Imagining the Internet Project

  Responses in reaction to the following question were assembled from a select group of 1,286 Internet stakeholders in the fall 2004 Pew Internet & American Life Predictions Survey. Some respondents chose to answer to this question; some did not. Some chose to indentify themselves with their answer; some did not. We share some - not all - of the responses here. Workplaces of respondents whose reactions are listed below are attributed here only for the purpose of indicating a level of internet expertise; the statements reflect personal viewpoints and do not represent their companies', universities' or government agencies' policies or positions. Some answers have been edited in order to share more respondents' replies. Below is a selection of the many carefully considered responses to the following question.
 
description

Looking to the future
What are you anxious to see happen? What is your dream application, or where would you hope to see the most path-breaking developments in the next decade?


I would like to see secure online voting, available to all. I'm anxious for 3G (or more) mobile broadband internet access and telemedicine, especially in application to public health throughout the world. - Charlie Firestone, The Aspen Institute (this organization works to promote non-partisan inquiry)

I am most anxious to see the keepers of our intellectual property laws admit that they are failing and restructure them in a smarter way. I am most anxious for a seamless open-source, online computer, meaning I buy something at an electronics store that when I plug it into the net updates itself completely and keeps itself up to date in terms of operating system, email and web clients all with open-source apps. - Alexander Rose, executive director, The Long Now Foundation (this organization works to promote long-term thinking)

I want to have TiVo apply to all aspects of my life! - Jonathan Band, partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP (law firm)

I am very interested in - but very uncertain about - the future of virtual or synthetic worlds. It would be exciting if they were to become an important social landscape, a place where people went to school, held social events, and the like. Increasingly virtual worlds are the only corners of life left where people are free to create and build as they like, without worrying about fire codes and licenses. They are a kind of utopia in that respect, and I hope they case a long shadow. - Fred Hapgood, Output Ltd.

Ways of seeing my groups (social network) that aren't boneheaded stupid and that don't require me to explicitly reconstitute them. A big deal: Integration of virtual networks with geography-based neighborhoods. This will be enabled by the integration of GIS. - David Weinberger, Evident Marketing Inc.

Convergence isn't a device but digital content and data finding its path to the consumer in whatever way they want to receive it. - Mike Kelly, America Online

I would like to see the ability to transmit very, very high-definition "virtual reality" over the internet so that users could "experience" remote worlds, whether they be a trip up the Amazon, or to New Zealand, or to a completely imaginary world created by an artist. - Gary Bachula, Internet2

Software that is trustworthy, dependable, reliable, usable, and safe and contains enough self-diagnostics that users can ask it what is the matter. - Peter Denning, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif., columnist for Communications of the ACM

I am anxious to see art and design enter into our devices, interfaces and applications. The tools we use should be as beautiful as the art objects in museums of modern art. - Christine Geith, Michigan State University

Dream application - project collaboration ability - to streamline the work of teams online in real time, having access to all of the knowledge contained within, assistance with planning and implementation, without fragmentation across multiple disparate applications. In health care, advanced medical vocabulary and contextual mapping that provide patients with information that is relevant to their care and personal situation, empowering them to make the best health care decision at any moment. - Ted Eytan, MD, Group Health Cooperative

The dream application of the internet is actually integration of several self contained applications including VOIP, portable access, workgroup collaboration, GPS and broadband video so that an individual can use a portable device to instantly access whatever or whomever they need. - Bill Eager, internet expert

I want to see online newspapers (and their partners) create virtual representations of real neighborhoods, to help people lead more productive, sociable, charitable, safer, happier lives. I want to see traditional journalistic values prosper and spread on the Internet, but that requires newspapers to adapt to the new medium much faster than they've done so far. - Dan Froomkin, washingtonpost.com/niemanwatchdog.com

I'm anxious about surveillance and lack of privacy. I'm also anxious about the average user's lack of understanding regarding the nuances of their use (e.g. the extent to which companies follow users' actions, etc.). I hope we can regain email by figuring out ways to fight spam. Again, an important aspect is educating users about the system and how not to compromise their and others' personal information online. - Eszter Hargittai, Northwestern University

In media, we need agreement on content protection standards that strongly support both protection and portability. At Gartner, we call this "perfectly portable content." The technology is almost there, but we lack the will to use it to package new forms of content with new business models. - James Brancheau, VP, GartnerG2

