Unit 15: Looking Forward on the Internet

So much has changed with the internet and technology just within my lifetime. When I was growing up, we only had dial-up internet at my house. Now, everywhere you go there’s WiFi and high speed internet. It’s hard to imagine what the future of the internet holds, because technology is always changing and developing so quickly.

In 1926, Nikola Tesla predicted the invention of the cell phone. The very first cell phones weren’t around until 1973, so Tesla was way ahead of his time. His exact predictions were:

“From the inception of the wireless system, I saw that this new art of applied electricity would be of greater benefit to the human race than any other scientific discovery, for it virtually eliminates distance. The majority of the ills from which humanity suffers are due to the immense extent of the terrestrial globe and the inability of individuals and nations to come into close contact”

“Wireless will achieve the close contact through transmission of intelligence, transport of our bodies and materials and conveyance of energy.”

“When wireless is perfectly applied, the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain which in fact it is, all things being particles or a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were race to race. Despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do this will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket”

“We shall be able to witness and hear events-the inauguration of a president, playing of a word series game, the havoc of an earthquake, or the terror of a battle- just as though we were present.”

His predictions are spot on, and it’s pretty impressive given that he was about 50 years ahead of his time. He wasn’t the only one though, in 1976 Arthur Clarke essentially predicted the invention of the smart phone. He stated in an interview that we will a have a device allowing us to exchange data, access books, send pictures, read the news, and communicate face to face. The first smart phone didn’t come out until 1993, and having a smartphone didn’t become mainstream until more recent years; Arthur Clarke was also way ahead of his time.

Technology is changing so rapidly, and benefiting everyone as a result. If you want to see something that will make your day, check out this video of a robot being used to cheer up a little girl in the hospital.

I’ve thought about what the future of technology holds, and while I can’t promise my predictions will be as accurate as Arthur Clarke and Nikola Tesla’s predictions, here’s what I think will happen:

  1. The internet will become available to everyone, even people in countries that have limited access right now.
  2. The internet will be universal; there will be no individual connection needed, because it will just be one network that is everywhere and automatic.
  3. Hacking will be a bigger issue as more people get on the internet, making privacy and security harder to maintain.

This unit was the final unit the the course. I hope you enjoyed reading about this course as much as I enjoyed taking it, and that you learned something new about the psychological effects of the internet!

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