The Internet in 2020 Michael Moore-Jones

1. Introduction
This is a look at what the Internet may look like in 2020. Hindsight shows our inability to predict technological advancements with any degree of accuracy, and by no means am I saying that this is a factual essay with evidence. It¶s just a bit of fun to see how the Internet could play out, and in 2020 I¶ll see if I got anything right. In 2020, the Internet will be:
y y y y y

Personal Accessible Interactive Social Universal

These headings are how I will organise this essay. After I have discussed each of these aspects, I will comment on what individual sectors of the Internet will look like. The sectors I will comment on include:
y y y y

News Media Education Blogging Search

2. Personal
In 2020, there will not be just one Internet. We will each have our own Internet, which functions in a very different way to how another person¶s Internet functions. Our Internet will know everything about us - our frequently visited locations, our shopping habits, our friends¶ current locations, what music we like, the book we¶re currently reading, what products we want to buy, whose house we¶re going to next Tuesday, the places we¶ll be in the next year. Simply everything. And all these different aspects of your life that your Internet becomes familiar with will allow your Internet to help you more in your dayto-day activities. No matter where you are, your Internet will be available to you in the same way. Everything digital that you own will be able to be accessed throu gh your

Internet, wherever you are - that includes music, movies, books, and of course all websites. Your Internet will look completely different to how another person¶s Internet will look. Say you hate the colour pink - your Internet will know this, and so will automatically change any pink colour on a website to a colour you prefer. But that¶s the little stuff - if you like being able to check your email from any website you are accessing, then your Internet will simply add an email box to any website you are visiting. If you don¶t like the layout of a website, just tell your Internet to change it and it will automatically try different layouts, of which you can select the one you like most. The entire Internet experience can be customized and changed to suit you as a person, so that it helps you in the most effective way. Say you¶re on the NYTimes website - you¶re really interested in technology and business news, but couldn¶t care less about sport or fashion. Your Internet will know that you have these preferences, and will ensure that the page is populated only with content that you are interested in. But in the technology and business topics, your Internet also knows that you don¶t care about anything to do with Microsoft, Yahoo, or any business stori es to do with oil companies. Same thing again - your Internet won¶t display any stories of these topics. It will use all past information given to it, and your actions, to ensure that your experience using the Internet is completely customised to you.

3. Accessible
Every one of us will be able to access the Internet from wherever we are. You may say we can do this already with smart phones, but that concept will be taken a step further. We will all carry a ³chip´ with us at all times, wherever we go. The ³chip´ is just a little piece of metal about the size of a fingernail, and you can attach it to your mobile phone, wallet or watch because it has a sticky back. What it allows you to do is log into your Internet wherever you are, at any time. Say you¶re on the bus heading to school - the seat in front of you will have a monitor embedded in the back of it. You simply swipe your chip against the screen when you sit down, and for the entire journey you have full access to your Internet. Were you watching a movie the night before on your computer at home? Well, everything will be stored in the cloud in 2020 with absurdly fast speeds, so you can view your Internet¶s homepage and select the movie you were watching, which will be saved from where you paused it. Then you can watch it for the rest of your bus journey, and swipe your ³chip´ again when you get off the bus, to log out. Everywhere we go, everything we touch - it will all allow access to our Internet. The table in the food court of the mall - just swipe your chip and you can access the Internet. The bottom of your food tray will tell the table what you¶re eating (McD¶s, Subway?) and give you the option to share that with your friends through any social network. It will no longer be just us and a device able to passively access and surf the Internet - in 2020,

everything else in our environment will also connect with our Internet. Think about it: you¶re in the changing room of a clothes store, and you¶re trying on an expensive shirt. You think it looks good, but you want your girlfriend¶s opinion. Today, I¶d have to take a photo and then send it to my girlfriend (who thankfully has a smart phone - what happens if your girlfriend doesn¶t!?). In 2020, we¶ll simply access the Internet on the wall of the changing room (which will have a monitor), and it¶ll then take multiple photos of us from different angles and send them all to your girlfriend. She¶s on a bus going somewhere, so she can instantly look and tell you what she thinks. The shirt you¶re trying on will have connected to the Internet through the tags on it, so she also sees how much it costs, what brand it¶s by, the shop you¶re in, and the different fabrics the shirt is made from. In 2020, everything will be able to connect to the Internet. Even our toilets will access the Internet when our ³chip´ comes into their proximity. The toilet will download the latest weather updates for your current location, and, if it¶s cold, will turn on the seat heater. It will flush when you walk back out of its proximity.

