Is it the end of the Internet as we know it? Eric Schmidt, executive chairman at Google, certainly thinks so. And he feels fine about it. At the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week, Schmidt was asked what he sees for the future of the Internet. His answer is somewhat startling, until you hear his full explanation.
"I will answer very simply that the Internet will disappear," Schmidt said. "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. 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.”
Misleading or Accurate?
The news media are having a field day with Schmidt’s comments about the disappearing Internet. Greg Sterling, vice president of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association, told us although "disappear" sounds somewhat misleading, Schmidt is essentially correct.
"IP connectivity will be built into more devices and objects in the world -- the so-called 'Internet of things.' People will also become so accustomed to using the Internet in so many different contexts that they won't think about 'going online' in the way we do today," Sterling said.
"The question is how long will this take to accomplish? Time is the interesting variable here. In addition, once everything is connected, everything becomes vulnerable to hacking and every action can be 'tracked' or recorded as well," he added. "That's the other side of his vision of future."
New Global Context
Although Schmidt's comments are getting most of the press, representatives from Facebook and Microsoft were also at the World Economic Forum. And, they agreed on this: technological advances will not take away jobs, but instead, will create them.
"Everyone's worried about jobs," said Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook. The transformation is happening faster than ever before. But tech creates jobs not only in the tech space but outside."
As part of the event promotion, the World Economic Forum issued this statement: "What is clear is that we are confronted by profound political, economic, social and, above all, technological transformations. They are altering long-standing assumptions about our prospects, resulting in an entirely 'new global context for decision-making."
For his part, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talked about sharing the wealth that comes with global growth. "Are the spoils of tech being evenly spread? That is an issue that we have to tackle head on," he said. "I'm optimistic, there's no question. If you are in the tech business, you have to be optimistic. Ultimately to me, it's about human capital. Tech empowers humans to do great things."
Posted: 2015-01-26 @ 12:44pm PT
Wait for the next blackout. :)
Posted: 2015-01-24 @ 9:14pm PT
It is clear that we are headed for an always connected, highly interactive experience that will be like electricity, it's just there. Unlike electricity, the level of surveillance and available personal information is what is so potentially dangerous. We all want to enjoy intuitive homes, business and recreational environments, but this also places a major dependency on tech to always work. Not having that "candle and matches" just in case, in a fully connected world is frightening. I too am ever hopeful and it is my hope that all parties involved work especially hard on protecting the privacy of the individual and safeguarding us all with a plan b, just in case. All connected, interactive things should have a manual option. All organizations with data access should demonstrate how our personal data is safe.