The Internet is undergoing mutations that cause problems. In ten years, it has increased in scope by 566%. Some figures show the scale of current challenges :

  • 144 billion emails are sent daily (68% are spam) ;
  • 822,240 new sites are coming online every day ;
  • there are eight new Internet users every second ;
  • 2 million searches are conducted on Google every minute ;
  • 571 new websites are created every minute. Etc.

The current mutation is characterized by the appearance of cloud computing in 2008. Cloud computing offers a range of services from server farms, which are huge warehouses with tens of thousands of servers. The farmhouse newly built by Google includes 50,000 clustered servers (2014). This farm can process daily 3 billion searches, index 20 billion web pages and offer enough space to 500 million Gmail users.

Below is a Microsoft Cloud (near Chicago, 500,000 square feet and possibly 400,000 servers and uses three cooling stations) :

The clouds provide services, both professional (Private Cloud) and public (Public Cloud). They come in three layers : (SaaS application access), PaaS (access to operating systems) and IaaS (access servers) :

The dark side of Clouds

Because these farms are very energy-intensive, preferably they are built near a hydroelectric dam. If the cloud were a country, it would now be ranked 4th in the world for global electricity consumption, especially because the new standard 4G (LTE) consumes 60 times more energy than the old 2G (Greenpeace report, 2013).

The Cloud consumes as much energy in one day as a city of 30,000 people. Email requires the energy equivalent of one hour’s use of a light bulb ; we currently send 10 billion emails per hour in the world. The hidden face of the Cloud is therefore energy costs, costs that will double every two years. The Cloud is also vulnerable to physical solar storms (see the use of the STEREO-A satellite that monitors radiation geomagnetic storms that interact with Earth’s magnetic field).

Unintended consequences

We are seeing new types of intersections and mash-ups of technology which we could not conceive of only a few years ago. These creations are unexpected developments :

• The autodrone
A cross between a drone and a car – the recently-created autodrone (presented at CES Tech Show in Las Vegas in 2015, by the Chinese company EHang)

Above, the EHang device 184 is a car in the form of a helicopter (Ghost Drones 2.0) that combines the technologies of transportation at low altitude with the GPS and algorithms of multiple motors, all synchronized with a robot frame and various forms of automation.

• Sensor clothing (or smart textiles)
By covering a very thin nylon wire, fabrics are created capable of capturing and communicating data via a smartphone. This fabric enables the development of smart clothing as sheets, pants, shirts, camisoles and even bandages that become biometric sensors. Already, the medical monitoring market for the elderly is growing followed by the athletes, etc. (See wearables, below).

Project example of exoskin :

• The closed network (Blockchain)
Since the arrival of the Internet, open networks have always created possibilities that have invited the participation of all. This time it’s the opposite – we are developing closed networks where only certain people who share some degree of trust are invited to participate.

Unlike TCP / IP, the Blockchain is a cryptographic protocol that will withstand malicious hackers (falsification, alteration, phishing, etc.) The first generation is characterized by the appearance and growth of Bitcoin. The second could be that of international banking networks or medical records.

• The Talking Interface (Haptic technology)
The first generation of touch screens appeared around 1970, the second around 1985. In 2007, the third generation explodes : smartphones and tablets, etc. The technology used was that of the Touch screen. Now the Multiple Touch screen begins to develop thanks to the capabilities of haptic feedback. Previously, the interfaces do not speak – now they will interact with users by issuing various noises to confirm commands.

To do this we cover screens with a thin film comprising conductive sound and even spaces having different textures (for automatic recognition by the finger). This is the continuation of the philosophy of empowerment. This time, it is based on more tactile feedback (vibration, varying pressures, various touched or dragged).

Here’s how the pressure of a finger on a touch screen works :

The next generation is already being tested: it also refines gesture recognition and speech.

• Variable price (Dynamic pricing)
Price fluctuations date from the bazaars of the Middle Ages. Lately we have all succumbed to the temptations of Boxing Day, the Back to School period special mornings or the 5-to-7 Happy Hour. Now, the emergence of technology is becoming the main flagship of the Net Economy.

Price alerts rely on the loyalty of customers, and are updated constantly (Amazon changes prices every ten minutes, Uber every snowstorm and oil every weekend). This creates the combination of client lists (data revealing patterns of consumption obtained through the Internet of Things, to wearables, etc.) with various points (temperature, calendar as the hunting season, etc.)

• Coiled paper (E-paper E-ink)
It is a sheet of plastic (polymer, etc.) that can receive electronic ink (various types of droplets, using a Nanodrip technology). This becomes a ‘log’ that can be wound up similar to the old paper logs. It consumes energy only when it is necessary to load a database :

• The Strati, a printed automobile
For over twenty years, the 3D has printer produced prototypes or a series of small objects. But in 2014, everything changed. Local Motors has printed the body of an electric car : The Strati, which assembles forty printed pieces (in comparison, a conventionally manufactured car assembles approximately 20,000 pieces):

An additive manufacturing process involves adding materials (plastic, metal, sand, ceramic, etc.) layer by layer, stacking them to create a structure and volume. Now this technology is invading industries such as aerospace, sports shoes, jewelry, various human prostheses, etc. Its benefits are its capacity for complex parts-manufacturing, the reduction in wasted raw material, and therefore a reduction in costs as well as the simplification of production logistics.

However, its dark side is the possibility of illegal copying (guns for example) and reproduction without any ownership rights, theft of software files, etc.

• Glasses that save time and effort
Inventors who thought of developing a mainstream product now realize that it will be sold in a rather specialized market. The creators of « smart » glasses (Google Glass for example in the field of virtual reality) believe users can save up to 50% of working time in certain tasks.

The example (in photo below) of a worker who checks an aircraft engine or surgeon ; they can use software superimposed on their glasses to verify information, by comparing the work remaining to do. They no longer have to search folders for hours.

• Robot reporters
Associated Press distributes texts generated by algorithms based on stock market data. The texts, 10 articles of 300 words each second (generated by the robot) describe the evolution of the financial results of various American enterprises. All of the text generated by the robot is then verified by a human employee.