Friday, January 26, 2007

The Future of the Internet

Pew Internet & American Life Project published results of a survey to which 742 technology thinkers, stakeholders, and social analysts responded, giving their opinions on seven predictive scenarios related to the Internet.

The respondents’ answers reflect their personal views, and the scenarios they were asked to comment on were structured to inspire the illumination of issues. A brief paraphrase of those predictive scenarios follows:

A global, low-cost network thrives
By 2020, worldwide network interoperability will be perfected, allowing smooth data flow, authentication, and billing; mobile wireless communications will be available to anyone anywhere on the globe at an extremely low cost.

English displaces other languages
By 2020, the world will be leveled into one big political, social, and economic space; English will be so indispensable that it displaces some languages.

Autonomous technology is a problem
By 2020, human input will be cut by intelligent agents to such an extent technology beyond our control will generate dangers and dependencies that will not be recognized until it is impossible to reverse them.

Transparency builds a better world, even at the expense of privacy
Public and private lives will become increasingly transparent on a global level. Looking at the big picture, this will make the world a better place by 2020; the benefits will outweigh the costs.

Virtual reality is a drain for some
By 2020, virtual reality will allow more productivity from people in technologically based communities, than from the “real world,” but virtual reality will also lead to serious addiction problems for many.

The Internet opens worldwide access to success
In his book, The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman writes that the power of the Internet makes it possible for individuals to collaborate and compete globally. By 2020, current national boundaries will be completely blurred and be replaced by human organizations tied together by global networks.

Some Luddites/refusniks will commit terror acts
People left behind by accelerating technology will self-segregate from modern society. Some will live “off the grid” to seek peace, while others will violently protest technology.

To view the results of this study, and to read more about survey participants and methodology, download the report at:
http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Future_of_Internet_2006.pdf

DigitalNow is the proven leadership conference for associations. To learn more about DigitalNow 2007, please visit http://www.fusionproductions.com/digitalnow

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