What has to happen for people to feel they have participated in a process in a meaningful way? How can a million people participate in something and each feel they made a contribution - a difference. What role could many-to-many play in world peace? - Timothy L. Hansen, MoveOn.org

I hate to admit it, but I don't really have a dream application! I have been involved with computers since 1952 when I wrote my first program for Whirlwind I. I am continually in awe of what is coming along. - Bill Eccles, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Ubiquitous wifi coverage is a must. Convergence of wifi, home Internet service, VoIP, phone, and cell service - necessary in terms of pricing and service integration. - Alexandra Samuel, Harvard University/Cairns Project (New York Law School)

My "most-wanted" applications: 1. Home-fabrication equipment. I want to be able to download the latest consumer device and "print" it at home. 2. Lifelogging. Complete records of our lives. "Reality TV" that allows you to re-experience others' experiences, either in real time or delayed. 3. Networked based AI: Technologies that find useful patterns in the web at large and leverage these to provide for interesting connections between people and ideas. 4. An increase in freely available media, through initiatives like the Creative Commons. I think this is particularly important when it comes to scientific literature. - A. Halavais, State University of New York at Buffalo

I would love to see true convergence - getting rid of all the many devices and their adapters to charge them up - and shift our technological innovation away from helping us to accomplish the obvious with respect to ICT and instead have it targeted at some of our most persistent problems - homelessness, HIV/AIDS in the developing world, a world free of violence. I think the arrival of the Internet has meant a fun and creative free for all as we zoomed in to figure out all the fun and useful things we could do. In ten years we will have figured that out - so I hope all that same energy will get targeted to make this world a better place. - Liz Rykert, Meta Strategies Inc., Toronto,Canada

The internet is a tool, like a car or a refrigerator. Beyond the most rudimentary idea of how computers and the internet work, the average person should not be expected to learn an entire new language or learn to deal with pervasive crashes and incomprehensible error messages ... My dream situation - as opposed to application - will occur when beta testing routinely requires that any intelligent adult be able to use the product or application competently without a geek in the family or a lengthy interaction with tech support. - Lois Ambash, Metaforix Inc.

A vast improvement in the ability to filter out noise and focus on useful information. We need applications which reduce the quantity of information delivered to us while increasing its value and relevance. Such information filters must be permeable enough to allow through a user-definable level of divergent views, jarring notes and out-of-left-field ideas and news. - Rose Vines, freelance tech writer, Australian PC User, the Sydney Morning Herald

My dream application would be a high-quality news sources for local communities, created by the people in those communities. - Peter Levine, University of Maryland

Virtual reality via direct access to the brain. (Seeing without the use of your eyes, for example.) - Jeffrey Boase, University of Toronto/Harvard

I would like to see the internet become more customized, and I don't mean that we choose all of our preferences; rather, the technology would be "smart" enough to recognize our needs and wants and profiles and display information relative to that. Almost like a "Minority Report"-like thing (e.g. the billboards that recognize you and say "you bought these pants yesterday..."), but perhaps not that advanced ? the ability to interact with information physically and spatially with our hands on large screens and surfaces. - Donna Tedesco, Fidelity Investments

Library resources. I'd like to see the creation of a legitimate academic library with vast resources available on line. I'd like to see the rare scholarly journals as well as the common ones come on line. I'd like to see communities of commentators form around works of literature, art and scholarship in the kind of stable and secure environment that libraries provide. By libraries I mean non-profit institutions that have stable funding for decades on end in the manner of major university and state libraries in many parts of the world. I also mean institutions run by professionals who filter the outpouring of "published" material according to accepted standards, so that users have a reasonable assurance that what they are getting is serious and creditable work. - Stanley Chodorow, University of California at San Diego/Council on Library and Information Resources

I would like to see more people have access to the internet, particularly in the under-developed countries. Enhanced information access is the route to empowerment. I think it's important to come up with a SPAM solution. If not, Spam traffic is going to kill the internet. I would like to see a major funding project put in place that would allow anyone to access any publication in the Library of Congress ? the actual contents, including illustrations. - Robert Lunn, FocalPoint analytics

