Just five years ago you probably had not even heard of blogging; YouTube wasn’t even a dream and the idea that you could “instant message” between your home and the other side of the world was almost unheard of. A lot has happened in the past five years. So can you even begin to imagine what might happen in the next five years?
One of the most interesting areas is the connection between developments in biology, medicine and the Internet. Google, amongst others, is considering putting genetic information online. This will extend genealogy into a whole new arena. Instead of searching for relatives in old records, you’ll be able to find people you are genetically connected to – instantly. But doctors and medical technologists see even better potential. They see devices that can attach to our bodies, that can automatically connect to the Internet; these devices will check our own genetic codes, find faults, search the Internet for “corrections”, download them and repair your body. Human biologists have suggested that this could extend the average human life to around 400 years.
Meanwhile, neurobiologists are considering connections between your brain and the Internet. One idea is that you will be able to upload your brain’s entire contents to some store on the Internet. This will provide a “backup” should you forget anything, or suffer some brain injury, allowing a “restore” of your mind. Equally, it will provide access to your thoughts, memories and personality for anyone in the world at any time in the future. It means people will be able to hold conversations with you even after your death.
These suggestions sound like science fiction. But the technology is already available. All that is needed are the devices that connect our bodies to the Internet and work is underway on them.
So what does all this mean for those of us trying to earn a living online? It means you need to be constantly alert for the developments and changes happening with the Internet; it means you need to have a flexible approach so you can adapt; it means you can’t stick your head in the sand and hope everything will stay the same. After all, if your web site was still like one of those around in the early 1990s, that didn’t include colour or pictures, where would you be now?