4. Interactive
Today, we can do two things with the Internet. We can create content, or we can consume content. There is no element of interacting with the Internet, or allowing the Internet to interact with our environment. In 2020, this will change. We will no longer sit in front of a screen typing on a keyboard and then have to visit a website to upload the text to share with others. The Internet will interact with our environment and our actions to read our intentions, and then act on our behalf. Take this example. If we¶re in a shop and buy a new pair of jeans, our Internet will then pick up on this action through our linked credit card bill, and will generate links to websites of similar products that we may like. The next time we access our Internet (on the bus home?) we will then be shown these suggestions, and can browse around. We didn¶t specifically ask our Internet to do this for us, but it acted intelligently to help us out and make our life easier. The Internet will actively form connections between our actions, preferences and communications to act on our behalf. Added a calendar entry for a conference in Sydney next month? Your Internet will automatically generate itineraries of possible flights (and already knows that you want an aisle seat), hotels, and transport to and from the airport. It knows that your friend is also going to the same conference because he added a similar calendar entry, so your Internet will suggest a possible restaurant and a time and date for you to both me et up. You didn¶t ask it to do any of this - it¶s interacting with information you¶ve given it as well as picking up on your intentions to help make your life easier.

The Internet in 2020 will be more than just a way to consume or create content. It will be a method of connecting information and environment, so that they can function together to make your life easier. In other words, the Internet will have started thinking.

5. Social
Yeah, of course your Internet will be social! But not in the form that it is currently. I don¶t think Facebook will be around in 2020, and that¶s because they are attempting to defy social laws. Social networks are in essence societies - and I believe the same rules apply as in real life. Societies are formed out of groups of individuals who share similar values, beliefs, and interests. Facebook works because it is an early stage social network, and people are still getting a thrill out of the narcissism effect. But in 2020? People will be long bored of that! In 2020, there may be ten major social networks, each with 300million users. The social network that we belong to will be a representation of who we are as an individual - it will be a method of expression. Just like we say we are a Kiwi, in 2020 we will say ³Hi, I¶m Michael - I¶m a Kiwi and a ³insert social network name here´´. It will help to define us. Social networks will work a lot like physical societies do. You will have your core group of close friends and family, who you share everything with. Then you will have connections - people you know, but don¶t talk to often or share much with. From there, you just have the other members of society - you have nothing to do with them. The system of ³friending´ people is broken, and in 2020 social networks will be more mature to the stage that they are organised like physical societies are. We will use social networks in much the same way as we do today, although we won¶t be sharing as much (we¶ll be bored of that). We¶ll only share things that are important and that we know the group of our close friends/family will care about. But the differences begin in how we share things. Today, we have to actively decide we want to share something, then take the photo or write the status, then post it, then monitor the ³likes´ and comments. In 2020, it will be done without us thinking. We visit a location, and we will be ³checked -in´ without us doing a thing. Our Internet will start tweeting (or whatever it may be) automatically by recognising what websites we are reading, the content of the website, and then match the content of the website with our past actions and experience. For example, if I¶m reading an article on the new Apple iPad, my Internet will pull all kinds of information from past articles I¶ve read, the fact that I own an iPad, the fact that I was at an Apple store recently, and all this other information to form an ³intelligent´ message to post to people. Also, like I said earlier, our Internet will interact with the environment we are in to share things with friends - such as reading the bottom of a food tray and sharing what food you are eating, or automatically telling people what plane you are on and what movie you¶re watching. This allows us to keep up to date with our friends and family with minimal

effort, making our lives easier.

6. Universal
In 2020, everyone anywhere in the world will have the ability to connect to the Internet. The Internet will have become a right of human beings, and much will be done to ensure everyone has access. It¶s already obvious that the Internet is crucial in having uncensored access to information, and this concept will be taken further and applied to even the poorest nations. Speed will be incredibly fast (100x as fast as fibre optic cable today), and we will be able to download movies in a second. Once the Internet is universal in 2020, we may see developing nations rise faster from poverty - if everyone has access to the same information, even unskilled workers can become skilled and run entrepreneurial businesses through the Internet. But the concept of universality can also be taken further. The form of the Internet in 2011 is broken. Some websites are brilliantly designed - they look fantastic, are intuitive, and make our lives easier. Others are the exact opposite, and are awful to use. In 2020, there will be standards to make all websites universal. That doesn¶t mean they need to look the same, but the underlying structure of websites will have built in standards that make the user¶s experience much more intuitive. In essence, we will not browse websites on the Internet. We will be browsing apps. Apps make sense, and have elements that are universal so we know how to use them. This is how the Internet will be structured in 2020.

