…is not the World Wide Web. The Net is the web’s direct decendent, but they are not the same thing. Our web is a clunky mess compared to the Net. No one in the 2050s would put up with the cobbled-together cludge that we deal with now.
It’s like this. Nowadays, to enter into the web you need a computer and an internet service provider. Then you need a browser, and all browsers are definitely not created equal. Have you ever, using Safari or Firefox, run into a web site you couldn’t load? Then, in order to keep up to date on the places you wish to visit on the web, you need any of several client software packages. To go to Apple’s iCloud, you need an Apple I.D. Same to go to Dropbox, to buy stuff on Amazon, to watch the latest and greatest on several of the video streaming sites. You need a particular I.D. to listen to music streamed to your computer, and an I.D. to enter your bank’s web presense. You have separate accounts and passwords for many of the places you go on the web. It’s like walking through a mall, but with most of the stores barricaded by armed, I.D.-scanning bouncers.
The Net of the 2050s isn’t like that. You have a Net I.D. and that’s about it unless you want to go further. You want to watch the latest episode of See It Now but you aren’t a regular subscriber? None of that stuff about setting up a user I.D., giving your email address, or deciding on a password. None of that ‘we’ll email you and you confirm’ stuff, either. You just ask your computer to go to See It Now and you watch. You are identified and billed for the program in the background. You can do this from your desktop computer, your tablet, your phone or your television. They’re all just computers and all computers come connected to the Net by default.
You don’t need an internet service provider because everyone who has a computer is automatically on the Net. The Net is ubiquitous. There are no dead zones. It’s all run by the government. No matter where you are on the face of the Earth, you get your Net via signal towers or by satelite. Much commerce is done via the Net, and it’s as transparent as watching that See It Now episode. We go to school on the Net. Patricia Tallman can attend school no matter where she is on Earth. She just opens her computer and clicks her school shortcut. Not only can she attend school from anywhere, she can do so at anytime, which is an advantage over the poor schmucks in Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, and there are no avatars involved. Even kids without Patricia’s means attend school on the Net. They may have to physically go to a local brick-and-mortor school to access the equipment necessary, but they will find no flesh-and-blood teachers at that school, only IT support personnel. Well, and babysitters, in the case of elementary school kids.
Everything on the Net is high definition, there is no lag time, and no one gets dropped or frozen. Text, voice or video is a matter of personal choice, not system capability.
You might say, “Hey, how is all that any different from today? We can do all that stuff.” And, yes, you’d be right. We can. If we work hard enough at it. If we pay enough money, if we buy equipment powerful enough, and if we don’t live in Outer Boondocks, Iowa. In the 2050s, on the Net, it just all works.
You want to stand in the middle of the western prairie and transfer thirty terabytes of photos and videos of flowers and grasshoppers to your bestest friend in Mozambique, a person-to-person transfer via phone? Do it. You don’t know how it’s done, by what technology or over what carrier, but it’s done, and in seconds. Okay, maybe a minute or so. And there’s no worry that it’ll cost you an arm and a leg. It won’t cost you anything, in either country.
With the Net, digital communications has finally become an invisible process.
Unless you’re a member of a misanthropic online hate network and you don’t want folks to know your evil plans. Then things get a little dense.
Use the Net in Conqueror’s Realm, my fun, futuristic social sci-fi novel on why Republicans suck and Democrats are morons.
Go. Read. Have fun.