Google’s Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, has made an interesting prediction that you might see as an optimistic view of our future — or a downright impossible view that belongs in Crazy Town. Schmidt believes that by 2020, everyone on this earth will be connected to the internet.
“For every person online, there are two who are not. By the end of the decade, everyone on Earth will be connected.Think about how great the internet is with 2B users. Now think about how amazing it will be when 5B come online in a decade. #NewDigitalAge.”
Those are the things Eric Schmidt wrote on his Google+ page, and whether you believe it or not, he might not actually be too far off in his prediction. According to the International Telecommunication Union, 38% of the world’s population uses the internet in 2013. This is up 3 percent from 35% last year. If the rate that number grows only increases year over year, we might see more than half of the world’s population using the internet in 2020. And that’s without the rapid advances that are sure to come before the decade’s end!
One of the bigger issues here is that there are currently many people in the world who are more concerned with things like shelter, food and health — and using the internet will remain a luxury rather than a necessity. Google+ user named Mary M. reminded Schmidt of that in a comment on his post asking, “You really believe that? What about the millions in Africa who can’t even get enough food to eat or the natives in South America who have no idea what technology is? Maybe you should rephrase to those in civilized areas or something like that…”
She has a point, of course. But fortunately for Mary M.’s concerns, there are apparently numerous projects that are being undertaken around the world to help get more and more people connected. CNN‘s report mentions that Google’s Geeks Without Frontiers has been around for a decade now, and they’ve been donating computers and technology to poor areas around the world. Samsung is also doing its part in this endeavor by supporting a project that is turning old shipping containers into solar-powered classrooms connected to the web in South Africa.
So will we reach a world where everyone uses the internet by 2020? Maybe, maybe not. But at the rate things are going, we’re gonna come close. Real close.