Thinking about a world without the Internet might be absurd, but having the Internet in every day life wasn’t something that the average person could even really consider just 20 years ago. Back then you got on the Internet through a portal of some kind, whether it be Compuserve, Prodigy, AOL or another one was entirely up to you and what you were willing to pay. Nowadays everything can practically get on the Internet and it’s essentially not even a thing to “go online” anymore as it used to be. Things are connected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and we don’t even consider that they might be connected to any number of different switches, servers and other networking equipment while we eat our breakfast or take a nap. This sort of mentality is what Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, was referencing when he said that one day “the Internet will disappear” when speaking at the World Economic Forum.
“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,” he explained. “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. A highly personalized, highly interactive and very, very interesting world emerges.”
With the advent of the Internet of Things, or essentially every device and appliance in your life being connected to the worldwide network, the idea of the Internet as an entity will be completely foreign to individuals as everything is just supposed to be connected. In a way that you don’t really ever think of the power grid or the network that powers landline phones, things like cellular networks and the Internet in general won’t even be a consideration as it’s more or less taken for granted. As the number and types of devices increase in our lives we become increasingly connected and increasingly unaware of what it takes to get connected, something that’s both great and dangerous at the same time. While working knowledge of what it takes to make up the Internet isn’t really necessary for the average Joe, staying connected with those around you has become more important than ever, and it’s a great reminder of how technology can completely change the lives of those around it.