Supposedly so said Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, in Switzerland this month.
It’s not what you think, of course. The Internet isn’t going away. It’s not being retired. Schmidt’s point is that it will be so ubiquitous that we will quit thinking of it as “The Internet.”
I think all of us can see that day coming. I’m not sure many of us that have been adults since the mass acceptance of “The Internet” will see that day, though.
That’s because we have reference points and can recognize how much of a change “The Internet” has presented and that distinction isn’t really erasable in our memories or our view. “The Internet” isn’t just technology for those generations, but a continuing flood of change that is technology and communications based regardless of the hardware required and what it does.
My son is 14. I can see a day in the workforce where adults of his generation will make fun of older generations still in the workplace for using the term “The Internet.” That’s because the term will be a generational marker, the difference between people who see it as something separate, and those who see it as the way things are, just like cars and indoor plumbing and refrigerators.
But until those older generations completely disappear, I do not see the term “The Internet” disappearing. It is an accepted point of understanding for those people on how this all works. It doesn’t matter if those in the technology field don’t agree with the understanding – in the marketplace of terminology, largest numbers of acceptance wins until they no longer have the largest numbers.
So… this kind of talk is premature. Schmidt most likely will not be in the workplace by the time this prediction comes true.