Debates between cable and Internet providers and Washington about net neutrality has put the future of the Internet in the spotlight. The Internet has come a long way in just a few decades, and the medium is likely to continue changing the way that humans interact with their environments and each other. In this way looking at the future of the Internet is also peaking at the trajectory of the human race. Several organizations have peered into the next few decades of the Internet, and their projections are nothing short of fascinating.
Online connections build new bridges
Earlier this year, the Pew Internet Research Project released an in-depth report titled Digital Life at 25. After surveying thousands of technological experts, the organization developed several theses about how changes in technology will change how the Internet is used. One area of study that stuck out in the report was the development of worldwide communication.
Pew predicted that Internet-enabled global connectivity will rapidly increase the world's number of cross-cultural relationships, promoting a more global attitude among the world's citizens. Much of this increase in communication will be driven by educational efforts, and greater distribution of educational resources will in turn promote a greater number of technologically adept and connected societies.
The Internet of Things expands
According to an infographic designed by the tech experts at WhoIsHostingThis.com, the Internet of Things is headed toward some big changes, said BGR. Soon a long list of items utilized by humans in our daily lives will include some connectivity functionality that helps make item more efficient or convenient. Wearables will continue to advance, allowing users to continuously analyzing their surroundings using the processors embedded into their accessories. Even further down the road, some experts expect the Internet of Things to facilitate real-time language translations and cybernetic enhancements. All of these digital breakthroughs may in turn be supported by ballooned-powered WiFi devices that Google already has under development.
Privacy gets a new face
The BBC noted that major attitude shifts toward privacy have been taking place as the Internet has become more global. The series of events surrounding Eric Snowden's leaks and subsequent increased suspicious toward the N.S.A. have driven a worldwide re-examination of Internet privacy and a demand for additional legislation protecting citizens from outside observers. However, nearly 60 percent of Internet users believe that preserving one's anonymity online is impossible, according to another Pew Research poll. This attitude is likely to continue as more generations with high-speed Internet and social media learn to live privacy-free lives online.
Virtual reality enhances the online experience
Classic Sci-Fi films like Ghost in the Shell detail societies where human beings can literally step into the Internet. We may be far from jacking into the Matrix, but a recent HITC article pointed out that Mozilla has brought us a step closer. The company's newest browser allows users to experience the Internet in virtual reality, assuming customers have access to a VR device like the Oculus Rift. Opportunities created by a VR browser are endless, ranging from digital exploration of remote landscapes to novel designs for online classrooms.
Mozilla will also be making this technology as accessible to the public as possible, in hopes of supporting "the emerging virtual reality web," said their website. Any developer with the know how and hardware can now begin developing content or infrastructure for the VR internet. The company best known for its open browsers is confident that spreading technology and information will help make the future of the Internet a bright place.