What's coming after forums? To explore this question, let's start with the past. The Past My grandfather and his WWI generation grew up in crowded city tenements common at the time. Once my grandfather had his own business, he moved to a modest house on a city side street. The houses were close together, but the little house gave him more control over his social life than the tenements did. My Dad and his WWII generation moved out of the city to the suburbs, where they had more elbow room, and more control over who and how they interacted with other people. In my generation (boomers), the hippies wanted to move from the suburbs to the country, and the yuppies wanted to move from the suburbs to the posh gated communities. In both cases, the goal was to gain more control over who and how we interacted with other people. The Present Today's young generation has moved their social life on to the net, starting with forums, and then on to social media. This new social environment is a quantum leap forward in serving the same goals the previous generations also had, gaining more control over who and how we interact with other people. We see an established pattern, a hundred years in the making, of 4 generations each reaching for ever more control over their social experience. I'm proposing that forums may be a half way point between the face to face social environment, and a coming era when our social lives are dominated by software. Not using software to talk to other people, but... The Future Talking to software, instead of people. Control over our social experience is what we want. Software can provide unlimited control, in a way no human based social experience will ever be able to match. Is it actually possible to talk to software? Yes! Here's a demo which is based on software that's actually been around quite awhile. Click this link to try it. (Can't post a link here, if interested, search for "iGod") It's far from perfect, but it doesn't take much imagination to see that it could be perfect at some point. Is This Crazy? Will people ever choose software over relationships with other people??? It sounds nuts, I agree, but please consider.... ....the porn industry. By all accounts this is one of the net's more successful business models. It seems many of us are choosing sex with software over sex with people. This is a helpful example, as it might demonstrate that our first reaction to the prospect of talking with software might be that it sounds creepy or weird etc. This is understandable, as a social life built around software would surely be revolutionary, and thus unfamiliar. A Strange New World My Dad's wife never quite got the concept of the net, and was always saying things like, "But those aren't real people!" She didn't mean it literally, she just couldn't get her head around things like the forum experience. It was just too alien to her. I predict we are now in that same position in regards to a coming future. To us, building a social life with software seems alien, strange, unworkable, improbable. To us it seems that way, but... I predict that some future generation not too far off in the future will be as totally at home in a social environment built around software as we are chatting on forums. They will look upon us as dinosaurs, shake their heads, and laugh at our inability to adapt.