Jean Lievens: 3 Predictions on Future of Internet from Nathaniel Borenstein (Inventor of Email)

Advanced Cyber/IO
Jean Lievens
Jean Lievens

What’s next for the internet?

Nathaniel Borenstein, the inventor of email, lays out his top three predictions for the future of the world wide web.

Mail & Guardian, 20 March 2014


The ever-growing power of our computing devices will have profound implications for healthcare. For instance, we could see implanted networked devices become commonplace. These devices will offer great benefits, such as detecting and preventing diseases by alerting individuals and their medical professionals of vitamin deficiencies, irregular cell counts, degrading organ functions, or even early stage cancer. These same devices, however, could do more harm than good – from revealing personal medical information to triggering a heart attack – if they fall under the control of malicious actors.

Crime prevention
Surveillance technology and its regulation are already a hot topic. But we will have much more to contend with in another quarter of a century as internet capabilities continue to advance. Continuing miniaturisation will probably mean we’ll have effectively invisible cameras nearly everywhere – even embedded in our clothing. On the one hand, recording the daily actions of citizens worldwide may bring a major decrease in crime, as visible crime becomes less likely to succeed. But on the other hand, uncontrolled surveillance may bring forth a rise in intrusive snooping from government agencies, corporations and other entities. As such, we’ll need to continually and carefully consider how such surveillance technologies should be used and consider measures such as mandated transparency to allow us to “watch the watchers”.

Technology’s impact on manufacturing
Technological advances over the next 25 years are likely to result in widespread adoption of 3D printing, allowing people to print things at home that would otherwise require whole industries. This could result in a boom for home invention, with things like new design innovations coming more quickly to light. It’s possible that the internet will once again rewrite supply chains, likely to the detriment of traditional manufacturing. We could experience a further shift to an economy based not on the supply of physical objects, but digital ones.

Steele @ IADB (OAS)
Steele @ IADB (OAS)

ROBERT STEELE: Disappointing predictions. Here are my three:

01 The end of money — true cost economics and collective intelligence combine to take decision-support (intelligence) to the next level

02 The end of corruption (follows from total transparency in 01

03 Free OpenBTS cell phones for everyone, free Internet access for everyone, education on the fly, and we finally end state secrecy