The internet has undergone lots of changes from its beginnings as ARPANET up to today, however the underlying purpose has remained constant: the efficient transfer of information. Since its inception, the internet has been used for an innumerable purposes. It has, more than just about any invention in the history of mankind, changed the course of history in the way information is shared. It has allowed for the creation of new medications, huge leaps in technology, and a marketplace that is entirely virtual.
All of these new options have wrought large changes within society and the lifestyle of all touched by modern society. The internet has allowed for instant connectivity with a world full of people, so long as they too are connected. This has changed the way we communicate from time consuming but intimate human interaction interactions to short texts between devices. The internet also free access to more information than could be consumed in a thousand lifetimes. This has changed the face of education within the past couple years. Within many high schools and universities, much of the coursework is done online or requires much online research to be done in order to complete the class. Some like Khan Academy and Coursera have taken this new trend in education to the next level by moving the learning space entirely online. With ability this revolutionary, education is not the only field that has been reshaped. The business world has seen remarkable changes in the last couple years. An entirely new marketplace exists now that did not exist 40 years ago, and it is growing at phenomenal rates. Never before in the history of mankind have individuals been able to run a multi million dollar business without ever leaving their home. The increase in machine intelligence has also allowed for devices to perform menial tasks autonomously and on a large scale. This allows for a better user experience in the case of marketing and consumer use, and has allowed researchers to reach further than ever before due to the increase in computing power and ability to collaborate with others within the same field.
The internet is not without its flaws, however; the chief of which is security. While the internet allows for your computer to access other computers, it also allows other computers to access yours. Security attacks take many forms. In some cases, entire computer systems can be hacked and shut down; other times critical information like credit card numbers can be stolen. The most common security breach is actually performed by the government and large corporations every day in the form of big data collection. Companies and the government can, with relative accuracy, predict how you might react based on your purchasing and site viewing history. It is frightening the sheer amount of data that you have unwillingly submitted to governing agencies and third parties by using the internet. There are applications such as the Tor Browser that can reduce the risk that your information will be saved, but no device is 100% secure. If someone really wants to hack someone else and has the skills to do so, there is not much the defender can do. That being said, simple practices such as: using different passwords and not giving your information to sketchy third party services significantly reduce the likelihood of security breaches.
Like anything, the internet of things is a double edged sword. The potential for good, however, far outweighs the threat of bad and it is the responsibility of the users to make sure it stays safe for all to use.