The Future of the Internet

The Pew Internet & American Life Project is an initiative of the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit "fact tank" that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the United States and the world. The project explores the impact of the Internet on children, families, communities, the work place, schools, health care and civic/political life.

In 2008 it conducted its third survey into how the Internet is changing our lifes. Some 578 leading Internet activists, experts and commentators responded in this survey to scenarios about the effect of the Internet on social, political, and economic life in the year 2020. An additional 618 stakeholders also participated in the study, for a total of 1 196 participants who shared their views.

Some of the main findings from the survey include:

  • The mobile device will be the primary connection tool to the Internet for most people in the world in 2020;
  • The transparency of people and organizations will increase, but that will not necessarily yield more personal integrity, social tolerance or forgiveness;
  • Voice recognition and touch user-interfaces with the Internet will be more prevalent and accepted by 2020;
  • Those working to enforce intellectual property law and copyright protection will remain in a continuing "arms race" with the "crackers" who will find ways to copy and share content without payment;
  • The divisions between personal time and work time and between physical and virtual reality will be further erased for everyone who is connected, and the results will be mixed in their impact on basic social relations;
  • Next-generation engineering of the network to improve the current Internet architecture is more likely than an effort to rebuild the architecture from scratch.

To read the full report, click here.

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