We can all agree with the statement – that we are very much living in the era of the internet at present. It has not only become the primary medium of gathering and transferring information but also the medium that facilitates communication. Social Networking platforms have gained momentum and reached a level in which they have become the de-facto backbone of the internet. In fact, various psychologists have warned that excessive use of social media could be detrimental to interpersonal relationships. However, more and more people are getting in on the action every single day. Overall, it’s imperative that we understand where the internet is headed in the future to grasp how we are going to evolve along with it.
At first, let’s address the fact that a considerable portion of the planet still doesn’t have internet access. In under-developed and in some developing countries, the high cost of broadband had deemed it impossible to afford internet speed that people in the western world takes for granted. SpaceX, led by visionary Elon Musk has set out to solve this problem by launching a network of satellites that provide global broadband. The project, called Starlink, is very much happening at the moment and might be fully functional by next decade. What this means, is that someone with a connection can access high-speed broadband from a remote location in Africa. This means that Social Networking giants would see a surge in their traffic, as people from all around the world communicate and receive information that’s available on the internet.
Just as internet-beaming satellites constitute the future, so is the new concept of a quantum internet. Using fiber-optic cable, the basics of quantum computing can be transferred to the internet. Quantum internet is set to be more secure and can facilitate transactions between two parties without the option of being trespassed by a third-party. Security and the internet go hand in hand today and a lack of secured connection results in a multitude of hacking every day. Availing quantum internet can not only make the internet faster but also secure, and can thus provide anonymity to users on it.
However, governments around the world have understood the power of the internet, thereby doing everything in their power to regulate and monitor it. In China, the internet looks very different than the rest of the world. The Chinese government has banned Google, Facebook, and other American search engine and social networking giants while providing a Chinese counterpart of them that is intensely monitored. According to the founder of the internet, Tim Berners-Lee, the internet will soon be divided into two parts – the unregulated, free version of the west and the intensely regulated one in China and other authoritarian countries.
Even in the western world, laws and regulation regarding internet usage are gradually emerging. Governments are slowly understanding that if the internet is allowed to be a free space to share ideas, those ideas could be detrimental to their own propaganda. In the United States, social media was instrumental in electing Donald Trump as President. Facing a barrage of backlash on the Internet ever since he has cited that Facebook and Twitter are biased against him. Although highly unlikely, Trump would also call for a regulated internet just to negate all the “Fake News’ about him.
As we inch closer to 2019, the internet continues to tighten its grasp on society. The future might see the emergence of quantum internet for secured transactions, a space internet for global coverage, and also a divided internet for different countries. How such changes will affect us in the future – can only be speculated.