I would like to see the rise of a consensus that the nation, indeed, mankind has an interest in the free, unimpeded growth of this means of human interaction. This means that both the not-for-profit sector and the for-profit sector need to put this goal at the top of their list of priorities and do nothing that will impede it. (I am proposing here the Internet in numerous instances will propagate more swiftly guided and wielded by those to whom profit is the motivator but that they will need to curb their urge to restrict or co-opt by legal or technical means the growth of the overall network - that this is something which is in the long-term interest even of those who hope to profit.) - William B. Pickett, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

I am hoping that Tim Berners-Lee is ultimately successful in developing a semantic Web that understands that connections between disparate data in ways that really can make the flow of information as crucial a part of people's everyday experience as remembering to grab the car keys and wallet. If he pulls off his dream, the Internet will become a kind of universal thinking machine, and that prospect is terrific. - Kevin Featherly, news editor, Healthcare Informatics

Java-enabled people. By this I mean devices implanted in our bodies that interact with other devices around us; in general, a networked world, in which most devices are connected to the internet. - Michael Wollowski, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Presence. The ability to be elsewhere. Some forms of virtual reality - or at least distance-connectivity; not just the avatars and hybrids, but deeper, richer connections with old friends or new contacts - people-based not just machine-generated. Education is high priority. Not just learning, but also just-in-time knowledge. Ability to find new ideas and see them, which then extends to all kinds of applications in health/medicine, business, science, job performance. - Gary Arlen, Arlen Communications

I am anxious for all of the security concerns related to the internet to be completely eliminated. I would like to see the cost of high-speed access fall considerably. I would like to see the resolution of security concerns and cheap bandwidth; see more widespread use of personal servers and all of the advantages that that would offer to small businesses, households and institutions such as schools. The advent of cheap, ubiquitous, high-bandwidth wireless will magnify the impact of the internet. - Ezra Miller, Ibex Consulting, Ottawa, Canada

Communication via entrance to a virtual-reality-style meta-verse. - Ben Fineman, Internet2

I hope to see as soon as possible that everyone makes a videocall as easy as picking up the phone now. I think the marriage of media, entertainment and education that are delivered through the network on the device of your choice will further develop people (and therefore mankind) everywhere in the world, not just the developed countries. The now underdeveloped countries will skip generations of network and IT technology and quickly catch up (see the growth of wireless networks in Africa and India) giving them at least equal chances. - Egon Verharen, innovation manager, SURFnet (Dutch National Education & Research Network)

First I would hope that the commercialization of the net will taper off, though I am not so naive as to believe that this will actually happen. I would like to see the Internet being used more to affect positive change particularly in terms of sustained development and conflict resolution, particularly in the Middle East, and particularly in the framework of the Israeli Palestinian conflict. I feel that the potential is there but it has not been harnessed as of yet. - Michael Dahan, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

Greater reliance and adherence to standards allows more people easier and more efficient methods to publish and share information and experiences with each other. Commercialization of the Internet slows so that individuals and social concerns are able to express their needs and interests without being forced to ''consume'' Internet resources as television and radio has increasingly done. - Roger Seip, EDS

My dream is that the American population can be more educated information consumers, more discriminating about what they hear and believe, and will take personal control of their lives and choices with less control by centralized media, entertainment, commerce or government. - Dan Ness, MetaFacts

I am anxious to see a change in copyright law for all concerned. My dream application would be something that creates access to all media, library like, regardless of format. Everyone has access; everyone gets paid. It is in the public interest to move this way. I think open systems are a good thing. There should be alternatives. - Sam Punnett, FAD Research

Fully immersive, 3D, alternate reality - portable. A completely separate and completely virtual world, equally accessible wherever or whenever you are. It would give a mental ''face'' to the Internet that would allow people to get a visceral handle on it. Right now, the average Joe's vision of the Internet is like the blind men and the elephant - people think that what they see and use every day is the whole thing. - Mike O'Brien, The Aerospace Corporation

I am anxious to see a system that will help evolve our democracy. I have been very hopeful about the way the internet has given a two way form of communication for citizens with the government. However, we need to trust the information and infrastructure more. As far as my dream application- the universal scheduler to help truly make our lives easier. I also hope to see people set boundaries with technology so that there are times when we are ''off.'' - Tiffany Shlain, founder, The Webby Awards

I'd like to see a greater voice for the unheard, more 'channels' devoted to alternative ideas, and a greater commitment to equitable distribution of the skills and infrastructure required to fully participate in the Internet-enabled world of the 21st century. - Laura Breeden, Education Development Center

