The InterWeb – Past, Present and Future


As I sit on this Virgin Pendolino train from Manchester to London a few random thoghts occur.

How amazing life is, with an entire ‘real life’ network of people, actions and thoughts. How could such a thing have simply evolved over time, without a more powerful existence to guide it.

Secondly, and unrelated, was how beautiful the British countryside really is and without the train journey I’d have probably never seen it.

yorkshire-countryside-uk

yorkshire-countryside-uk

So this is a web log about the web so I thought of them in context to the InterWeb. For those that are not familiar with the distinction between Internet and Web, the Internet is the train and train track, the Web is a collection of all the destinations reachable via the train. The InterWeb therefore is my generalisation of both. Back to the topic…

The InterWeb as we know it, knew it and theorise it to become was not invented, in the same way as life as we know it was not. They
evolved over time. Such is the nature of our Universe that everything evolves, within the constraints of the environment.

However every now and again, just like the fish jumping out of the water, things need to evolve outside of its inherent constraints. Ask a cool sounding ‘Futurologist’ what the Interweb will look like in 5, 10 or 20 years down the line and you’ll hear lots of fanciful, some plausible thoughts including discussions on Web 3.0 (or the next big leap in web). However evolution cannot be mapped or guessed. At best we can guess but quite often we’ll be way off the mark. Just ask those born in the early 1900’s about the year 2000. It never happened that way… – but how could they have possibly known?
What did happen was technology. Technology has always existed. Who knew the power a transister would afford us, in the early days of its existence? No one did and know one thought to think about every possible application. Instead the technology acted as a catalyst to the evolution of computing into the device you’re reading this digital text from.

The future of the InterWeb is unknown. Will the train tracks change to allow us to take different journeys? Maybe new trains will enable new ways of working and thinking. Perhaps the entire structure of websites will change. Perhaps social media really is that catalyst for the evolution of web, maybe its the iPhone. What’s certain is that we as humans are full of endless possibilities. What limits us is the environment that we live in. We await the next catalyst to set off the next stage of online evolution – however I very much doubt anyone will be able to predict it.

In the meantime I reflect on this train journey and doubt, within the limitations of what I know and understand today, whether the experience of visualising the beautiful scenary can ever be replaced by anything digital, whether it be the next gen Google Maps or a new Virtual World gizmo…

What do you think this new online world looks like? Will we even get close to seeing the Matrix in real life? How much could we improve and globalise Second World? What’s the future looking like for Social Media?

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