There are some long-term projections for what the Internet will become, many done by science fiction writers. One of the earliest was that the Internet would become a 3D virtual environment, and that places like web pages, servers, and data would be virtualized 3D spaces where people could walk, run, and perhaps even fight. Other writers have said that the Internet would eventually become part of the real world, where each object becomes stuffed with data in its very molecules and atoms. The result is a sci-fi equivalent of a magical land which can be controlled by simply wishing.
But whether or not that happens in the far future, there are more realistic trends that one can see forming now. One of those is the switch from static devices to mobile devices for accessing the web. The Internet right now is best accessed through a computer - a good solid desktop with a thick cord connecting it to the wired communications grid. However, most mobile devices such as cellular phones have access to the Internet, and support for such devices is growing. Additionally the speeds that such devices can receive and send information is also growing, especially in Korea, the test bed for the WiBro standard.
Also, the disparate kinds of information that are being relayed with different standards, such as voice communication, video communication, and Internet file transfers, will be converged into one Ipbased communication medium. In Korea, once again, this is already happening, with the convergence of online service providers and broadcasting companies in the field of IPTV. One company can even now offer access to mobile phone services, digital TV broadcasts, and traditional wired Internet access. These converged companies are also looking to simplify the delivery of their content into one convenient IP-based format.
Also, even though there is currently a very healthy ecosystem of data flying around the Internet, it is still a little unorganized. The chaotic mess of information flying into one's eyes and ears at any one moment can be almost overwhelming, and needs more organization. Already now, social context metadata enriches the information that we already have online by making it more easily sortable and understandable. This metadata is currently generated by other users, and it requires a large community to really be effective. The Internet could become even more organized with automated creation of metadata by intelligent Internet bots that have enough sophistication to almost be called an artificial intelligence.
So the near future of the Internet may in fact be a mobile, converged, intelligently- sorted field of information more easily accessible and less daunting than before. Then, perhaps, our parents and grandparents will warm up to it more readily, and our children will outpace us faster.