The 2015 documentary, the “Deep Web” by Alex Winter, narrated by Keanu Reeves, introduced viewers to the deep web. The deep web is an area of the internet unreachable by search engines, and is estimated to account for more than 90 percent of the entire internet. While it sounds nefarious, proponents of the deep web such as Wired journalist Andy Greenberg simply want a place where they can exchange ideas, goods and services without concern of surveillance. For users who are searching for more anonymity, the “the dark web“, is host to encrypted sites, virtual dark alleys and arguably home to some of the worst humanity has to offer.
As for the rest of us? Well, we’re known as “surface surfers”. We openly skim the visible, indexed and “safe”, part of the net. (If you’re interested, make sure to checkout the documentary below!)
Despite some of the more sinister digital back alley’s and shadowy figures, the internet truly is an amazing place, packed with places to explore, endless things to learn and items to purchase. With the internet, comes a newfound freedom, a freedom we’ve never known before. For most of modern human history we’ve had to remain content with simply watching worlds unfold before us on stages, film and television screens. However, with the internet, all that has changed. With a simple click of a mouse, we can now find ourselves in some dust, dirty post apocalyptic land, or living in a futuristic city, a virtual nomad making our way through one of the thousands of virtual worlds, with access to more information than we could process in a thousand lifetimes. We are no longer simple observers of a story but participants in an active, varied landscape of an increasingly connected world.
So for all of the humanitarian efforts, buzzfeed articles, spam, cat videos and dark web content…
Is the internet making the world a better place or is something more sinister happening behind the scenes?
Studies such as those by Jarrod Grant of the Atlanta University Center, have found that the advent of the internet is correlated with an increase in social activism, social engagement, as well as benefiting global charities. Even those online petitions we come across occasionally on our Facebook news feed, have actually resulted in making vital, positive changes in society.
Another (fairly recent) force influencing the net is gaming. Decades ago, gamers huddled around their small computer screens to engage in online text games called MUD’s. Today, online gamers have their pick of mobile gaming, massive multiplayer online role playing games, or one of the many flash, mobile or the ever popular Zynga Facebook games. not to mention the growing eSports scene! The world of E-sports feature games such as League of Legends, Dota, Counterstrike and MANY more just on the horizon. Here, game play is organized as a verified competition involving professional players, with winners awarded titles along with massive cash prizes. eSports is growing to such proportions, that by 2019 eSports will have attracted over 429 million fans worldwide.
As you can see, the internet of 2018 is a vast ocean teaming with billions of users with different intent, from average users to experienced hackers searching for sovereignty. No matter what type of user you are, it is agreed that the internet grants individuals from all across the globe, the ability to exchange ideas, images, and texts. At no other time in our human history has an individual from one continent been able to converse with an individual in another, and chat in real time. But it does not stop there. All users must be made aware that they have a responsibility to ensure that our internet remains a free and open experience for all.
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The internet itself is under a constant state of evolution. This means that everything from content creation, online retail strategies, to gaming is in a constant state of re-invention. According to most data scientists, AI is the future of the internet. Mary Meeker, a renound though leader on the future of the internet, believes that AI directed voice control will completely phase out the keyboard, while with regards to imagery Ben Silbermann, the CEO of Pinterest believes that in the future, the AI will substitute images for keywords. When it comes to intelligent adaptive design, AI will respond to the users personal taste and content, creating a unique, one of a kind online surfing experience.