I just watched three fascinating videos about the future of the Internet (embedded below). They present differing views for how the Internet (and the Web) are going to evolve. Vint Cerf discusses the future from an infrastructure perspective. He proposes several ideas that make the Internet more robust such as multihoming, Internet broadcast augmentation, sensor networks, mesh networks, bit-rot over time, and an interplanetary Internet. Tim Berners-Lee explores the future from the perspective of the World Wide Web by making raw data available through Linked Data. Finally Kevin Kelly speaks about the Internet as an Internet of things that are fully interconnected and communicating thus creating a super-organism.
Their talks were very similar in that they all discussed the internet becoming more mobile. This will be enabled by mesh networks that can sense other devices and multihoming networks that enabling users to remain unique while their service provider changes. Users will be able to query data related to their current location and update the data when it is lacking. Those data will be aggregated and organized by more and more sophisticated applications and provided to end users. Indeed we are already in a world where no one knows phone numbers anymore and arguments in bars are settled in seconds via a Google search on a smartphone. We moving towards a world of co-dependence with our machines that will ultimately bring us closer together, make us more productive, and realize a high quality of life through interconnection that never before experienced by humans.
I thought their talks were lacking in the areas of augmented reality and nanotechnology. They touched on it from a data and connection perspective though. Advances in brain-computer interfaces are advancing rapidly. I foresee a day when we have a tiny machines in our body sensing our vitals signs, killing cancer cells, and maintaining the integrity of our DNA. They would use mesh networks to communicate with one another. An interface to a computer embedded in our brain could process this information and communicate it to our visual cortex or perhaps our thoughts. That may sound like true science fiction but do you know what the one thing almost no science fiction writer ever envisioned? It’s the Internet. Perhaps real life is in fact stranger than fiction.
Want to know more? Check out these videos: