The Internet a Decade from Now
On March 12 the World Wide Web celebrated its twenty-fifth birthday. It has come a long way since its early days with Tim Berners-Lee's work at CERN.
The Internet went from being something that most people didn’t even know much about to technology that more than 53 percent of adults surveyed by Pew Research Center indicated would now be nearly impossible to give up. That drastic social change makes one wonder where the Internet will be and what it will mean to society a decade from now. Here are some ideas.
Like the Air We Breathe
This may already be true, as the Internet has become an effortless part of our lives. Some smartphones and devices instantly connect to WiFi, and almost all new technology has Internet and smart device connectivity. Joe Touch, the director of University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute, believes the Internet will one day be "a seamless part of how we live our everyday lives” and that we will stop even acknowledging our connection to the Internet and “we’ll just be online.”
Education for Everyone
Resources like Google, Wikipedia, and Khan Academy mean free information is hitting more and more eyes as access to education increases and levels the academic playing field. Hal Varian, the chief economist for Google, singles out what could be the most influential effect of the Internet on the world in the future:
The biggest impact on the world will be universal access to all human knowledge. The smartest person in the world currently could well be stuck behind a plow in India or China. Enabling that person—and the millions like him or her—will have a profound impact on the development of the human race.
Barriers Will Be Broken
As information becomes more accessible to everyone, the ability for governments to control those within their geographic boundaries may diminish. Crowdsourcing and the ability for organizations and people to find emotional, intellectual, and financial support for their visions will help to demolish, or at least realign, the currently perceived divisions and differences in the world. No matter where you are in the world, you can now make a difference and interact with people worldwide through crowdsourcing.
In 2013 big data surpassed the concentration on mobile and social media. Before, companies were trying to figure out how to monetize the data. Now, more companies are trying to extract data with the mindset of how to make people drive the data collection. Many people foresee a problem when the government starts intervening in the information and online behaviors of citizens. And with the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 and the existence of the NSA, the concept that the Internet could create a future like that in George Orwell’s 1984 isn’t unfathomable.
Do you have an idea of what the Internet will become or how it will influence the world in a decade? Let us know in the comments below.