Ranking systems that enable people to find content considered useful by others like themselves will level communications and learning systems and enable faster, more solid societal development. - William Stewart, LivingInternet.com

My dream would be to free musicians and music fans from the clutches of the big five record labels by creating an environment where musicians and fans can interact with each other in a mutually respectful way that pays musicians for their work and offers many listening and purchasing choices to fans ? One great promise of the Internet is to afford musicians a means of distributing their own music without the censorship, artistic interference and market stranglehold historically wielded by record companies. Hopefully, by 2014, many more musicians will be able to avoid being called, "hey waiter!" - Peter W. Van Ness, Van Ness Group

A simple, cheap, and effective means to create an entire web site from scratch without having to learn HTML, Java, Shockwave, XML, etc. - Graham Lovelace, Lovelacemedia Ltd.

Cross-integration, worldwide, of library and other databases and reference tools, peer-organized (i.e., not corporate controlled, but publicly owned), auto-updating and self-repairing. If I buy a book on Amazon or a music track on iTunes (or whatever), I want it to be added automatically to my personal library catalog, without me having to enter this information manually. I want this catalog to include everything that I own, to be saved automatically on the net, to be accessible only to myself and those I designate - and I don't want Microsoft to own the Passport. I want everything in my personal library to be automatically hyperlinked to the rest of the world, so that I can jump immediately, and without configuring anything, from a passage in a printed book that I own to its electronic representation and on to the manuscript it references out there in Timbuktu. I was asked to dream, right? - Albrecht Hofheinz, University of Oslo

I would like to see technology break down the biases and ignorance barriers people hide behind. The fruits of technology should make people smarter and morally better. Right now technology sometimes contributes to stupidity, bigotry, political polarization, and predation. - John Mahaffie, Leading Futurists LLC

And the following are from predictors who chose to remain anonymous: [Workplaces of respondents whose reactions are listed below include the FCC, MSNBC, The Institute for the Future, EPCOR, Internet2, Microsoft, MIT, FCC, University of Copenhagen, IBM, Harvard University, Geffen School of Medicine, RAND, Meetup, U.S. Census Bureau, USA Today, University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University, Verizon, Juptermedia, Burson-Marstellar, Future of Music Coalition, Google, Media General, Integrated Media Association, Bloomberg News, Congressional Budget Office, University of Maryland, Proteus Foundation, Carnegie Mellon, BMC, AT&T, University of Minnesota, Advanced Micro Devices, the Center for Digital Government, CNN and others.]

I am anxious to see new developments in technology that ease human suffering rather than increase individual and corporate profit.

The biggest issue is one of control. Forces of centralization are trying to control what we do online and how we do it. If they succeed, the promise of the Net will fade into a dim shadow of what could have been. I assume great technological developments. But people who care about freedom need to remember that policy gets decided by activists, and they'll need to work much harder on the political side of things.

Increased education and opportunity in third world countries thereby improving the security of everyone.

Widespread civic literacy - people who understand how to use ICT to improve their face-to-face communities. A new model for cultural production, with millions or billions of producers, instead of a few mega-disinfotainment corporations.

I'd like to see the Internet deliver the most influential and advantageous information to the greatest number of people at the lowest price that would make the most difference in the state of the world. The Internet as hyperlever.

Independent media, revolution in copyright and intellectual property laws, more independent applications, open-source software, integrated technology - i.e.: cellular phone, music player, camera, ebook reader, web browser, email all in one powerful, portable device.

An end to junk e-mail and SPAM.

Network-controlled automobiles, to reduce traffic congestion and accident rates. e-Democracy tools that can ensure accurate, hack-proof voting and encourage non-participants to join in the democratic process so that representation will be fairer. Better voice-recognition and -emulation tools and interfaces to make text-to-speech translation and keyboardless navigation more seamless. Artificial-intelligence agents that can sort fact from opinion and political speech intuitively, and serve up completely objective accounts of politicians' activities and speech, so voters can make more-informed and less-confused choices. A payment system that allows artists to be adequately compensated for their work by patrons who are, in turn, allowed to share culture freely. I could go on, but I need to get back to the 14 windows I have open on my screen right now!

Secure communication. Note that this is a hope rather than a prediction.

