The next 5,000 days of the WWW (Kevin Kelly)

I found this to be a very interesting video on the future of the web from Kevin Kelly on
Kevin is a publisher, an editor at Wired Magazine and a writer. He is known for his fresh perspectives on technology and its consequences.

For those too busy to watch and listen here is my quick summary.
Kevin begins by throwing up some astounding numbers and statistics about the web that even he admits are too large for us to comprehend. He estimates that now the web matches the processing power and activity of one human brain, but by 2030 it will match six billion human brains (it is doubling every two years) and it will exceed humanity’s processing power by 2040.
He postulates three major changes for the future web or its next 5,000 days:

  1. embodiment,
  2. re-structuring, and
  3. co-dependency.


All will be connected through the web and become web-based. Software and phones are already moving to be web-based and soon the same thing will happen for items (eg. “chips with heels and wheels”). There will soon be one media platform and media will be “free” in the sense of restrictions on its use (not necessarily cost). Humans will become extensions of the machine or the one web platform.


He refers to the emergence of the semantic web. The web began with people sharing information on their web pages; then they linked to other web pages; and now we are linking to open data and ideas everywhere. So we will see more of XML; RSS; APIs; RDF; and OWL . All of this will assist in the linking of data from everywhere. Data must be open for it to be shared. It will become an Internet of “things” (physical things).


Here he refers to the total personalisation of the web IF your data is transparent. Google could serve as much of your own memory and Google is moving towards AI. WE are the web and become one “machine”.

Kevin says the differences with the web will be that it is:

  • smarter (anticipating more needs);
  • personalised; and
  • ubiquitous (for all devices become portals into it.

He refers to the emergence of ONE large organisation in unity with itself: ONE machine; the web is the operating system; all screens point to ONE; to share is to gain; let ONE read it; and ONE is us.

Even if we don’t agree with everything he has to say I think there are a number of very important and strong messages in this talk.


  1. annieb

    Mal,Looks like you are also a fan of TED. I think this is interesting, but the comments are also illuminating for their different perspectives.

  2. Mal Booth

    Yes, the video has been up for a while (so much to read & watch, so little time!), so there is quite a trail of different views. I also put this video up on a Ning network at work and different folks got different stuff out of it too. A couple of people seemed to think his key point was on the value of un-copyable things. Others picked up on the cost of personalisation being transparency in the future. (I can hear all the doomsayers from IT already.)

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