Future of the Internet

Last month, there was a futuristic piece about the Internet on Red Herring, which had interesting points with regards to the relationships between virtual world/objects and the physicality of those.

the barriers between our bodies and the Internet will blur as will those between the real world and virtual reality.

Automakers, for instance, might conceivably post their parts catalogs in the virtual world of Second Life, a pixilated 3D online blend of MySpace, eBay, and renaissance fair crossed with a Star Trek convention. Second Life participants—who own the rights to whatever intellectual property they create online—will make money both by using the catalog to design their own cars in cyberspace and by selling their online designs back to the manufacturers, says Danish economist and tech entrepreneur Nikolaj Nyholm. (...) “Devices will no longer be spokes on the Internet—they will be the nodes themselves,” says Ray Kurzweil.

I am wondering how this would work with networked seams, perplexed users facing the non-interoperability of networks; how would this prediction work: "People will be able to talk to the Internet when searching for information or interacting with various devices—and it will respond". As a user experience researcher, I am wondering whether everybody has in mind how people are currently using the Internet, how one look for information with search engine. I know this is long-term research but there is a huge gap between this and how people use current networks. Of course today's kids will be able to handle that but what about the aging population?

The machine-to-machine communication is also expected to increase:

As so-called sensor networks evolve, there will be vastly more machines than people online. As it is, there are almost 10 billion embedded micro-controllers shipped every year. “This is the next networking frontier—following inexorably down from desktops, laptops, and palmtops, including cell phones,” says Bob Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet and founder of 3Com. This is what will make up much of the machine-to-machine traffic, he says.

The article also addresses other concerns like the telco competition, the internet infrastructure and mostly innovation in emerging technologies.