On the road to Internet 3.0
We are witnessing the beginning of a new technological era, which is going to impact us all drastically. Rooted in the 1960s, the Internet as we know it today has evolved a lot over time. Democratized in the 1990s towards the general public, its adoption has rapidly spread around the world, allowing users to exchange digital content. Let us retrace the different evolutions of the past, present and future of this great tool that is the Internet. For the better... and for the worse.
Map of the ARPANET network from 1969 to 1982.
A Fleming's Genesis
The history of the internet is worthy of a novel. Created by the US Army and its technology subsidiary DARPA in the 1960s under the name ARPANET to establish a secure and fast communication network, this technology quickly found its way outside the military circle. Finding, firstly, an interest among the American academic communities, and secondly, among computer and new technology enthusiasts. As enthusiasm grew and technology developed, it was common in the 1990s for the Internet to arrive in businesses and homes. Here begins the era of Internet 1.0, putting an end to the reign of the minitel and dealing a heavy blow to the fax machine. This version was improved for a decade. It connected humans, making it possible for anyone with a computer, a 56K modem and an hourly subscription to send a message and share information, view data and interact. Evolving at its own pace, the actors in the Internet field have not lacked inventiveness and imagination, gradually transforming the much-loved tool. The public is conquered and new vocations are born, increasing the creative potential and the number of daily users.
The Internet of yesterday and today, Internet 2.0
Google, Youtube, Amazon, Instagram or the old Facebook, MySpace, are all part of this period of Internet 2.0, starting from the years 2000 to today. The tool has become more participatory and popular than ever, becoming a must-have product for households. Its application does not stop at computing, offering diverse perspectives on different technological supports. Smartphones, security and surveillance systems or the world of finance and its stock exchanges, use the Internet and thus benefit from the efficiency generated. This period has also brought many artistic or simply ephemeral personalities to the forefront. The human species is adapting and exploring the limits of this digital universe. We find there the birth of the dark web and its sulphurous contents, but also discussion forums, without limits, testing the freedom of expression. But the global use of this tool remains positive, as people seek to emancipate themselves through the opportunity for progress it represents. Streaming takes a great part of this evolution, with new generations of consumers oriented towards this kind of support. Entertainment and information dominate, to a large extent, as a use of the Internet. Although it has weathered the crisis caused by the Internet bubble in the 2000s, the computer network has matured and the services on offer are no less interesting. We will also notice an important change in the dominant media on the airwaves. The latter offer free streaming services, live or rebroadcast, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In another sector of activity, the world of cinema is caught off guard by the increase in specialised platforms. Producers and directors, convinced by the two broadcasting media, are increasingly inviting themselves directly to the small screen.
Tomorrow's Internet, the 3.0 evolution
We are, at present, living the premises. This new version of the Internet will be the value-added Internet. All areas of life will be affected in the next evolution. For example: the abolition of trusted third parties, such as the notary's office or financial transfers. Authentication and secure storage of administrative documents, allowing states, companies and individuals, significant cost reductions. This forgery-proof and revolutionary process is called the blockchain. Thanks to it, two people can carry out a transaction or draw up a document, without having to rely on a trusted third party. Authenticated and added to the blockchain in the form of a cryptographic message, called a "block". With Internet 3.0, the user directly gives value to the digital world. Thus, crypto currencies are one of the many applications that blockchain technology can offer. For their part, states do not want to let private companies like FaceBook, with its Libra, establish themselves so easily, citing dangers that could lead to currency crises. At the end of October 2019, the ECB announced the creation of a digital currency, the "crypto euro". This project, which will come into being around 2030, will be a stable wedge with no speculative value, unlike Bitcoin and its colleagues. This decision represents a major step forward in terms of acceptance of the technology, as everyone sees its benefits. Above all, it will mark the end of cash. The future of the economy and finance looks much healthier than in the past. It will be a realistic and self-sustaining financial ecosystem, separating itself from the middlemen. Since this year, some banks are already offering the possibility of receiving tokens (tokens), in the form of a corporate share, rewarding clients participating in various projects financed. The principle of tokenisation will be able to be transposed to multiple fields (artistic, entertainment, private sphere...), which will give most of the added value. Finally, the other major development of this Internet 3.0, over the next ten years, is the deployment of 14,000 satellites orbiting in constellation 550km from Earth, by the aerospace company SpaceX. Its CEO, Elon Musk, is determined to bring Internet by satellite for all with his Starlink project, wherever you are on the planet, during this 21st century. This system will put an end to the dominance of the submarine cable network and will connect people, no longer through fibreglass, but through space. Technologically speaking, the field of the possible is open, infinite. Not to mention the priceless value of user data, offering companies the opportunity to better target their advertising campaigns.
In the end, no one knows what the future of this wonderful tool will really be made of, but one thing is certain. It will be more and more participative and will remain, despite its next updates, a wonderful tool and the major technological revolution of the beginning of this century.
Simulation of the 14000 Starlink satellites in low orbit (SpaceX image).
William Mahe (WM), books and news author, passionate about the Universe, Science and technologies, university graduate from the Paris - Meudon Observatory in Astronomy and Celestial Mechanic. President of the SPETspace STEAM Society and Publishing Director of the SPETspace News. He is also a Harley Davidson and Honda motorcycles lover.