It is hard predict the future. People have tried it in the past and while it may seem that some had succeeded while others failed, I would say that only a few tried enough to get it right sometimes while others simply gave up too soon to accept their inadequacy.
This one is based on my attempt to anticipate the future of internet and the products that would succeed on it. I believe the success of a technology is not dependent on the number of products that gets built using it but the number of core problems it is able to solve in our lives. For example, we can look at more than a 100-year-old automobile industry and compare it with the recent internet industry. Even after having a head start, automobile industry still has a lower market cap compared to the internet industry.
In 2013, during my early days at Facebook, I would often discuss the impact of Facebook on people’s lives compared to Google. If you are in one of these companies, you know what I mean. These types of discussions would often end up in heated arguments between friends working in these two companies. My good friends from Google would end the discussion with a simple question-“Would you be able to live a day without using any Google products?” This was a hard point to argue. Yes, I would not be able to live a day without Google’s products. Half of my codes are based on search results from google and I would not be able to go to a new place without using Maps. I could probably live a day without seeing updates from my friends on Facebook.
Sometimes, we need to move outside the problem and try to see the bigger picture. I did not know it back then, but now I know that in my previous argument I was limiting the scope of internet. I assumed that internet could only be used to look up information(Search). Whereas when I look at a kid working in a restaurant using Facebook to connect with their friends or a daily wage worker using messenger to chat with their loved ones, I realize how mobile has broadened the scope of internet. Today I would happily accept that I would not be able to live a day without Google products as much as without Facebook products. On a second thought, probably it would be harder to live without Facebook products (I do not need to search for information on a quiet weekend at home). And that kid in the restaurant or the daily wage worker would believably accept my second point more easily than the first one. I know that you are thinking that Google also has products for communication and Facebook has a search. My point here is to talk about the main philosophy that Google (organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful) and Facebook (make the world more open and connected) stand for (And yea, let us not start on Alphabet and the whole range of products it has to offer)
For so long we have experienced the internet to solve our hunger for knowledge and our need to be connected. If we think about where we are moving in future, I can’t help but accept the role that internet will play to help us communicate. It is already happening with the advent of so many messaging services and VOIP calling. In the long run it will increase so much that we would not be able to live a day without such services. Our necessity to communicate over the internet would eventually be more than our need to be connected or our want to learn more. Going even further, communication would become so intense that we would not only communicate with others using internet, we would also communicate with in-animate objects. Things would also communicate with each other. Sounds familiar? (Internet of Things). We would do it since it could be done very easily and this would give us a sense of security. A world where everyone would have groceries at our doorsteps since our refrigerators are empty or if we could open or close the doors of our houses from our offices would be more secure (Haters are going to hate it though!). Then, what’s next? Will we have a world where internet would solve our physical needs? Our need to touch and feel others or our need to satisfy our bodily needs (food or medicines)? Will internet be ever able solve World Hunger? Or will it create a reality where we would think that it is doing so?……………………………………….
I’m going to watch while it happens!
The way it has developed, I can not say with all certainty that The Internet has entered in our lives in the reverse order of Maslow’s Hierarchy, but I could imagine that it is true!