Looking Ahead: The Future of the Internet

Technology is moving fast.  Fast like The Machine.

Wearable technology and augmented reality are coming to a year near you. Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies are tipping into the mainstream. Internet-giving  balloons and delivery drones will soon be battling for air space. Dog translation hardware is close to reality.

I’m not making this stuff up.

In the following graphic we illustrate the (possible) future of technology. What will the internet look like in the near future, 20 years, 100 years?

The Internet in 100 Years

What will the internet look like in 100 years? Will there even be an internet?
Will we be the internet? Whoa.

Transcript: The Future of the Internet

Though no one can predict the future with 100% accuracy, looking at where today’s technology is headed gives us a glimpse into what the Internet may be like in 100 years’ time. At the pace things are moving, it’s possible some of us may even be here to see it turn into reality!

In 100 Years…

  • It’s highly likely something new and more involved will replace the Internet.
    • Everyone on the planet will be networked.
    • Homes, cars, businesses, even our bodies will be instrumented and monitored.
    • Augmented reality will become normal.
    • Real time language translation will be available for use in face-to-face and conferenced conversation.
    • Some speculate that humans will be able to communicate through thought transmission.
    • Others speculate we’ll all be wired into computers to make our brains work faster and better.
  • Some speculate that in just 20 years’ (the new 100 years) time we will:
    • Email tangible objects
    • Meet people using holograms
    • Turn to a 3D web
      • A set of interconnected virtual worlds that users can visit to consume services, “teleporting” from one world to another.
      • It will use many of the same basic technology components as the 2D Internet:
        • Browser
        • Search engine
        • Servers
      • It will use 3D computer graphics and avatars, making the web more social than the current 2D setup.
    • Use DNA to sign digital fingerprints as a privacy safeguard
    • All be “supercomputers” with thought controlled mechanisms enabling us to search the web inside our brains.

Google’s Project Loon

Some companies, like Google, are already taking action to improve and change the Internet of the future.

  • The idea is to float high-altitude balloons 20 miles in the air to create an aerial wireless network with speeds similar to 3G connectivity.
    1. Signals travel through the balloon network from balloon to balloon
    2. Then to a ground-based station connected to an Internet service provider (ISP)
    3. Then onto the global Internet.
  • Balloons fly in the stratosphere, powered by solar energy.
    • Twice as high as airplanes and weather satellites, about 12 miles in the air.
    • Winds in the stratosphere move from 5 to 20 mph.
      • Google uses an algorithm to determine where the balloons should be.
      • Software moves the balloons to the right layer where wind is moving in the right direction.
      • Moving with the wind allows the balloons to form a large communications network.
    • The aerial equipment issue is complex, but doable. It’s designed to:
      • Fill coverage gaps in rural areas
      • Bring people back online after a disaster in the area
    • The flaw in this approach is that it connects to the existing global network.
    • Project Loon is currently running a pilot test over New Zealand.
      • Project began in June 2013, using 30 balloons.
        • Balloons provided about 15 minutes of access before floating away.
          • More work will continue to help improve the project.
            • There are still a number of technical issues to address with new connectivity methods, including:
              • Protocol design
              • Governance
              • Security
              • RF
              • Power
            • Technologies are starting to come together so we can see something different develop.

The Internet of Everything (IOE)

