I’ve been regularly accessing the Internet for well over 20 years. My first taste of the Internet came courtesy of dial-up services provided by high school’s library. I would continue on through the mid- to late-90s with dial-up Internet at home before transitioning to broadband in college and the years the followed. While the speed in which I access the internet have vastly increased over the years, I still mainly access it using my personal computer, and defer to my smartphone when I’m out and about.
But according to Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, the Internet as we know it may be on the way out. Now that doesn’t mean that the Internet will simply cease to exist; just that it will become so engrained into every aspect of our daily lives that it will present itself as an entirely new type of experience. Even today, our smartwatches, refrigerators, televisions, and vehicles have persistent connections to the Internet. We have access to so much information at our fingertips during almost every moment of our daily lives — even when we aren’t sitting in front of a traditional computer screen.
“There will be so many IP addresses…so many devices, sensors, things that you are wearing, things that you are interacting with that you won’t even sense it,” Schmidt explained at the World Economic Forum. “It will be part of your presence all the time. Imagine you walk into a room, and the room is dynamic. And with your permission and all of that, you are interacting with the things going on in the room.”
This hyper-connected future where “a highly personalized, highly interactive and very, very interesting world emerges,” Schmidt added.
With the rise of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, Schmidt’s vision of tomorrow’s Internet may come sooner rather than later. Intel witnessed a big boom in its IoT business during 2014, and Samsung is predicting that every device that it sells within the next 5 years will be IoT ready (Samsung sold over 665 million devices in 2014 alone; imagine the reach the company will have by the year 2020).
And with new devices like Microsoft’s HoloLens bringing unheard of levels of immersion, combining our digital and physical worlds, the idea that the Internet will simply shrink into the background of our daily lives becomes a bit more palatable.