7. News Media
Citizen journalism is how all news will be found in 2020. Nor mal people like us will carry out our daily lives, but will see events that are newsworthy. Our Internet will allow us to capture these events in images or videos, and will then automatically send them to news media organisations. There will be a fundamental difference in the role of the news organisation in 2020. Today, the news organisations are the ones finding the news and then publishing it. In 2020, the news organisation will collate news received from citizens, and their role will be to verify it. No longer will they have journalists actively seeking out news, but their journalists¶ job will be to attempt to verify news before it is published. This means more news will be found, and we can ensure it is accurate by relying on the news media organisations.

8. Education
Education through the Internet doesn¶t work very well today. It¶s not effective, and the tools just don¶t work. But in 2020, a large amount of our learning will

be done through the Internet. It¶s proven that education works best when it is done in a group - and that¶s exactly what the Internet allows. The first five aspects of the Internet in 2020 that I have discussed in this paper will combine to make learning online a reality, and one that works. Websites like MIT OpenCourseWare are a start to learning online, but they aren¶t enough because they lack the ability to collaborate with other people, as well as the fact that they aren¶t interactive. In 2020, we will be able to watch a video on a website and then click on different parts of the video to explore them more. Say you¶re watching a video about the planet Mars, and its polar caps are being discussed. You¶ll be able to click on the image of the polar ice caps, and the video will automatically adjust itself to discuss this further. Then from that video, the fact that life on Mars could exist is brought up. The video is displaying a video of possible microbes that were discovered recently. You just click on that image, and the video will start discussing them. It¶s fully interactive experience, that allows you to adjust the content based on what interests you personally. At the same time, there may be 100 individuals worldwide watching the same information as you. If you don¶t understand something, or want clarification, you can just say your problem out loud, and yo ur Internet will transcribe it and then ask those other individuals your question, to see if they can answer it better. You can collaborate in the easiest possible way - speaking out loud, and then receiving answers. In 2020, these methods of education will be so effective that we may only go to school for one day a week - the rest of the time, we can be learning at our own pace following a curriculum that adjusts to us individually. There are so many benefits to this - if you know that you learn best at 10pm at night, you can sleep in all day and then start learning at any time that suits you. It will allow society to adjust to suit individuals more. This is hugely powerful, and the positive effects will reach other areas of life, such as the workforce. It will remove the ³factory´ aspect of education that says all students are the same people can begin learning individually.

9. Blogging
Everyone will have a blog in 2020. But it won¶t be a blog as we think of it today. It will be a blog built into the social network we are a member of, and it is our method of reaching out to the larger community. Remember back to what social networks will look like in 2020; they will be structured like societies, with your close friends and family first, then your connections, and then the wider community. The majority of your communication will be done with your friends/family, and connections. But just as with societies, there is a way you can reach the wider community through publishing. And that is what blogging will allow us to do.

Blogging will have lost a lot of the stuff that goes along with it today - people will worry about monetization less, and they won¶t have to spend ages tweaking the little parts of their website and worrying about hosting. It will be a very simple tool that allows us to speak to the wider community with what¶s on our mind. In a sense, it will be like writing a letter to the editor. There¶s nothing fancy or exciting here; and that¶s the beauty of it. Blogging will be one of the most simple tools imaginable, and that is why people will use it.

10. Search
In 2020, search will be an experience. You won¶t just search for something and then have possible results displayed to you in a list - that¶s not personal or interactive. Instead, search will be something that allows you to explore possible answers through what is best described as a journey, or an experience. An example: I say out loud when on a search website ³Best cafes in Wellington´. My screen then transforms into an interactive video (similar to how education will work) that is interactive and personal. My Internet knows I like fun, groovy cafes from where I have been previously, and so all results for formal cafes are not displayed. Then, the video will be combining various different visual and audio aspects to provide an experience as I go through the answers. ³Mojo cafes are constantly voted as some of Wellington¶s best cafes....´ As it says this, it displays images of different Mojo cafes around Wellington. I click on an image of Mojo in the Old Bank Arcade, and the video adjusts to tell me about their menu, what they¶re famous for, prices, and opening hours. You see how it works? No longer is search a passive task - it¶s an interactive experience. And those two words - interactive experience - say a lot about what the Internet in general will be like in 2020. I can¶t wait.

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