  • Many things in our everyday life are already connected to the Internet, bringing us closer to the Internet of the future.
    • IOE is a catch-all term used to describe:
      • Adding connectivity and intelligence to nearly every device in order to give them special functions
      • 2014 Consumer Electronics Show revealed Internet connected devices including:
        • Crockpot: Control your crock-pot with your smartphone.
          • Adjust temperatures
          • Turn on and off remotely
        • Smart cars
          • 4G connectivity coming soon to your car
        • Smart watches and other wearable technology
          • Wearable Book:
            • “Sensory Fiction” would allow the wearer to experience physical sensations based on the written word.
              • Equipment includes:
                • Body compression system
                • Heartbeat and shiver simulator
                • Localized body temperature control
          • Wearable Transmitter:
            • Turns your hand into a touch interface
              • Allows you to control up to three devices using only taps and swipes such as:
                • Smartphones
                • TVs
                • Radios
              • Expected to retail at $120
              • Expected to hit the market in September 2014
          • Fitness Devices:
            • FitBit tracks steps taken, stories climbed, calories burned, and some models even track sleep.
              • Data is synced wireless for use on your computer or mobile device
              • Track trends in eating, sleeping, and fitness habits for overall health, or weight loss.
          • Wearable technology sales jumped nearly 300% in 2012 with 8.3 million units sold.
            • Projected sales: 64 million units by 2017.
        • Smart appliances
        • Smart Bed from Sleep Number
  • Before the IOE can reach full potential, all industries will have to deal with a number of issues such as:
    • Security
      • Experts say Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption technology has likely already been compromised by the National Security Agency (NSA) in order to gain access to user activity.
        • The NSA is not the only intelligence agency worldwide that wants access to Internet activity information.
          • As other agencies fight to access the data, Internet security will become a thing of the past.
      • Cryptographic advancements may temporarily provide some relief and data protection, but will soon be hacked to restore flow of information.
      • Artificial intelligence and machines dedicated to cybercrime on the outside and inside of networks pose serious threats over the coming years.
        • New threat risks come from software that:
          • observes
          • learns
          • mutates and breeds
          • runs on corrupted chips and devices
          • powers mobile hosts that roam the planet
    • Privacy
      • Today’s Internet users are already seeing less privacy.
      • Future Internet users may not know Internet privacy, as society may continue to push into a full transparent world where every little thing is documented.
        • Experts say privacy will become an archaic thing of the past that humans will move beyond.
          • Humans are not ready for the ability to “rewind” life, but could be in the future.
          • The Internet needs to learn how to “forget.”
            • If computers want to be more like humans, forgetting is just as necessary to the human condition as remembering.

We’re On Our Way…

  • We’re already heading toward Voice recognition improvements rendering the need for touch screens and pointing devices obsolete.
    • Google’s Speech to Text feature on Android smartphones can already help you do things like:
      • Dictate text messages and emails
      • Conduct Internet searches
      • Make phone calls hands-free
    • Ford’s Sync voice recognition lets drivers of equipped vehicles:
      • Make phone calls
      • Get directions
      • Play and change music
    • Tactile interface design may also render our traditional interactivity methods useless.
      • Leap Motion has designed a device to control your computer with your hands.
        • Swipe
        • Point
        • Wave
        • Reach
        • Grab
      • The device retails for $79.99.
        • Works with PC and Mac

Sources

  • How Would You Build The Next Internet? Loons, Drones, Copters, Satellites, Or Something Else? – highscalability.com
  • Project Loon- google.com
  • Free Up Your Hands With Speech-To-Text – makeuseof.com
  • Our Next Generation of Voice-Activated Techology – ford.com
  • Explore the World in a Whole New Way – leapmotion.com
  • The Next Big Thing for Tech: The Internet of Everything – techland.time.com
  • Wearable Book Creates Sensory Reading Experience – mashable.com
  • Wearable Transmitter Turns Your Palm Into a Touch Interface – mashable.com
  • There’s a Fitbit Product for Everyone – fitbit.com
  • Pebble + Glass + iWatch + Gear + FitBit + Fuelband = 64M units shipped by 2017 – venturebeat.com
  • Vint Cerf, A “Father of the Internet,” on Tech in 100 Years – blog.chron.com
  • Twenty Top Predictions for Life 100 Years from Now – bbc.co.uk
  • What Will the Web Be like in 20 Years? – thenextweb.com
  • Online Security Pioneer Predicts Grim Future – news.yahoo.com
  • Cybercrime, Security, and the Risks of the Future – insights.wired.com
  • Will We Care about Online Privacy in 20 Years? – cnn.com

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