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The growth of technology has paved the way for social, economic, political and cultural integration of the nations across the globe. Internet has been the front leader in the technological revolution of the 20th and 21st century. Not only has Internet ensured global connectivity, it has led to the disappearance of borders between the nations. Globalization has truly realized its purpose owing to the growth of a number of platforms on Internet that have made this world into a global village. Though a lot has been done, Internet possesses a huge potential to develop further. However as every cloud has a silver lining, issues like cyber security, cyber threat, cyber terrorism, child pornography have begun to come up which are likely to shape the future of internet.

The growth of Internet began by the end of 20th century. This was followed by changes that completely altered the face of 21st century. Emergence of social media, Google and many other websites not only ensured greater connectivity in form of chatting or video calling, but also greater knowledge transfer across the globe. Better discussions among the scientific community and other inputs from across the globe brought changes in research and development in the other areas of physical sciences as well. Internet led to dissemination of information to masses, thereby ensuing greater transparency and accountability. Principles of good governance emerged and initiatives like e-governance were undertaken. Internet in a matter of few years has penetrated deeply into our lives. However problems like cyber surveillance, child pornography, cyber terrorism, incorrect information, propagandizing of terrorism etc. have been a blot to its success. Globally, over concentration of control by ICANN have been contested. To resolve such issues and discuss about the shape of Internet in future, an Internet governance forum has been formed.

The future of Internet lies in the changes it is like to go across technological, administrative, economic and structural dimensions. In terms of Technological changes, Internet is likely to further facilitate our lives by providing for greater and faster connectivity, Internet of Things i.e. connectivity with the other gadgets, rapid and faster dissemination of information, online government services and greater scientific development. Social media is likely to mainstream common people across social, political and economics dimension. However there has been a demand of greater for devolution of administrative roles and responsibilities. Currently ICANN plays a major role in managing Internet by allocating domain names and performing other administrative functions. This body is believed to have been predominately influenced by the west. The role of developing countries in managing and shaping the Internet has to be enhanced and greater voice be given to them in global decision-making. The problems of cyber surveillance and cyber terrorism have brought in the necessity for Internet to undergo certain structural changes. Countries are now looking to install servers in there own territorial boundaries to prevent any leakage of information. In India CERT-IN has taken the responsibility of Internet management, coordination and security.

Various social issues like poverty, hunger, environment, women empowerment, education etc. can be dealt strongly by Internet. Greater mobilization of social capital and provision of greater information from various state and non-state actors have empowered them to uproot the various social evils from society. Further Internet is likely to aid in development of space technology by amalgamating the technologies of various countries. However issues like addiction to Internet preventing effective growth have to appropriately addressed.

India has still a long way to go in terms of utilizing the full potential of Internet. India is also one of the major centers of IT industry that has added to its economic development. Greater transparency and accountability can be envisaged with major initiatives like the National E-governance program. Civil society can be mainstreamed into the governance to address the social problems faced by the country.

Internet is a boom as well as bane. Effective utilization can unleash a potential that is likely to alter the global paradigm in a big way. It can lead to greater coordination and greater participation of nation. Internet is likely to play an important role in the changing geo-political scenario by leveraging greater participation from the once considered 3rd world countries. Internet has become an indispensible part of the lives of most people, and a source of livelihood for many. Its growth is important to perpetuate the positive cycle it has started.

Rajat Agarwal

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