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To mark the web's 'silver jubilee', the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) called for a global debate about how we develop the web and improve digital skills to make sure it continues to create opportunities over the next 25 years.

According to the IET, social media will transcend individual platforms such as Facebook or Twitter to bring together contacts across all platforms in order to create web technologies that allow people to communicate more often, easily and widely.

But people won't be the only ones to benefit from the web as computers will also be able to analyse it to find data from a range of sources. According to the IET, a faulty product or health scare in the future could be addressed by machines scanning the web.

Dr Mike Short CBE from the IET said: "In a recent US survey, 76 per cent of people believed the web has been a positive force for society. This is encouraging and, given that we have really only scratched the surface with what the web can do, the potential for it to further improve our daily lives is still considerable.

"But we now need an agreed vision for the web for the next decade - and on how we will address critical challenges such as security, capacity and capability. We must also do more to create the necessary digital skills to enable the Web to achieve its full potential. Currently, the UK is facing a well-documented shortage of these technological skills."

Infrastructure to provide high-speed broadband coverage is prohibitively expensive, thus, the IET predicted, availability in the future could be achieved by bringing together technical standards, embedding greater intelligence to allow individual devices or appliances to find connectivity on demand.

The wish-list for the Internet over the next years: 

  • A wider range of content in a greater number of languages;
  • Trustede-learning resources;
  • Greater inclusion for groups currently not engaging with the net, including developing countries and older generations;
  • Further innovation in web technologies;
  • Broader choice of e-commerce and payment options; and
  • Global governance and standards for data privacy and security.

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