The days of metallic red Nokia flip phones, dial-up internet and AIM instant messaging seem to be a thing of the past. Who would’ve thought our worlds would be rocked with the onset of drop-pins, Google+ and a robot named Siri, all the while sharing our deepest thoughts in 140 characters or less? Whether you like it or not, the internet has undoubtedly changed our lives and will continue to do so as we get older and wiser.
Ten years ago, there were 361 million internet users in the entire world (that number is barely 2/4 the size of facebook today). Meanwhile, these days, we’re looking at just about two billion people logging in to the vast WWW from all over the globe. The internet and the computer itself is evolving at speeds faster than your i-phone in a 4G network and we couldn’t be more excited. Innovation has fueled the expansion of the internet, made Zuckerberg a household name and allowed breaking news to be delivered to your phone via tiny little birds.
In the past five years, we’ve seen tablets take over books and smartphones autocorrect our thoughts. I-phones, I-pads, nooks, kindles, we’ve seen them all appear and again, evolve. To put it lightly, the internet and its gadgets are practically a stream for the human consciousness. So, we can’t help but wonder – what comes next? Will newspapers even exist in ten years? What about computers? Will we still tweet & eat & instagram our lunches? Well, to add fuel to this fire, we conducted a survey to find out what other people thought about the evolution of technology and more specifically, the future of technology.
To start, we divided up the questions amongst three different age groups : first, the teenage demographic, next the young adult demographic and finally, the adult demographic. Obviously, answers would vary – we’re dealing with different generations, one of which has grown up with “the facebook” and another who remembers a life of microwave size computers and mousepads. Regardless, the results were telling of how much the internet has truly transformed our lives.
First, we wondered about the internet itself – how do you see it in five years? Not surprisingly, all age groups spoke heavily about how expansive the internet will become. Everyone came to the same conclusion that just about everything will be done over the internet – medical consultations, x-rays, opening car doors and maybe even one day, cooking. Business will be conducted online and logging on and plugging in will simply be the norm.
Ben, 17 “As far as what we’ll be able to do with it, I’ve got no clue. I’m having trouble thinking about things we can’t already do”
Robyn, 60 “We will be setting our DVR’s, starting our car engines and turning on the oven with our smartphones and tablets”
Lourdes, 42 “I feel the internet will be able to evolve into the most dependable thing for our future. Everything will be able to done through it”
Then we had to question the computer itself. We’ve seen the correlation between the rise of the internet and gadgets – tablets, i-pads, i-phones, etc but what about our trusty computer? The larger than life “tablet” has certainly changed in the coming years (who remembers “the computer room” in their middle school?) and while the notebook is constantly becoming slimmer, will it become invisible in five years? For the most part, all ages couldn’t dismiss against the importance of a computer in the workplace.
Andrew, 25 “Some people like big screens. Computers may eventually move into two form factors – the smaller, lighter ones and larger ones – but the basic premise of the at-home, desktop computer won’t be going anywhere soon. They’ll always be around, just in a form factor you might not expect”
Gabriela, 15 “I believe computers use for pleasure will cease to exist, however computers will always be a vital part of a work place”
Jose, 62 “Computers will be used in the business settings only in the future, but the individual will move toward handheld and tablet”
Dan, 27 “There will always be a market for computers because its an efficiency station. The computer is like the public library of the 1950s and five years won’t affect that. Way down the line there may be something better but it [the computer] houses too much power. But as soon as I can have my phone support Adobe CSFuture 4 and project what I am working on to a larger screen while amplifying whatever playlist I’ve got going on .. well, that will be the day I throw my computer out the window”
Next, we asked about brands and businesses. What do you all want to see on the internet? How can your favorite brands become more in touch online? Is a facebook page really the best way to garner attention? Twitter? Easy-to-navigate websites? Surprisingly, everyone agreed that personal attention is best.
Emily, 17 “I know lots of brands today that use coupon codes and limited-time sales on their social networking sites – but, it’d be nice to see them reaching out more with their individual fans, offering support and deals to those who interact most with them”
Ben, 17 “Show me things I haven’t seen. People love finding something new and unknown to their friends …. I think that’s something new companies with their new products really need to take more advantage of”
Jose, 62 “To communicate with me in a more individual and personal way”
Mario, 56 “I would like them to use e-mail marketing, banner ads and online video”
Dan, 27 “Make it a platform where all points of purchase are accessible – I expect to see almost a wikipedia page for the product that gives you almost too much information”
Andrew, 25 “For me, a big part of brands with an online presence is that it adds a human factor to an otherwise faceless business”
And lets not forget about our favorite hobby : facebook! Will it ever be replaced? Will we all have to succumb to the timeline? What is next for Zuckerberg’s little mogul baby? Interestingly enough, most people agree on the facebook part – it is here to stay! Twitter, however, was a different story. Unless we can hike up our thoughts to at least 150 words, the little birdies may one day fly far, far away and never come back.
Conor, 17 “Twitter will most likely still be around because it is a distraction and thats the kind of stuff people like”
Carolina, 18 “I think Facebook is going to be replaced just like MySpace was replaced. There will always be something newer and better, it’s only a matter of time”
BJ, 26 “Twitter might fall to the way side a bit as other social media sites start to add features that will make having a twitter account obsolete”
Mimi, 35 “FB has already proven the test of time and if handled correctly, it could be around for a long time to come”
Mario, 56 “Facebook will grow. Twitter will stay about the same”
Andrew, 25 “If keeping up with a friend across the globe is as easy as logging on Facebook, then how could that possibly disappear from the landscape?”
Georgiana, 52 “Social media sites are great when they are not abused. They will probably continue to grow”
Suffice to say, it’ll be an interesting five + years for our lovely friend the internet and technology in general. Who’s really to say what’ll happen to tablets, smart phones and computers? Will there ever be an I-phone 100? Can we look forward to a future of cooking with our tablets? The truth is, we don’t know what will happen. However, if our past is at all telling, the future of technology is something we can wait for with baited breath. And if you ever want a throwback to your IM-ing past, be sure to follow “Your Away Message” on twitter. Or you could also click here and relive the internet as we knew it.
To view all of the interviews and read through some pretty interesting responses, click here.Interviews by Vanessa Quintero and Allana Mortell, Article by Allana Mortell