General Question

arturodiaz's avatar

After the internet, whats next?

Asked by arturodiaz (553points) June 2nd, 2009

Ive been giving this a though for a while. We started speaking thousands of thousands years ago. We have records of writing about six thousands years ago. Gutenberg developed the printing press about five hunders years from now. And the internet became very popular in the 90s. Each of this events marked a milestone in history. Each major change in the way we share information has produced a major leap in human history. So after the internet what is next? And how much will the internet lasts as being the king in information exchange? A hundred more years, maybe less.


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31 Answers

applesaucemanny's avatar

I think sooner or later we’ll be able to read each others’ minds

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I would hope space exploration and colonization.
It may seem like a digression but colonies on the moon or on Mars would definitely necessitate an advance in communication technology.

YARNLADY's avatar

Hubby is hoping for direct brain input.

DarkScribe's avatar

It will be along the lines of voice activated PIMs. Already smart phones can talk, SMS, Video conference, open and lock door and cars, act as a credit card in supermarkets etc. They will get to the stage that the number associated with your first device will remain with you for life and be your best known identity. The internet will always remain in concept, but will probably ramp up to a much higher bit rate etc.

At the moment I use my BlackBerry Storm more than my computer. I am on a plan where I can talk, video conference or email/text unlimited 24/7 with other family members. I will often walk in and find my wife chatting to two or three of our daughters simultaneously, handsfree while she is doing something and they will also be handsfree while doing their things. It is almost like having them all living at home again. The devices are getting smaller and more powerful all the time, and now that the BlackBerrys have voice typing (speech recognition) you scarcely need a computer.

Thought activated devices have been around for a while, but need far more R&D before we will be able to “Think out loud” or across distance. But it will happen. Christmas last year they had Japanese kids toys that were thought controlled.

buster's avatar

Im still waiting for Hoverboards like in “Back to the Future.”

ragingloli's avatar

What applesaucemanny said.
Next step I think is a network to that human brains themselves are connected, as seen in Ghost in the Shell.
After that it is conceivable that we will become part of a collective mind, such as the Borg.

arturodiaz's avatar

Im talking about the next big thing in information sharing. Not just a technology. @DarkScribe the internet will probably continue but I think it will slowly start to lose relevance as this new way of sharing information becomes more and more popular. Just like what is happening to the printing press now.

@ragingloli Yeah, im voting for the collective mind.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Couldn’t disagree more on artificial telepathy.

The next communications breakthrough will come in a form very few of us would ever think of. The idea of an artificial hive mind will not come to pass because testing this technology on humans would be highly unethical for a number of reasons.

Randy's avatar

Maybe we can’t think of it. If you tried to explain the internet to someone around the printing press age, they would probably have a confused look and wonder how it could even be possible. I think at the pace technology and communication grow, that it’s possible that something could be invented that we couldn’t possibly think of.

EDIT: Well, The Compassionate Heretic read my mind… maybe we’re already getting there.

arturodiaz's avatar

Maybe the next information break through will not be made by us conciously but rather as a form of natural evolution

ragingloli's avatar

All kinds of stuff is tested on Humans. Medicine, prostesises, Implants (yes even cybernetic implants like chips in the brain to steer a mouse with your thoughts).
Testing of the ancestor of artificial hive mind technology is already done, and I see no reason why the actual technology would not be tested as well. After all, all you need are volunteers.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@ragingloli To achieve a hive mind would involve violation of human rights on a massive scale. I don’t want people to have access to my thoughts and there are millions of others who don’t want that either.

julia999's avatar

Each of these are a form of communication.
In the way blogging is replacing newspapers, the internet will one day be replaced but something else that ‘conveys information’.

Genetic Engineering is a popular and growing field, so I think electronics interacting with the brain (think implants) would come next.

The human brain is an organic computer… one day we’ll probably learn to program it. Then again, as far as human nature goes, unless we begin to colonolise other plants we’ll instinctively wipe eachother out! But I digress… :D

dynamicduo's avatar

The internet, or at least principles of it, will remain in existence forever. Each protocol will gradually evolve and become something similar but different. I easily foresee us almost becoming one with the computer, we won’t use it like we type in front of one now, but it would be a piece of jewelery or equipment on us that we use our minds and a simple world overlay to interact with. This lets us have intimate knowledge with both people close to us and people far away. Imagine BEING your own photo gallery, it comes around with you just as your cellphone does now, you can interact with a random stranger’s public photos if you’re in proximity or interact in the same way with someone across the world. You can make notes about a restaurant and it will be stored or shared with everyone, right there while you are looking at the restaurant, that information is indexed and marked so you can easily remember what you had last time you went.

I do think a lot of it will bypass talking, and this will be a great advantage in communicating across languages – I could then communicate naturally with someone who speaks a completely different language, because our computers translate the messages instantly. (You should see the steps Google is taking in exactly this – they have built a language computer that takes a stab at translating, then allows the viewers to change or refine the translation and learns from that, continue.)

I also hope we will be able to fuse our biological aspects with our technological ones. Letting blind people see again. Natural control over artificial limbs. Bettering a completely healthy human. The possibilities are endless.

cyn's avatar

@applesaucemanny That already happened I can read minds

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@Randy, I tried to explain the Internet to my 80 yr old mother, and she simply could not grasp the concept. So you don’t always have to go back to the time of Gutenberg, sometimes, you only have to go back one or more generations.

