CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, in Davos in 2007. Image via Flickr, World Economic Forum

According to Google Chief Eric Schmidt the internet as we know it today is on its way out. Eimear Reilly reports.

The World Economic Forum held annually in Davos, Switzerland is one of the biggest gatherings of world leaders and billionaires. The forum is not generally associated with headline grabbing stories but is seen largely as an elite networking event.

This year a panel that included Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg, Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella discussed the future of the internet. Google’s chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt raised many eyebrows with his prediction for the end of the internet as we now know it when asked about his vision for the future.

I will answer very simply that the internet will disappear.

In Schmidt’s eyes he envisions a world where the internet is a seamless part of everyday. His point is a valid and interesting one because currently the internet as a technology is in its infancy. In the same way that electricity is an intrinsic part of the modern daily life, the internet too will become an essential part of our day. The world is beginning to become connected to mobile technology — during a 9-month period from January to September in 2014, China’s total mobile phone shipments were 329 million units.

The advent of the Internet of Things and sensors heralds the beginning of a dynamic home.As Schmidt points out, IP addresses will become obsolete as more and more devices become connected. Car companies too are announcing future models which operate as mini computers. “There will be so many IP addresses…so many devices, sensors, things that you are wearing, things that you are interacting with that you won’t even sense it,” explained Schmidt.

During the panel Schmidt also spoke about the advances in technology in the past and the digitalisation of the world’s knowledge which he believes will make humans smarter in the future with the aid of machine intelligence. Schmidt admitted that as technology becomes more advanced it is the least well educated of the world’s population who will suffer. He also alluded to the fact that technology will eradicate many jobs in the future but dismissed the notion that we will all lose our jobs to artificial intelligence. “It is the same thing that happened when people stopped farming and started using tractors, they find new skills and new services”.