Now, if I wanted to approach this in a practical and rational way, I would say that ten years from now, Tor will probably be more assimilated into the lives of average internet users, and the interface will be more sophisticated and user-friendly. I would also venture to say that many of the stigmas attached to it would have been dissipated, and it would be more often cited as a vehicle of social change, a position that is now largely dominated by Twitter. Or, conversely, I could just as likely assume that Tor will be shut down, disassembled, or possibly taken over and absorbed by the American Federal Government within ten years, effectively sterilizing the browser entirely.
Buuuut, I just finished reading this article about the growing alliance between Doomsday Preppers and the Organically Grown/Non-GMO movement. So, my mind is already mulling over the various devices of our untimely societal and biological demise. Therefore, I think think it could be much more fun (and much more outlandish) to entertain the notion that within ten years’ time, the fabric of society will have been undone at the seams, the textile unraveled entirely into a great moth-eaten mess of chaos and loss. Fun stuff!
This world as I imagine it would be populated by the few vigorous and fortunate survivors. Probably habitating base camps within the hallowed walls of abandoned Walmarts, and alienated from the classical American ideals by whatever force caused the world to decay so fantastically and rapidly. This force, in-line with many of the theories of the Preppers, would likely be the result of some grand betrayal or negligence on the part of the government. et tu, America?
In this lawless, barren world, assuming that wifi (essential to life, just look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) was available, Tor would be the Google Chrome of this new era in human existence.
The post-apocalyptic Americans would utilize Tor as a critical means of communication, organization, and maintaining the integrity of their location. It has only been ten years after all, so it is likely that there will still be a few resolute members of the Old Guard, ferociously loyal to the fallen state, that would seek to disband any vigilantes, activists, or agents of change. In this scenario, the government is either in ruins or has entirely fallen, regardless, there is an overarching theme of distrust and revulsion to anything representing the old order.
In this way, Tor would shine. The anonymity that allows it to circumvent detection today, and that creates its niche appeal to internet users, would become its greatest asset, and would serve as a means of selecting it to thrive in the post-apocalyptic America above all other browsing systems. Tor would thrive. I don’t think that it would be much improved in terms of speed or interface, but it would be the rough-and-tumble browser needed to aid in the restoration of order and justice. It wouldn’t be anything fancy, but sometimes it’s the most rudimentary devices that are the most reliable and critical. Tor wouldn’t be a smart phone or 3D printer, but it would be the wheel, it would be basic CPR techniques, it would be wood, nails, and grit. It would be the cornerstone in the rebirth of a civilization that had known, and likely been mortally wounded by, an affair with advanced technologies.
In my inquiry project I’m really aiming to diffuse the misinformation and mythology surrounding Tor. I want to ultimately present Tor in a way that brings it out of the shadows and into the living rooms of average people, both those that, for various reasons, have begun to utilize Tor, and those that could benefit from incorporating it into their lives.
I want to depict Tor as a tool, and one that is currently grievously underutilized and whose perception had been greatly misconstrued by the media. I think that Tor has ample room to grow, and much territory to expand into as far as users and applications are concerned. That’s my main goal, to really expose Tor as not being a niche technology, but rather a universal and flexible one.