I’m assuming (and we all know what that means) that technology will soon have us with all our devices surgically implanted, or even grown in the womb, and the line between biological and technological will forever become blurred. Beyond that, the possibilities are unimaginable.

Remember,. the guy that invented the computer said it would never be much more than a glorified adding machine.

Bagardbilla's avatar

All of you! Stop reading my mind and stealing my thoughts…
Access denied!!!! Access denied!!! denied…
Ok, as @julia999 (stole my idea and) stated earlier, all of this is about communication, the mode is just a reflection of the state of technology. In earlier times it was story-telling which passed on ideas from one person to next, from one generation to next, then books, now the online databases (be they news, prof journals, or google, wiki etc.). How we accessed them was initially ears, then language, and now a hybred of language/keyboards.
Having said that, I believe the future lies in databases of information (community birthed, maintained, edited, and disiminated, eg Wiki). How do we access them? I believe we will eventually all have instant wireless links to these databases, initially, manually hardwired into our bodies, and later possibly genetically engineered into our neural network.
I think that’s what @dynamicduo was saying.
Interesting question @arturodiaz

Intrestingly enough, that’s why we should curb everyones ability to access into our lives, especially governments! So a president is set for privicy in favor of the individual. Otherwise be ready for Dept of Homeland Security to morphe into ‘thought police’!!!

Mr_Callahan's avatar

New World Order…....and really good hot sauce.

ubersiren's avatar

Maybe we can work on something important like a cure for AIDS.

Mr_Callahan's avatar

An old man told me he had the cure for AIDS. He said ” sit on your ass and keep your mouth shut”. Its sure to work.

ragingloli's avatar

@Mr_Callahan until you get an HIV contaminated blood infusion

cyn's avatar

You’re thinking about boobs
see I told you!

Mr_Callahan's avatar

Rare but true ragindoli.

wundayatta's avatar

There will be computers as powerful as the most powerful laptop in every centimeter of objects humans make: clothes, furniture, cars, etc, etc. Everything will be “smart.” We will have wireless communication with all the things, as well as with any other people on the net around the world and in space. Soon after that, every bit of matter will be turned into computing material, the information singularity will occur. After that, all bets are off!

astrocom's avatar

Oi! Do the telegraph and telephone mean nothing to you? The telegraph was a huge advancement, possibly more important than the internet, because it introduced high-speed communication. It was the first time a message could make it’s way from one side of a continent to the other in the space of seconds, instead of weeks or months.
As far as the next big technological advancement, it’s going to be something that’s integrated with the internet, because, trust me, the internet isn’t about to go anywhere. Yes it’s protocols will be updated, and we may some day end up on the “Internet 2.0” (which does actually exist, but only at certain institutions) but we’ll still be using the same basic system of the internet, and for good reason: systems analysts say it’s the strongest system human beings have ever designed.
If we develop a super-conductor that works around 55°F (ground temperature if you go deep enough) that would cause all kinds of advancements in electrical systems, because it would reduce losses in transmission to completely negligible (theoretically non-existent) amounts.
The next big advancement in communication as a whole might be non-symbolic communication. There are lots of ways this can happen, but the concept is astounding (and awesome) in its simplicity: communication of concepts without symbols of any kind, including language. Some concepts of non-symbolic communication are limited in that they couldn’t show complex concepts in an efficient manner (for example: if you could form accurate images quickly you could inform someone of an event happening without using any symbols, but couldn’t easily communicate your thoughts on the meaning of existence); and others aren’t (this would basically require some method of transferring thoughts). Either way, (I think) it’s unlikely we’ll develop non-symbolic communication in my lifetime (which is disappointing).

arturodiaz's avatar

@astrocom I did thought of including the telephone, telegraph, radio, TV, etc but the difference between those and the internet was that although they did change the way things worked they werent as massive as the internet is becoming.

And with the internet as the most advanced system we have ever invented. Its true, I do think is one of the best ideas we as human specie has ever come up with. But does not mean it will be the best idea we will ever have. After the internet I think a more massive technology will appear which will led us to even bigger and faster technological advances as more and faster information travels from human to human.

astrocom's avatar

@arturodiaz: I agree with you on the points of telephone, radio, and TV (especially radio and TV, one-way communication? Come on) The huge thing about the telegraph was that it was the first time we had anything close to instantaneous communication. We’ve had instantaneous communication for an incredibly long time now (the first transatlantic telegraph was layed in 1866, nearly 150 years ago!) and from the fastest speed people could travel at back then that we really can’t imagine what it was like. Without the internet there would still be a global marketplace, without the telegraph, not so. (Which I think is just as massive, though in a different, less personal way.)
As far as technological advancement, I agree with you, and the internet of the future won’t look anything like the internet today. It’ll be faster, more efficient: You’ll be able to find what you want quickly, and find out everything you want to know about it more easily. There could be 3D displays, and input devices that read nerve impulses; but at it’s core, the protocols will always be based on the internet. It’s that robust of a system; it’s that good.

Mr_Callahan's avatar

I would settle for popcorn that pops 100% of the kernels.

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