Educating the Millennial and Cyber generations equally so that when they reach a college age they're all smart enough to go, and after college they can all get good jobs because the educational system throughout their lives kept pace with technology and the teachers did as well. No kid should be left behind.

No screens, no keyboards, no stylus, no stinted speech. I want to be able to ask for something and get it.

I'd like to see a market emerge for solid empirical evidence about a host of issues that people have to decide on every day. I'd like to see people becoming more skeptical consumers of evidence as well.

I'd like to see a global awareness develop around poverty, the environment and human rights abuse that unites people to develop solutions.

Virtual reality.

A single, portable, wireless device that allows access to all information sources (data, records, moving image, sound). The device and its use are inexpensive and easy.

That RSS really becomes the 3rd platform (joining web and email) on everyone's computer. Ninety percent of regular internet users visit a handful of content-driven sites the majority of the time. It does not make sense that we need to seek out information when it can be sent to us directly (vis RSS) without clogging our inboxes.

Electronic paper in small, flexible and portable format, with a high enough resolution to display graphics and video, and with a wireless connection to the Internet. When that occurs, the distribution side of entire publishing industry will be turned upside down, much as the film processing industry is being undermined by digital photography now. Then the full impact of digital technology on story telling and reporting will really be felt.

The easy capture of body data in emerging technologies for a true consumer-centric healthcare to emerge. See Eric Dishman's work at Intel.

More at the edge - wireless sensor nets. More portability/ubiquity.

I am anxious to see security solutions deployed to address spam, viruses and worms. I am looking forward to the deployment of IP telephony and real-time communications, which will provide more sophisticated, less expensive and more customizable solutions for consumers and business.

No applications, just better use of resources to share what we have throughout the world so that the widening gulf between haves and have-nots does not continue to increase, with all the attendant fallout such as wars, hunger and disease that come from this basic structural social problem.

In education, Internet access is not enough; having the knowledge and wherewithal to use this tool effectively for education is imperative. Further, internet access is becoming universal but the ability to use it productively to learn is still divided by socio-economic groups.

"Brain amplifier": the integration of computers as a way to boost human intelligence.

The Video Internet: Video e-mail, telephone, conferencing, publishing, education, merchandising.

Cheap, RELIABLE Internet appliances to replace PCs; network security getting appreciably better, not worse; spam eradicated; sensible IPR balance between content owners and users.

A centralized authentication database of all copyrights both privately held and those in the public domain and then a decentralized competitive licensing structure that truly allows for technical creativity and competition in the marketplace, circulation of ideas, art and information while at the same time compensating artists.

Right now, my primary focus is on harnessing the power of computer and video games to enable new forms of teaching. We see strong signs that parents and teachers are ready to embrace such technologies in the classroom, while ironically the resistance is coming from within the games industry where people are frightened of the "L word" and unwilling to risk their status as an entertainment medium to take on new roles.

Celestial jukebox - all media available all the time. Brewster Kahle's idea of universal access to all human knowlege.

Telepresence, i.e., significant improvements in technology that enable humans to interact in real time. Images and sound help, but only the latter is effective in real time. A significant breakthrough related to video interactions would be important. I would like to see a much more balanced approach to intellectual property that enables and encourages creative reuse. I see this as a policy problem, not a technology problem. Technology favors the copyright holder, at the moment. I'd like to see automatic language translation play a role in enabling access to more worldwide content, particularly to news reporting.

Ease-of-use in deploying and integrating interoperable modules of Open Source applications that can be used effectively by organizations without the money to buy experienced technical support. It is still too hard for most groups to take advantage of the tools already available. Computer science should figure out a way to build a Web-oriented software architecture that allows interoperability, modularization, reuse of code, and most importantly ease of use.

The expansion of niche audio networks, providing many new formats; that seems to be coming, although slowly. I would really like to see the major non-commercial media companies in the world - the government broadcasters and BBC, CBC, etc. - combine forces to create a much larger non-commercialized space on the web. I definitely fear the commercialization of all online services. I would like to see a substantial expansion in the access to large databases of news and information for younger students (Lexis/Nexis, ProQuest, etc.) I think that the search capability of the Internet, which may be its most powerful attribute, is severely restricted by current level of access on the part of the general population (and younger students in particular) ? I would like to see a substantial expansion of high-speed access in rural areas.

