Jules Verne was one of the most talented writers of all time, but his readers aren’t only enchanted by this way with words. He was a visionary; his writings anticipated a lot of discoveries. So Jules Gabriel Verne could be considered “the grandfather” of the science fiction literature (Isaac Asimov was “the father”). Unfortunately the great French writer didn’t anticipate the Internet. It would be very interesting to be able to predict the future of this entity which, whether we like it or not changed the world and most important, the way we think!
I am not by far as talented as Jules Verne was, but in this post I will try to sketch a picture of what I think the Internet will be like. A good prediction should be based o a very detailed research of the past, a strong understanding of the present and a balanced imagination.
At first, the Internet was intended to be a simplified way to exchange information. It turned in a global modality of showing pieces of information, with almost no or very limited ways to allow a primitive format of interaction. Nowadays, every website is created to be universally accessible and has the latest modalities of interaction well implemented (especially social media).
What will the future feature of the Internet be?
The feature or the features of the Internet should offer pertinent solutions to the most important problems we face nowadays. Let’s look at some of the most important ones:
The statistics reveal that each year the amount of money invested in online media has increased exponentially. This is a very good thing, but there are chances of hacker activity also rising. It is true that the Internet has made many financial operations faster and simpler, but also there is now an interest in illegal online activity. In this context the safety of all operations on the Internet is much needed; it is a factor that slows down the progress of the Internet and it makes a lot of people lose their trust in this medium. The Internet of the 2020 or 2025 should have a strong defense system that will protect against any illegal activities such as phishing, spamming or hacking.
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The internet is free for all people, it really doesn’t matter if you are from Asia or Europe, if you are freelancer or you are working for a multinational corporation. The issue of freedom on the internet has not yet been resolved. However this is not the biggest problem but making the internet more accessible is. I imagine the Internet in the future will be wireless, with a very high bandwidth and all the devices in all the homes will be integrated in a great network with access to Internet. Another important problem of full accessibility is related to the children and their possibility of accessing websites with adult content; should there be some restrictions?
This is more of a moral dilemma, but it is important enough to be mentioned here. Will mankind be addicted to the Internet? My personal opinion is that we are already addicted. Sooner or later we should accept the Internet as our fifth dimension: length, width, height, time and Internet.
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The real problem is how we treat this addiction; there are a lot of people, especially the youth of today who can’t tell the real world apart from the online one. However it is not a good idea to just give the internet up, we should develop treatments that deal with online addiction. I always offer the same example in my efforts of pointing out the importance and the utility of the Internet: with a knife in “Extreme survival” one man is preparing the food, building a shelter and it is using it as a defense against enemies. Unfortunately with the same knife a very bad person could kill many people. Should we ban the knife, or punish the guy who uses it for evil purposes?
The copyright and the free download
A great amount of people use pirated software and the trend isn’t dropping, a lot of great corporations and manufactories are losing a lot of money because of this. A determinant factor in this unpleasant situation is the high price of such software and applications. In the future a solution is necessary, one that will please both the companies and the users, because in now it is easier and cheaper to download a pirated version of any software than to buy it.
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Here is an idea for a scenario, how the Internet will look like in 2020 ( if world won’t end in 2012, of course!). I imagine two scenarios, one optimistic and one pessimistic, please let me know what you think of them (comment about them). These scenarios are only a personal perspective, so don’t take them very seriously!
The optimistic scenario
First of all, there is no such thing as a place from where someone couldn’t access the global network; few Polar Regions aren’t still fully connected, but here isn’t any form of human communities there. The problem of security isn’t completely resolved, but due to the new algorithms and the powerful antivirus systems, the rate of illegal online activities is constantly dropping. All the countries have accepted to have their laws stipulate harsh punishments for any attempt to perform such illegalities and there are also institutions that defend the rights of online activities. All electronic devices provide ways of accessing the Internet and become an integrant part of life for children and young people.
Society is still unable to decide upon the importance of school: do children need a teacher or is it enough to have their parents select the proper online curriculum? Anyway, the Internet becomes the best teacher and all areas of study are very well defined and created by experts in education. The software is cheaper, some people still believe that it is expensive, but the number of illegal copies is dwindling. One of the greatest challenges humanity faces is our dependence on online presence. Specialists are developing strategies to combat this malady, but the number of addicts is increasing alarmingly. Statistics show that almost 5% of people don’t accept the universality of the Internet and are very skeptical regarding online services. The UN establishes an international agency that handles the problem of addiction; the cure for this “disease” varies with personality so a panacea is impossible. It is universally recommended to pay attention to the period of time spent online by children; more than eight hours per day is dangerous.
The pessimistic scenario
Governments all over the world agree upon a declaration about the Internet. This “constitution of the Internet” establishes the rules of banning some websites which don’t respect the law. A multinational organization is in charge of selecting those websites that are banned. For example, to access any adult content website a password is required and a small amount of money is to be paid both to the owner and to this organization. For security purposes and in order to combat terrorism Internet traffic is carefully studied by governmental institutions. The Internet (the “good” one) is free for everybody, but the severe control of the institutions is well known. Besides imprisonment, persons who commit online illegalities are also banned from Internet activities for life. Internet addiction is a wide spread disease whose cure hasn’t yet been discovered. The greatest problem is software price: the most important corporations haven’t accepted lowering prices and so their products are only accessible to a minority. Websites that allow downloading pirated versions of software are numerous and international organizations are trying to fight them, but results aren’t positive.
Both scenarios are only a personal opinion, they could never happen (especially the last scenario), but they shouldn’t be neglected. I will be very happy to read about your vision on the future of the Internet as well as other aspects I have ignored. I am sure that such a complex phenomenon as the Internet needs much more than a lamentable post as this one, but everyone has the right to express their point of view.