Is there anything you don’t use the Internet for?

Write down all the tasks, jobs or situations in which you would not use the Internet. Pore over it. Scrutinize it. Do you think you’ll be doing half those things on the Internet in 10 years?

The fact is the Internet is taking control of some surprising elements of our lives. Sure, there are areas where the Internet has not yet reached its ever-present tendrils, but can you imagine looking for an apartment without the Internet? Picking out a Valentine’s Day restaurant? Even looking at homes is an online activity. The days of rifling through newspapers, circling prospective listings in the classifieds section and calling around town to set up appointments have ended. Now, we find everything from apartments to commercial rental properties on the vast expanse of the digital ether.

As we begin to depend more on the Internet, it’s increasingly important to examine the way it affects our daily lives. What’s interesting is that alchemizing power of the Internet is not much different now than it was thirteen years ago when it was still called the “inter-net.” Consider this excerpt from a conference held at Harvard Design School in 1999:

This conference flows from the premise that information technology and more specifically, Internet technology are rapidly and radically transforming the character of life and work. The changes driven by the Internet will have an enormous impact on the conduct of every aspect of our society business, government, education, and private life. The impact on the design and construction industry will be no less dramatic. It is imperative, therefore, that industry leaders prepare themselves to evaluate opportunities and challenges they will face.

The perspective has changed – we are now living in that dramatic world of opportunity – but the power of the Internet to continue to change remains undiminished. In fact, it may have been given more power.

Current advancements will propel our ideas of the future – a future whose image has been culled from the pages of science-fiction novels and movie scenes. That future, it seems, is perennially on that horizon. The recent boom in mobile Internet, cloud computing and shared information is having a transformative effect on the deepest levels of our society.

The Internet. The infrastructure is still being built, but the dream is in place. Its execution is certain. Our continued evolution has grown into a synthesis with that of the Internet. We may not reach into the nightmare visions of a war between humanity and machines, but at this point, it is impossible to argue that further progress can occur without continual creation.

We are tied to it, and it is tied to us.