It’s popular early in the new year to see if we’re where we all thought we’d be years ago. Flying cars? Jet packs? Hoverboards? Are we all wearing silver jumpsuits and wearing transition lens glasses?
But I’d like to go back to what I thought the Internet would be like when I first got into it. I’ve been working in the web development space just about from the beginning of it’s commercial use, in the mid 90s. Connections were comparatively slow, we didn’t have pervasive smart phones or Internet enabled devices. Monitors were gigantic. I didn’t envision some sort of Minority Report like thing were we’d be grabbing words and pictures and throwing them onto other screens. Many others did, and I saw companies like Razor Fish demo some pretty wild stuff that was so resource intensive it barely ran on a workstation.
What I thought the Internet was, before I actually got to use it, was organic and living. I thought if you clicked any word you’d get data. You’d dig deeper. The system would search, add and improve. Bad, useless and outdated info would fall off, more useful and relevant info would replace it. Anything could be clicked on like a link to dig deeper.
The web is still not there. There have been some movements in this direction, like Wikipedia. But there’s still an abundance of outdated and useless info that floats to the top of searches. Why is it there? Keywords? Links? Things that want to find meaning, but are manipulated.
Searching this morning I saw links from 2012, not to mention junk. Clearly not curated, or sorted by usefulness. The underlying intelligence and technology I thought was an inherent part of the Internet back in the mid 90s is still not there. Will it be at some point?