The Internet’s Future
The Internet is a recent invention compared to other channels of communication. In the 20th century, newspapers, television, and radio were especially prevalent and powerful media. However, nowadays, the Internet is an essential part of humans’ life. It has become the most effective way of distributing new information, staying in touch with nearest and dearest, earning money, and making friends. Even though it seems that the Internet has already developed its potential to the fullest, it is still improving. Therefore, in future, the Internet will present both exciting possibilities, such as reduction of the written text and more personalized internet user experiences, as well as certain troubles, in particular, weakened boundaries between reality and virtual world, privacy issues, and problems of control and manipulation.
In future, the Internet will replace the way people communicate, which presupposes less written text. The extensive use of social networks on the Web space will contribute to an increase of audio transmission of information. It means that people will be able to be active online with the help of verbal performances instead of printed texts. Obviously, such possibility is exiting, because it may change the usual mode of communication which prevails in the global community. Such developments will symbolize a new communicational turn that will make video and audio communication more significant than written or printed messages: “we’re seeing a year-on-year decline of text…If I was having a bet I’d say: video, video, video.” (Galbraith, 2016). It means that video will become the most efficient and common media to share the information. In other words, the communication on the Internet will resemble everyday face-to-face interaction that uses voice as the main tool for articulating a message. Furthermore, such kind of communication may contribute to the occurrence of some new modes of interaction, namely voice commands that realize particular actions. In particular, the Internet technologies may include the usage of portals to exchange ideas without typing them in the gadgets, which can slightly resemble practices of telepathy.
Another exciting possibility is that the Internet will become more personalized. Even nowadays, the Internet technologies are capable of suggesting Net surfers the information that they are interested in. Accordingly, the Internet space will no longer be homogenous. As a result, it will become multidimensional and flexible so as every individual could identify and find their personal pages, which will show their spheres of interest (Castelluccia, 2012). The websites will focus on preferences of every person, analyzing their online activity and search requests. Furthermore, different platforms with internal memory will make the Internet memorize the personal data and then foresee the interests of users before they demonstrate them: “build user profiles that not only track what each individual likes, but evolve to stay up to date with a user’s changing taste” (Boitnott, 2014).Thus, this possibility is exciting as well, because it emphasizes that the Internet can embody the characteristics of the artificial intelligence.
Even though the development of the Internet leads to various promising advancements, there will be also troubling by-products, which may be dangerous for the global community due to the radical transformation of the foundations of life and interaction between people. For instance, the further development of the Internet technologies will trigger difficulties in definition of real and virtual modes of life. In particular, human beings will be confused trying to understand which reality is genuine, because virtual reality will incorporate typical aspects of life and “mimic a “”real”, physically localized entity” (Brey, 2008, p. 2). Subsequently, the virtual world will resemble the real one, and particularly addicted Internet surfers will not be able to tell the difference between these two notions. Moreover, they will develop certain behavior patterns that are not always acceptable in real life society. People will be lost in the infinite space that may make their existence troubling.
Another possible consequence of the Internet development is the problem of privacy and security of personal information in the virtual space which has become both urgent and alarming. Ziegeldorf et al. (2014) consider the “privacy-violations in the interaction and presentation phase an important future threat, because of the corresponding interaction mechanisms with smart things and systems that are just evolving” (p.2742). In other words, contemporary computer experts notice an evolving threat connected with the privacy issue. It will be impossible to stay anonymous because of the development of the Internet technologies that track and keep every detail of people’s personal information. They will be able to control every person’s activity in the virtual space reducing the individual freedom.
Furthermore, the omnipresence of the Internet may be very advantageous for particular political parties that can popularize their interests as well as mindset so as to influence the majority. Consequently, there is a high risk of misuse of informational technologies on the part of the governments and world corporations. They may take advantage of the Internet’s popularity and set censorship as well as manipulate collective consciousness in the profitable and unfair way. Thus, the Internet development appears to be controversial: “by making speech and communication easier, it makes organization and protest easier” (Jacobs, 2010). In other words, even though the advent of the Internet encourages the freedom of speech, in future, it may fall under the influence of the authoritarian censorship of those institutions or people who possess or want to possess power.
To conclude, the drastic development of the Internet in the nearest future will lead to a number of consequences. Some of them are exciting as they will contribute to the optimization of people’s experience on the Web, modes of communication, and mechanisms to search for information. In particular, the Internet may become more personalized with a function to highlight the web pages that may be interesting for a particular individual. Moreover, it may replace text-based communication with audio interaction. However, there are also many troubling possibilities that may be disadvantageous for surfers of the Internet. They include the problem of privacy, the spread of undue influence of people in power, close interrelation of virtual reality and real life.
Boitnott, J. (2014). A.I. Is helping the internet know what you want before you want it. Inc.Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/john-boitnott/ai-is-helping-the-internet-know-what-you-want-before-you-want-it.html
Brey, P. (2008). Virtual reality and computer simulation.Retrieved fromhttp://ethicsandtechnology.eu/wp-content/uploads/downloadable-content/Brey_2008_VR-CS.pdf
Castelluccia, C. (2012). Behavioural tacking on the Internet: A technical perspective. In S. Gutwirth, R. Leenes, P. de Hert, & y. Poullet (Eds.), European Data Protection: In Good Health?(pp. 21-33).Switzerland: Springer.
Galbraith, R. (2016). Facebook is predicting the end of the written word. Quartz. Retrieved from https://qz.com/706461/facebook-is-predicting-the-end-of-the-written-word/
Jacobs, C. (2010). The future of internet censorship. Electronic Frontiers Australia. Retrieved from https://www.efa.org.au/2010/09/21/the-future-of-censorship/
Ziegeldorf, J. H., Morchon, O. G., & Wehrle, K. (2014). Privacy in the Internet of things: Threats and challenges. Security and Communication Networks, 7(12), 2728-2742.