and private sectors.

Twenty different aspects of e-commerce technology should reach 30 percent adoption levels in the next 15 years, according to TechCast's recent report.

Once the IT commercial operations reach this level, they will move from their early-adopter phase into the mainstream, 'where they permeate economic and social life,' Halal said.

Among the various emerging technologies, Halal cites business-to-business, wireless and electronic retailing as three areas that will grow from their current 5 to 20 percent adoption levels into markets that exceed $350 billion by 2010.

More complex applications, such as online voting and e-healthcare, are also growing in public use but will take longer to integrate into daily life because they involve institutional changes and costlier technology.

The Intelligent Internet will come at just the right time, with the first wave of the wired generation graduating from universities and joining the workforce.

Graduates accustomed to unlimited bandwidth and sophisticated Internet features will help force public services into mainstream adoption: TechCast predicts that 30 percent of government services will be conducted online by 2010 and that the size of this industry will reach $250 billion to $349 billion.

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