Today, the Internet has become a gigantic slot machine, a system that enriches only a few large owners (Big Four, GAFA, Frightful Five, etc.). It’s original intent has been diverted. Initially, in 1995, it was intended to be a system of communication for and by citizens.
The Internet is:
- a technology (an amalgam of address systems, media techniques, broadcasting networks, digital processing, etc.) ;
- an economy (support for the Net Economy) ;
- a culture (a system of intervention, and thus probably of sociopolitical influence and control).
The Internet is a new interface that has been placed between citizens and their world :
It remains surprising that this interface – so important for the continuing evolution of the world – is currently entrusted to private companies that care only about profits.
The Internet is very young ; it is barely 50 years old, not much more than one human generation. Like the technologies which have preceded it, the Internet has its positive and negative aspects. The Internet offers human beings beautiful and utopian promise (the possibilities of changing our ways of thinking) but also dangerous pitfalls and traps (control of many aspects of society by several large private consortia, reduction of functioning democracy).
The Arpanet, the Internet’s ancestor, was created (1969) in response to the launching of the Soviet satellite Sputnik in order to develop a digital network capable of resisting an eventual nuclear attack. The Internet we know today came to life in 1972 :
||Internet of data
||Internet as a public space
||Internet of services
||Internet of experiences (?)
At this point in time, we are using a second-generation Internet, while the third generation is already being developed :
The distribution of content and services, known as the worldwide Web (WWW), came into being in 1990 : this system of URL addresses, enabled from then on exchanges between one billion commercial, social, university or military web sites, which offered up approximately 60 trillion Web pages (chapter 3, no. 11)
Today the Internet and the Web are the fruit of the convergence of artificial intelligence, massive amounts of data, the visualization of images and profound learning capabilities (deep learning).
Television let us see the Global Village,
but the Internet let us be actual Villagers.
The context of past industrial revolutions
An important era of society began with the 1st Industrial Revolution (1700) when various forces of change began to accelerate society’s development (iron, coal, steel in the schema below). These factors led to the catalysts that enhance growth : cotton, the steam engine, the railroad created the 2nd Industrial R (1900) and prepared the ground for the arrival of the 3rd Industrial Revolution which is popularizing the Internet :
We are now announcing the the arrival of 4th Industrial Revolution without really knowing what it will be or what it will mean to us (WEF Davos, 2016). We are guessing that it will come to be know as the 1st Post-industrial Revolution.
From mechanical automation to human exchanges
We are transitioning from anonymous industrial Internet protocols to individual opinion-based stances and positions. Internet 2 is gradually becoming a tool of both socio-political and economic influence :
The Internet becomes the eighth continent.
(The seven continents: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe, Oceania and Antarctica).
After 2020 (?)
Because social networks on the Web become a technology that animates social activities and opinions, the Web becomes a sensor of the pulse of the new society, or a mirror reflecting the emotions and energies of citizens.
Currently, it is shifting into second gear due to the appearance of mobile devices and clouds. Soon, it will shift into third gear because of new forms of media-based writing and the possibility of navigating immersed in information (signalled by research into virtual realities, quantum computing architecture and the development of 5G).