Earlier on this week I found this fantastic Infographic via Neville Hobson on Twitter (click the image above for full sized graphic). It’s incredible to see how far we’ve come in the last 10 years of the Internet and it provoked a bigger question. What is going to happen in the next 10 years of the Internet? What will it look like a decade from now? Whenever I’m asked this question the first thing that springs to mind is ‘implants’… maybe I read too much William Gibson when I was younger or maybe it’s because I’m getting older and beginning to understand the limitations of my own memory. There are things I simply don’t have to remember now because I can Google them. As a result when I’m not able to access the Internet I suffer, unsure about facts I’m lost without the ability to have most knowledge at my fingertips. A simple implant that would allow me to Google from my brain would solve this. It has to be the future right?
Google’s project glass seems to be the first step towards a future where the Internet will become part of us and not just something we connect to using our fingers, yes it’s still a physical item we have to wear and the technology isn’t quite there yet. You may even be worried about the amount of information that something like Google Glass will demand of us but there is no denying it has a strong possibility of being part of the future of the web.
We already live part of our lives in the cloud. We keep our contacts there through iCloud or Google, some of us save our documents or even create documents there, we listen to music there and watch TV and film there. But the cloud it’s not all productivity based. When we watch an on demand film on Netflix we record our progress in the cloud allowing us to log in on a new device and continue to watch from the point we last viewed. In theory we can start watching a film at home on our TV, continue watching it walking down the street on our smart phone, sit in a cafe or on a train and watch it on a tablet. At the moment we have to physically pause or stop the film but in the future, with implants, Netflix or a service like it will know if we fall asleep, if the phone rings or if someone knocks on the door and pause the broadcast accordingly. We already have the capacity to be always switched on as long as we have a device and an Internet connection, so is it such a big step to think that in 10 years time this will be wired into our brain?
Will.i.am made his mark on the Olympic torch carrying by tweeting as he carried it, this must have been hard work, he had to carry the torch, walk without falling over and tweet all at once. Surely it would be easier if he could just think his tweets? Thinking your tweets would be amazing and it would solve so many problems, you could tweet from your car without crashing, tweet whilst carrying the Olympic torch without falling over or dropping something, you’d just need the best thought recognition software and you’d be good to go.
The biggest problem with ‘thought tweeting’ technology would be filtering. We’re probably all guilty of oversharing from time to time on social media, if we could just tweet our thoughts, if we didn’t have the opportunity to review our tweets before we hit the send button would Twitter just become swamped with our inner thinkings?
Sharing this way would also be exposing others to a different person. We all craft out outer persona, from the way we dress, the way we wear our hair, the facial expressions we use. We may not have absolute control but we’re just showing the outside world our wall paper. However well someone gets to know us there are always private parts of us, our inner thoughts, the unedited us and it is probably no fun for anyone else to live through the full version. If we’re going to be fully connected to the Internet will we be exposing the full us… and if so are you ready for that? I’m not!
All this might seem a bit outlandish but there are people out there already working towards something like this, maybe it won’t be as quick as 10 years but slowly and surely we will start to let technology further and further into our lives and into our bodies. Eventually having an implant won’t seem like a big step at all. In fact I’d much rather have an implant in my brain than in my breasts!
How do you see the Internet in 10 years time? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
For more on the future of the web here’s a massively inspiring and sometimes frightening article from CNET News.