I’m going to be a bit controversial this evening. I think that the web as we know it will be largely dead within a decade.
My view of the web is that it’s fundamentally antiquated. I feel that the development of the web was originally based on something we understood at the time – magazines. Yes, hypertext (links) made these magazines ‘interactive’, but this was really just a fancy globalised way of turning a page. When I look at web pages today, it still strikes me that we’re stuck in an old paradigm. Despite the big fancy databases, algorithms, and social interactivity underlying content these days, I am looking at something that resembles a magazine or newspaper page. We will look back from the future and crack a little smile at these first little stumbling steps in the digital world.
What’s next? I see the web breaking out of two dimensions for starters. VR and AR will change the world; I’m convinced of that. The world of AI assistants and voice interactions is rapidly emerging. Information access and information processing are becoming limitless through exponentially-improving connectivity (e.g. 5G) and the burgeoning capacity of the cloud. There is an increasing delta between the 3D & visual processing capabilities of modern CPUs and the 2D, mostly static, nature of the content we access.
Within a decade, the web will be all around us. Smart fragments of information & capability scattered through virtual worlds and interspersed with the ‘real world’ at will. We’ll talk to the web, the web will talk to us, the web will be on our walls, in our fridges, and on our skin. It will float in the air around us, we’ll walk on it, we’ll wear it. Forget the screen-based web – even on mobile – it’s not here for much longer.
The web is dead. Long live the web.