I’ve seen the future – and it’s big. Very big.

I remember it well. It was 1994, and I was trying to explain the enormous potential of the internet to a sceptical friend. I could barely contain my enthusiasm. “It’s big, it’s global and it brings everything together,” I burbled. “Just imagine – shopping online, finding information, making bookings. Think what it’ll be like when everybody’s there. All the things you’ll be able to do.” My friend stared at me blankly. He looked back to my PC screen, and frowned. Then he delivered his verdict. “Personally,” he said, blinking uncomprehendingly at a web page, “I can’t see any practical application for it.” I often remind him of it. Wouldn’t you?

That was then. This is now.

5,000 days. That’s as long as the web’s been around as we know it. According to Kevin Kelly, that is. He’s publisher of the Whole Earth Review and executive editor at WIRED magazine. And I’ve just been watching his talk to last year’s TED convention about where the web’s been in the last 5,000 days and where it’s going in the next 5,000. It’s fascinating. He does look a little like an Amish grandpa – but the similarity ends there. He starts with what we thought the internet was going to be (‘TV, but better’ – we were wrong) and ends up with convergence into what he ominously calls The One. He reckons that by 2040 the total processing power of the web will exceed that of humanity. And long before then, we’ll become ‘co-dependent’ with technology. Visionary stuff indeed. Enjoy. Here’s the link: Kevin Kelly: the web’s next 5,000 days. (I’ve just sent the link to my friend. It’ll be 1994 all over again.)