The Internet in 2034

A little piece I wrote recently for the Coursera Course by Dr Chuck (Charles Severance) on Internet History, Technology and Security.  An excellent course by the way, you may know much about the technology already but the interviews are quite fascinating.

The Internet in 2034 References are in brackets [].

If I’m still here in 2034 I shall be 84 – what will my life be like? My bed wakes me gently at 6 AM – or as I asked it last night “mid-afternoon New York time” and asks me if I need a drink or something to eat.

A far cry from the primitive Siri [1], my entire retirement unit is wired for voice recognition.  The system has also switched on the 3D holographic unit (seeing is believing [2]) so that, when I’m ready, I can talk with my son as he sits on the edge of my bed.

This morning his Vietnamese wife is with him and she has switched on her translation unit so that her words come to me in clear unaccented English.  This new version of Facebook Translate is magic [3].

I enabled sharing on MARTY (Medical Alert in Real Time by Yahoo) [4] with my son a few months back so he asks if I’m taking my meds.  I tell him yes, of course, otherwise alarms go off all over the place and a real human nurse (Betty) comes in to yell at me.

At least I think she’s real, it gets harder to tell all the time, even though my eyesight has never been better since the last implants were put in. He asks what I have planned today. I tell him I am answering history questions for a Primary school in Hangzhou, China.  The little ones are curious to know how we managed back in the 90’s when buildings were so primitive they couldn’t talk (gossip, if you ask me) to neighbouring buildings about their humans [5].  None of them (the kids, not the buildings) are actually in school this morning since they are not playing any sports today.  However, their 3D images will all appear to me to be in some nice setting – probably down in the park by the West Lake.  I remember visiting in 2007 back when the pollution was pretty bad.  The sequestration nanobots have all that sorted now I hear.

My son works for Bloomberg where his team is developing software for the new FINGERTIP payment system – “see it, touch it, buy it!” as the ad goes [6].  He will work from home today as he does almost everyday. Their teacher is a nice, polite young man who took his teaching degree with Coursera for free.

His home town near Lijiang in Yunan province still retains its original flavour and practices agriculture in the traditional way.  However, thanks to internet commerce, the products can be shipped pretty quickly via Amazon’s new Farm Market to practically anywhere in the world by next day. [7] It was the profit from the farm that allowed Huang to take some time off from the family business to study.  However, he tells me, one day he will go back, perhaps when he marries, and raise his own children in the traditional way.  He feels that, despite the opportunity he now has to travel and work anywhere in the world, he wants his children to know where their food comes from.

As far as these children are concerned, the house system manages all the food ordering and storage.  They simply open the fridge and take what they need.  They realise by now that if they try to eat too much junk or drink too much cola, the fridge will send a message to Mum on her WhatsApp Earphone [8] and they’ll be for it when she comes home.

Later, when they are grown perhaps, he will go to the USA. I plan to tell the children that, when I was growing up in a similar small village in rural Kent (England) we could only talk to people at a distance by the telephone (and not everyone had one of those) or write them a letter.

Then I’ll have to explain about pens, paper and all of that (perhaps I won’t explain about inkwells and nibs, that’s too confusing).



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