Complete access to all human knowledge.

Digital rights management and legal frameworks.

If there's a dream, it's for more thorough search engines. That's probably still one of the most primitive exercises being conducted today in light of the computing power available. Search results will almost certainly be perfected in the 10 years.

Medicine/healthcare. My dream app would be a device to measure health on a daily basis and send it to your doctor, providing an early warning of potentially worrisome issues.

I am most anxious to see a "grand unifier" device for communications and information use,a device that allows me the to choose the cheapest or most reliable or most secure network to place a call; a device that is connected to "the Net" anywhere I go; a device that is useful for research, writing, communication, storage, entertainment, commerce; a device that connects me instantly to my family, screens my calls/messages, alerts me to needed changes in my schedule, allows me to control appliances in my house, etc. And, of course, it needs to allow me to track Cubs games wherever I am as they finally put together a season that ends in a World Series victory.

Better communications; less wiring; an OS that does not crash.

Way back in the '80s, Apple devised a concept called the Knowledge Navigator. It featured a human-looking "agent" that managed appointments, searched for information, provided reminders, etc. That's my dream application ... something that automates tasks. You can do it now through macros ... but I am still surprised how much pointing and clicking or typing I need to do to say flip through pages in a sequences, or to look for similar files, etc.

Mechanisms to set desired level of spam, more or less credible information, link statements to facts, verify content.

1) Wireless homes and workplace - the disappearance of the "tangle" 2) Ubiquitous on-demand availability of the entire category of musical and video products.

The most impactful application would be a browser capable of accurate and fast on-the-fly language translation of web sites and data. The depth and breadth of the Internet would then truly be global - and world-changing.

The biggest things holding back the wider application of the internet are: 1) solid but practical form of end-user authentication to reduce fraud and eliminate spam 2) 10-megabit-class, final-mile connectivity at home.

I would hope to see "big broadband" widely deployed with open architectures that allow for vigorous competition at the application and content layers. I fear that instead we will get an oligopoly with highly constrained access.

A key challenge is the ability to integrate all the information, all the communication possibilities, into a sustainable lifestyle. How does the Net produce music for us when we want or need it rather than produce a constant unbearable noise? How do we avoid being paralyzed by the choices and opportunities? How can the world feel simple when we can see its deepest complexities 24/7?

I want to see widespread adoption of IPv6, for security enhancement purposes. I believe widespread internet telephony (VoIP) will have tremendous effects, including "all-you-can-use-for-one-price" telephony, which in turn will destroy most current major telephone companies.

1) Rapid expansion of public health and medical applications. Tele-medicine could help provide access to specialists ? 2)Rapid and extensive deployment of fiber connections to the home and office. 3) New user interfaces and display technologies. Voice- and identity-recognition applications. 4) The "Ask Jeeves" search-engine concept on super steriods! The ability to search, retrieve and organize information from multiple, multiple formats (print, image, audio, video, database) using intelligent filters for relevance, importance, reliability and validity. 5) Artificial intelligences in appliances, vehicles, computer software. For example, I'd love a word processor that worked like a great copy editor - not simply a spell checker or simple grammar checker. Or a kitchen appliance that would read all the bar codes of items in my pantry and refrigerator and recommend innovative menus, remind about expiration dates and calculate nutritional values for meals. Perhaps it would even use avatars to walk through recipes. Or, if activated, I'd like such a device to answer a question like: "Where are the kids right now?" These are the sorts of network applications that enhance but also transform.

More news outlets lead to more truth-telling, especially in government and politics. I would hope that the internet would allow for healthcare access to all Americans, and that this technology could help us solve health problems quicker - like cancer and AIDS.

I would like to see a more global equality with regard to connectivity. Still, large parts of the world are not connected, or at ridiculously low dial-up speeds and/or horrendous prices. We cannot talk about a global village until we get closer to that.

Organization of personal information. Reducing information overload and IT-related stress. Improvements in usability and comprehensibility of ICT. Transformation of health care. Improvement in quality of life for the elderly. Penetration of ICT into the developing world.

There must be a way, without violating civil liberties, of finding hackers, cyber terrorists and others who are criminal in nature. If the Internet can detect where the bad guys are, it can be a safer world and a safer Internet.

Free and unrestricted access for all humans in all countries.

