The internet has come a long way over the past few decades. It started as an arcane idea, sheltered in a few university computer laboratories. Now, it’s gone entirely mainstream. In the process, it’s revolutionised just about everything it’s come into contact with – from food to culture to business to literature.
The way that things will change in the future is difficult to predict. Even visionaries like Steve Jobs couldn’t have been certain. When he first announced the iPhone in 2007, he sold it on the idea of a single device that could take pictures, play music, and take calls. Internet access was a nice additional feature, rather than a central one. Modern attention-economy apps like TikTok and Instagram had not even been envisaged.
How The Construction Industry Will Change
Technologies like 3d printing have long threatened to fundamentally shake up the way we build things. But communications technology has arguably had a much greater impact than 3d printing ever could.
Small construction firms, since the last decade, have been able to source heavy building materials, equipment as well as power tools, and get them shipped to a given address. A milwaukee multi-tool which can be found online is a good example of this.
They’re even able to compare the prices offered by several different companies and to share information with others in the industry.
How The Auto Industry Will Change
The internet has changed the world of transport, too. Huge amounts of administrative work are now entirely digital. Obtaining a licence, paying your congestion charge, declaring a car SORN – it can all be done online. You can now book a basic car service without even placing a call – with just a few taps of a touchscreen.
In the future, we’re likely to see further change in the form of self-driving cars, which will require some form of always-on internet in order to function. Automated cars will be in constant communication with one another, meaning that they’ll be able to race through junctions without the risk of colliding with one another.
What The World Could Look Like In The Next Decade
At a recent summit of the World Economic Forum in Davos, several industry leaders, including the CEOs of Qualcomm and IBM, got together to suggest ways the world might change in the coming years. Many of the changes we’ll see on a day-to-day basis are likely to be only indirectly related to the internet. The rise of quantum computing, for example, might be restricted to laboratories – but the rest of us will see the benefits.
Other technologies, like chatbots, threaten to fundamentally undermine the search-engine-driven model of the internet we’ve come to know. The technology raises many interesting challenges, many of them related to the legal ownership of the vast datasets used to train services like ChatGPT. It’s likely that AI won’t just be bound by the law – it’ll also be helping to deliver it!