At Recode's annual Code Conference, one tech industry leader after another took the stage this week to offer their insights and predictions for the future of our connected world.
The analyst and venture capitalist Mary Meeker, famous for her predictions, said we're moving in an emoji-filled future. Meeker forecast an increasing reliance on images and a deemphasis on text in online communications, while other insiders like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos outlined the ways tech has influenced and will continue to influence society.
These changes come at a time when the Internet itself has been experiencing a bit of a downturn. After several decades of constant change and innovation, the way we communicate is changing, explains NewYorker.com editor Nicholas Thompson.
"Well, it's a downturn in growth. The Internet is not growing as fast as it was. And what's really happening is, there's a huge shift from text to video. And that's happening for a number of reasons. In the early days, when bandwidth was slow and storage was limited, text was the most efficient way to communicate," Thompson told "CBS This Morning" on Friday. "Now that we have massive bandwidth with great connections, people love images and it turns out all the major tech companies have noticed that people engage with and interact with images more than they do with text. So there's a massive, massive, massive shift to the visual web right now."
Thompson said that Meeker made a key point -- the Internet has not stopped growing completely. She noted that India and parts of Africa are exhibiting huge surges in Internet use.
With this increased globalization of the Internet, the focus also shifts to how it is being used. Social media has undeniably been hugely influential, but the big-name, established social sites and apps are giving way to newer, fresher networks.
For instance, Bloomberg reported that Snapchat has now surpassed Twitter in popularity, with a reported 150 million daily visitors.
"Twitter is terrified. I mean, they're not terrified about Snapchat passing them -- they're terrified that they're not adding users. There's corporate turmoil at Twitter, it's hard to add people," Thompson said. "That company is in a lot of trouble. It's a very important company, it's a company with a terrific 10-year history. But the fact that Snapchat has passed it -- is a very bad indication."
Similarly, Snapchat has been moving in on Facebook, with 10 billion daily video views compared to Facebook's 8 billion. Another ace in Snapchat's hole is the fact that Snapchat is dominant among young, 13- to 17-year-old users.
"That's a really good sign for Snapchat and a very disconcerting one for everybody else," Thompson said, going on to mention how smart it was of Snapchat to maintain autonomy and turn down Facebook's $3 billion offer back in 2013.
With all of this shift in how we communicate, one of the big questions is this: What about verbal communication? Will people still call each other and actually talk?
"There's a great slide in Mary Meeker's presentation, which basically shows that young people do not talk on the phone," Thompson said. "In the future, we will talk to our computers and we will type to each other. There's a massive, massive change."