“Wayforward Machine” provides a glimpse into the future of the web

Enlarge (credit: Sandro Katalina)

What could the future of the Internet look like? With the digital world of the 21st century becoming a pit of unwanted ads, tracking, paywalls, unsafe content, and legal threats, “Wayforward Machine” has a dystopian picture in mind. Behind the clickbaity name, Wayforward Machine is an attempt by the Internet Archive to preview the chaos the world wide web is about to become.

Internet Archive suspects what the Internet of 2046 looks like

The Wayback Machine from the nonprofit Internet Archive remains massively popular among netizens, journalists, and archivists interested in seeing how a webpage looked in the past, even when the page or entire websites are later removed. Users can simply browse to to save a webpage or browse to the copy of a webpage as it appeared at an earlier date. As such, the 617 billion-pages-strong Wayback Machine has become an indispensable digital asset since its inception in 1996.

Whereas Wayback Machine allows you to go back in time, this week’s Internet Archive has come up with a “Wayforward Machine” doing the opposite. Those visiting the Wayback Machine are now greeted with the following banner that claims to take you 25 years into the future.

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