The year 2019 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the first host-to-host internet connection. Please think about the next fifty years. Where will the internet and digital life be a half-century from now? Please tell us how you think connected technology, platforms, and applications will be integrated into people's lives. You can tackle any dimension of this question that matters to you. What new rules, laws, or innovations in its engineering over the intervening years will change the character of today's internet?

The internet and digital life will likely be more fully integrated and user friendly fifty years from now.

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This post is asking several questions, but it seems that the various questions are meant to spark possible ideas to write about rather than asking you to answer each of the questions separately. Additionally, the prompt itself gives you permission to "tackle any dimension of this question," so feel free to explore your thoughts about the future of the internet.

The internet has indeed come a long way since it was first "born" in 1969. The amount of data available has dramatically increased, and the time it takes to access the data has gotten less and less. I would predict that those trends would continue, but the gains will feel much smaller. For example, there was a time when it took 10 seconds or so for a web page to load. Cutting that time in half was a savings of 5 seconds. Now, that same fifty percent decrease in load time is much less noticeable. If a page loads in .8 seconds, and next year it loads in .4 seconds, the gains are almost imperceptible.

I personally think that the gains made in the internet and people's digital lives will be in the way that people interact with the technology. Currently, a device of some kind has to be operated to participate in the internet and digital life. Keys on a computer have to be pressed. Touch screens have to be touched. It's a bit odd that a person trying to access "cloud" data has to have a tactile interaction with a piece of hardware.

Smart speakers are moving us toward a different interaction. No longer do I have to pull my phone out of my pocket or wake my computer up to interact with cloud data. I simply speak. For simple queries about the weather or sports scores, the internet-connected speakers are quick and getting quicker. Fifty years from now, I probably won't even have to voice my question. I'll probably just think it and the answer will be displayed on my contact lens. My usage of the tool isn't likely to change, but how I interact with the tool is likely to be very different fifty years from now.

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