Pew Internet and American Life Project invited 742 technology thinkers and stakeholders to assess the future social, political and economic impact of internet by 2020.
Here are interesting tidbits from the survey (reproduced from the report as-is)
- Emergence of Global Network – A majority of respondents agreed with a scenario which posited that a global, low-cost network will be thriving in 2020 and will be available to most people around the world at low cost. And they agreed that a tech-abetted “flattening” of the world will open up opportunities for success for many people who will compete globally.
- Human control over technology: Most respondents said they think humans will remain in charge of technology between now and 2020. However some fear that technological progress will eventually create machines and processes that move beyond human control. Others said they fear that the leaders who exercise control of the technology might use this power inappropriately.
- Transparency vs. privacy: There is a widespread expectation that people will wittingly or unwittingly disclose more about themselves, gaining some benefits in the process even as they lose some privacy.
- Luddites, technological “refuseniks,” and violence: Most respondents agreed that there will people who will remain unconnected to the network because of their economic circumstances and others who think a class of technology refuseniks will emerge by 2020.
- Compelling or “addictive” virtual worlds: Many respondents agreed with the notion that those who are connected online will devote more time to sophisticated,compelling, networked, synthetic worlds by 2020.
- The fate of language online: Many respondents said they accept the idea that English will be the world’s lingua franca for cross-cultural communications in the next few decades. But notable numbers maintained English will not overwhelm other languages and, indeed, Mandarin and other languages will expand their influence online.
- Investment priorities: Asked what their priority would be for future investments of time and money in networking, 78% of the respondents identified two goals for the world’s policy makers and the technology industry to pursue: building network capacity and spreading knowledge about technology to help people of all nations.