The Future of Internet, Research Paper Example

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Words: 1202

Research Paper

It is difficult to imagine the aspects of our daily lives that have not been impacted by the internet including professional careers, entertainment, shopping, media consumption, and communication. Internet is the single-most important force behind globalization since it has connected global economies in ways never witnessed before in history. Another proof of how closely countries are economically connected with each other is the recent financial crisis which originated in the west and quickly spread to other parts of the world. Some of the world’s most valuable companies by market value including Facebook, Yahoo!, Google, and LinkedIn would not have existed today were it not for the internet. Despite amazing technological progress in the last two decades, we are still only witnessing the tip of the iceberg and internet’s real potential remains largely unexplored.

One of the reasons tablet devices have been replacing personal computers is their ease of navigation and browsing capabilities due to touch-sensitive screens. The future of the internet lies in speech-to-text interface (McBlain) as has been demonstrated by iPhone’s Siri application as well as infotainment systems in new automobile products. One of the primary purposes of the internet was easy accessibility to information and speech-to-text technology will make it even more convenient and quicker to access information. Potential applications may be infotainment screens in shopping malls, information screens in metro rails, more sophisticated infotainment systems in cars and at homes, smart phones, and computing devices aimed at individuals with disabilities including limited mobility. Speech-to-text technology will make it easier even for technologically-novice individuals to use computing devices and other digital gadgets and will encourage greater adoption of emerging technologies by the general public. This prediction does meet the test of logical strength because these technologies such as speech-to-text already exist and are increasingly making their way into different electronics. Thus, it is reasonable to assume that the text-to-speech technology will have even wider applications in the near future. This argument also meets the test of relevance because new technologies do affect different aspects of our lifestyles and we have already seen how internet-enabled devices have replaced traditional devices such as CD players and VCRs.

Internet is still primarily accessed through computing devices such as computers, tablet devices, and smart phones. In the future, the above mentioned devices will lose their monopoly on the internet because internet will be integrated into almost anything we can think of including TVs, refrigerators, home entertainment systems, kitchen electronics, and electric supply (Kessler). Even though we can still buy TVs and home entertainment systems etc. with internet capabilities, the number of users is still quite limited. In addition, the internet-enabled technologies are still in their early stages and not very developed. All these devices will seamlessly communicate with each other and internet will be a commodity to the same extent electricity is a commodity now. Internet-enabled devices may require the average citizen to raise his/her internet literacy especially due to the integrated nature of the devices as well as the privacy concerns that may arise. The users would have to educate themselves as to who may have access to the information gathered by the internet-enabled devices and what steps could be taken to limit data collection as well as advertising by the marketers. This argument passes the test of logical strength because we have already seen a significant rise in the introduction of internet-enabled devices though their adoption rate is still low. This prediction also passes the test of relevance because internet has raised serious privacy concerns among a significant number of internet users.

Another change will be tremendous growth in the cloud computing. While some of the services we use such as email and work documents already exist in the cloud, entertainment will also follow suit. This means the need to download will be replaced by live streaming just as Netflix movies can be watched on the internet. This will be true for other forms of entertainment such as video games as well (Marshalll). This trend will not impose any literacy requirements because consumers will continue to do the things they have been doing. This trend will have more benefits for commercial enterprises. This argument passes the test of logical strength because companies adopt technologies that have the potential to improve their operations and cloud computing will be adopted as it offers benefits both in terms of performance and costs.

The internet will also radically transform our academic institutions. In a recent Pew Survey of 1,021 internet experts, 60 percent believed that there will be mass adoption of distance learning by 2020 (Anderson). There are many factors why distance learning may be adopted on a wider scale. First reason is economies of scale since distance learning eliminates the restrictions imposed by physical classrooms which can only accommodate so many students. In addition, academic institutions can significantly increase enrollment without having to invest in physical structure. The internet continues to become faster and more reliable and even mobile computing is now becoming a norm. Thus, it is reasonable to assume that internet speeds will be significantly faster by 2020 and in addition, new interactive tools will also help improve online education experience. Most of the university students in 2020 would have grown up with internet, thus, internet proficiency will come to them naturally. This prediction passes the test of logical strength since distant learning allows more students to be educated and decrease average cost of educating a student for the academic institutions. In addition, distant learning has also become more popular due to progress in internet and internet-enabled technologies, thus, it is reasonable to assume the trend will continue into the future. This argument also passes the test of relevance because internet has already been having significant impact on the way the academic institutions deliver education.

The internet will also significantly improve the efficiency of government programs and agencies. Applications for many government services are still filled by paper but as internet usage increases and internet literacy rises, more and more government services could be applied for over the internet (Europe’s Information Society). This will enable the agencies to process applications and provide services quicker as many processes may be automated. This argument passes the test of relevance because government organizations also seek ways to improve efficiency and reduce waste and internet offer tremendous potential in this regard.

It is clear that we will continue moving towards a more technology-intensive world due to progress in internet and internet-related technologies. We have already seen significant changes in the average consumer lifestyle over the last two decades and one can only wonder about the future since technology usually progresses at a compounding pace. But one thing is clear that internet will continue to shape the world’s future and will increase connectivity among global economies and cultures.

References

Anderson, Janna. The Future of Higher Education. 27 July 2012. 21 September 2012 <http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/Future-of-Higher-Education.aspx>.

Europe’s Information Society. A future Internet full of opportunities. 21 September 2012 <http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/foi/opps/index_en.htm>.

Kessler, Sarah. 6 Web Pioneers on What the Internet of the Future Will Look Like. 12 January 2011. 21 September 2012 <http://mashable.com/2011/01/12/future-of-the-internet/>.

Marshalll, Gary. The future of the internet revealed. 26 February 2011. 21 September 2012 <http://www.techradar.com/us/news/internet/the-future-of-the-internet-revealed-930700>.

McBlain, Arley. 6 Predictions for the Future of the Internet. 22 December 2009. 21 September 2012 <http://sixrevisions.com/web-technology/6-predictions-for-the-future-of-the-internet/>.

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