The internet used to be a contained place. To get there, you fired up your desktop and clicked on the Internet Explorer icon on your desktop. Now, it’s a little more accessible. You can pull up a browser on your smartphone or on your laptop or tablet, just about anywhere you go.
However, the year 2055 may see complete integration between the internet and society. According to Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the internet, “I would like us to build a world in which I have control of my data, I own it. We’ll be able to write apps which take data from all different parts of my life and my friends’ lives and my family’s lives.” We’ve gotten close to this goal, with modern social media. We’re poised to use the next forty years to incorporate the rest of the internet into our lives to make them easier.
Look at the evolution of shopping, for example. Just 25 years ago, you had to go to the store to get necessities. If what you wanted wasn’t in stock, you’d go to another store.
All you have to do now is go to Amazon.com, search what you need, and add it to your cart. It can be at your doorstep the next morning, ready for your use. However, the internet could further streamline this process through increased integration with your home and life.
AmazonDash is a project looking to take the internet off the computer, to make instant connection even easier. AmazonDash sells buttons for products that you use frequently around the house. When one of these is running out, you push a button to order it automatically. The goal of the project is to eliminate these buttons eventually, so that items you use every day will be replaced automatically when they are running low.
The internet has also helped to revolutionize transportation in recent years. A decade ago, getting around a city would have involved looking up bus or train schedules and flagging cabs. Now, Uber connects you with a taxi, ride share, or private cab with nothing but a smartphone.
Websites like skiplagged.com optimize airline rates to find the cheapest flights for the user. The combination of these types of services will define the future of transportation. Transportation will be readily available, fast, and convenient. Furthermore (as with anything), competition will drive transportation prices lower as options expand.
The internet is already revolutionizing education in countless ways, the most obvious being online classes. However, the internet is also improving the learning process in other ways: sites like Khan Academy are dedicated to teaching students difficult lessons. Within the next 40 years, these online teachers could supplement those in the classroom, just as they have in online college courses.
Imagine, heavy and outdated textbooks could be replaced by up-to-date, interactive videos that could vary from subject to subject, and cater to different learning styles. Perhaps one student learns best by seeing problems done on a board. That student would have a variety of lectures online he could see. Another student who learns best from descriptions of material as it pertains to real-life situations could go to a completely different resource and learn the same lesson. Students have already figured this out, though: Wikipedia, Chegg, and JSTOR are just a few of the countless resources students currently use to learn, that will someday be completely integrated into the classroom.
These are just a few examples of how the internet will be changing in coming years. Overall, the future of the internet will largely be expansion and integration. More connectivity to streamline the everyday processes of life. Our society will become more and more dependent on the internet and our lives will be improved in a myriad of ways as a result.