Return to the principals of the computer inquires of an open physical communications network open to all. Provision of true broadband at realistic prices. Recognition of and restraint of significant market power.

My dreams are: universal access on a par with water and electricity as a public service; a variety of multimodal interfaces, including speech/sound, that will enable non- or semi-literate individuals to communicate in more social contexts.

Developing effective and acceptable boundaries between home and work life.

I would like to see it become a bit easier for ordinary, non-technically empowered folks to start on-line organizations ala open source. We see the beginnings of this in the ability to start your own mailing list, etc., but it would be nice to see more powerful capacities available.

I want my digital life accessible, wherever I happen to be, without lugging around a lot of machines and wires.

Converged devices are a dream. I would love one phone/PDA that can get 2-4 lines, do e-mail (GPRS and real time), Wi-Fi, has Blue-tooth, IM, and video - and fits in my shirt pocket and does not cost more than $300.

More citizen engagement in public policy debates and formulation; more precise searching capabilities. Path-breaking: for Internet devices to be greatly enhanced so that connections are consistently available, devices are truly easy to operate, and offered at low costs. If that happens, all manner of content follows.

I would like to see greater WiFi access and faster WiFi. I would like to see more and better networking options, especially at home. I would like to see an easier way to link up television, computer, DVD, cell phone, internet all together.

Device proliferation with always-on connection to the Internet. Specialized devices that serve any and every human need.

Easy interfaces for handheld devices that create pervasive access to Internet.

Proper ad models for online publications. User acceptance that content costs money. Functional, spam-free e-mail systems. E-voting. Reduced network access costs, and firm anti-oligarchic regulations designed to prevent another regulatory mess, ala cable TV. Better integration of open standards like MP3. Microsoft finally matched in its monopoly. AOL sidelined by superior technology.

Driving down of the cost of health care and widening of its availability. Adoption of the 'net as the conveyor of written material in a format that resembles the page. Convergence of communications capabilities into a single device that enables wireless audio-, video-, data- and voice-transmission and reception.

I would be anxious to see the Internet facilitate voting in elections and energizing the electorate to be more participatory. Unfortunately, voter turnout, or the lack thereof, is not a technology problem.

Using the Internet to allow people of the world to interact with each other instead of being disembodied stereotypes. Unfortunately corporate and government control will never allow free access.

I want the social force and interface power of Google to outstrip all firewalls and proprietary systems, to make more works accessible to all. Yet I don't want that much power concentrated in such a central location like Google, so I really look to the Semantic Web and XML to provide metadata that will enable many kinds of powerful searching outside of Google, or perhaps by those using Google tools to mine data for their own ends. I don't yet fear Google, but I could ? I'm also antsy for text-based tools like RSS and Atom, which are so powerful, to work for interactive media artifacts as well: audio, video, Flash. Right now the power of text-based interfaces is actually discouraging higher-bandwidth forms of communication ? Usability is getting far too rule-based, prescriptive, and entrenched. The move toward CSS-template-driven content-management systems was welcome and empowering, but we've lost as much as we've gained, in creativity, in bandwidth-sucking bells and whistles, and in interactivity.

I would like to have the data about me in a virtual passport that I control and that I can choose who is allowed to see what specific information I choose within that passport. I would like to have my home - the appliances, lights, vehicles wired and knowing me and my preferences. I am interested in how nanotechnology is going to impact the products we buy today, the healthcare advances that we will be able to see and the new products that will be created through nanotech applications.

I'd like to see EVERYONE in the world have access to the internet. There is so much information and knowledge out there that could help developing countries. Email makes it so easy to stay in touch with friends and family, no matter where you or they are. Time zones don't matter, no phone bills to pay, you can even send video mail if you want to SEE as well as talk. I hope our educators are able to use the internet to reach students all across the country, sharing information and knowledge - no more geographic boundaries, anyone can learn about anything, no matter where they are. I'd like information-sharing amongst scientists to continue - especially in areas like weather and medicine. Learning to control the weather, mitigating damage from hurricanes, and collaborating on research to cure cancer, nicotine addiction, obesity, mental illness ... I also hope that, by sharing information about each other all around the world, people from all cultures can better-understand each other, and we learn to live and let live. Basically, I think the internet can help mankind to make our world a better place.

 

A project of the Elon University School of Communications
All rights reserved. Contact us at predictions@elon.edu