Compared to 25 years ago, the World Wide Web (which is accessed via the Internet) and the ways we interact with it are completely unrecognizable. What used to be a specific connection between specific people for specific reasons has become a prolific, almost omnipresent influence on all of our lives. Most of us carry the Internet around everywhere we go and may access the Internet on 4 or more different devices in any given day. This is miles from where we were 25 years ago. So imagine what could happen in the next 25 years.
Originally, the Internet was mainly for people only interested in technology. Then it moved to academia, then to business, then to our houses, then to our pockets and now we are going to literally be wearing the Internet on our face, our wrists or any number of other body parts. This, I think, will only be a transition, and the way we access the Internet will be even more frighteningly exciting in the near future. Imagine not having to open a browser and go to a search engine in order to ask a question. We will simply ask the question, and the answer will be given to us. This means two things, however: constant access, but in order for that, constant invasion of our lives. As a result, privacy will (and should) be the biggest factor as to whether the Internet will become even more pervasive. The man credited with inventing the World Wide Web agrees.
Another new way I think the Internet will be interacting with us is in an individual, biological sense. This is already in the works with a Netflix hack that recently garnered some attention. I have already talked about the immediate potential for this particular bio-hack, but the possibilities for it are completely endless and could really be the next big step. Outside of consumer products being catered to the individual, medical devices could be in constant contact with the patient as well as the doctor, allowing the doctor to have immediate access to data, which could allow them to more easily predict preventable health hazards. This could potentially be very useful for people with chronic diseases. Information could be uploaded, and the doctor could give the OK or let the patient know there is a problem without having to see them face to face each and every time.
The last, and probably most likely, way the Internet will invade our lives even more over the next quarter century is in our homes. Google’s acquisition of Nest, and what I believe are their hopes to make connection everywhere in our home, has been talked about here, but again, there could be endless waves of ways the world could move into our homes. It could start with products and move to personal assistants that listen and understand the way you speak, your preferences and your behavior to be able to best serve you. It could start with things showing up at your door (probably by a drone) or information being offered to you before you even realize that you need it
In 2039, 25 years from now, will our lives in most respects be unrecognizable from today? Probably. Will our life when it comes to the Internet be unrecognizable? Definitely. I can’t tell you if any of this will happen in the next 25 years or in the next 100 years, but you can bet people are going to push the boundaries of connectivity, and if we are willing to participate, our life may never be quite the same.