Chaos will rule the internet in 2010 as spam, viruses and fraudulent emails create a digital dystopia, according to Professor Trevor Barr, user environments program manager at Australia's Swinburne University of Technology.

Delivering the Smart Internet 2010 report, a 50,000-word prediction on what the internet will be like in five years' time, Barr outlined the four distinct issues that various schools of thought consider the internet faces in the near future.

Speaking at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney yesterday, Barr, who is also the leader of the research team that conducted and compiled the report, Smart Internet Technology CRC, said the four traits affecting the internet are Chaos Rules, an Adaptive User Environment, the so-called Smart Internet, and Rich Media.

"Chaos Rules state that the internet is actually becoming dysfunctional, because there are too many applications and too many problems, and a large part of the problem is the lack of trust in online transactions."

Professor Barr said the team hope the report will provide insight into how experts see the near-term future of the internet. The team interviewed some 35 global IT experts, as well as consulting 28 secondary sources.

Smart Internet 2010 was launched by Australia’s minister for communication, information technology and the arts, Helen Coonan, at the ICT Outlook forum held at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.

Coonan said the report is a significant resource that will get people thinking strategically about the opportunities and challenges that the internet will present as it integrates into modern life.