Imagining the Internet Project

  Responses to this question were assembled from Internet stakeholders in the2008 Pew Internet & American Life/Elon University Predictions Survey. We share some—not all—of the responses here. Workplaces of respondents who shared their identity are attributed only for the purpose of indicating a level of expertise; statements reflect personal views. If you would like to participate in the next survey, mail andersj [at] elon dotedu; include information on your expertise.  



Research Directions:
What Do You Want
to Know About the Internet?


Question:We consider these surveys to be a conversation with technology policy makers and leaders; we would like to know what you would like to know about the Internet and related technologies. What key research questions about the direction of technological change and about the impact of the Internet would you like to see addressed by organizations such as the Pew Internet Project? What should we be measuring? What research questions should we address in future surveys of Internet experts and leaders? Are there some critical uncertainties about Internet evolution in your field of expertise that we should position ourselves to monitor?

Overview of Respondents' Reactions:
Future of the Internet III survey respondents indicated a variety of concerns worthy of further study. Most expressed an interest in or fears about how lives and relationships and/or local and global economics are being influenced by humans’ expanding use of sophisticated, ubiquitous communications networks.

Below are select responses from survey participants who agreed to be identified with their statements. This is not the full extent of responses. To see more, read the report PDF, and to read reactions from anonymous participants responding to this question, please click here.

What are the physical and psychological effects of having so much exposure to the Internet, both in terms of constant influx of data to be processed by the brain, and the physical strain of “screen time” and typing? –Sam McAfee, chief technology officer and owner, RadicalFusion, a company that offers consulting on Web design and development, server-side programming and database development

How will the business model of Internet Service Providers and telcos evolve? Who will make money in the future? Will the government have to step in if there is no incentive to further build out the infrastructure? –Ulrich Spalthoff, director advanced technology, Alcatel-Lucent, Paris; expert in solid state science, semiconductor materials, optical fiber communications

I'd like to know why, in an age of millions of wireless LANs, there aren’t more local network applications. What kinds of social networks do people want to form in small spaces, to communicate with other people in their immediate vicinity? Why does it all have to be about the Internet? LANs were the original reason we invented computer networks...why are they a second thought now? –Anthony Townsend, research director for the Technology Horizons Program of the Institute for the Future, providing long-range forecasts on technology; he is also a co-founder of NYCwireless

The interactions taking place within photo sharing, video sharing, and blogging communities are fascinating and understudied. I'd like to know more about whether people who post photos are more likely to comment on others photos, or whether people who write blogs are more likely to comment on others blogs, and how much of the perception of audience motivates people to start or continue their content production activities (online). –Joe McCarthy, principal instigator, MyStrands; formerly principal scientist at Nokia Research Center Palo Alto; he also has worked at Intel Research, Accenture Technology Labs, and Nokia

Continue to delve into emerging applications and technologies, particularly in social networking. Examples of data sets I'd like to see would include a deep dive into Twitter, Scrabulous, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Also Google 2.0. –Theresa Maddix, satisfaction research analyst, ForeSee Results

The reliability of information on the Internet is always an issue for me. Can I trust it? Who is the source? There is so much information online it can be difficult to figure out what/who to believe. –Susan Frede, vice president for research and panel management, TNS, a global market research company

I would like to understand how technology will continue to affect how higher education is delivered (and marketed). –Stephanie Geyer, associate vice president e-communications and Web strategy, Noel-Levitz, an operating division of Sallie Mae that consults on recruitment and marketing of higher education

PEW should look into the effects spending time on line or at the computer has on individuals and groups. Are we becoming part of Foucault's Prison system? How about an examination of how computers are used in schools—are they tools or false solutions? How many Internet matches from dating sites pan out and how for how long? Is the Internet spreading knowledge or rumors? Are technologies adapting to people’s needs or are people adapting to technology? With regard to copyright and DRM, how is content viewed? Is content associated with those who create it or is it viewed as free and just “out there?” Do people understand that content and delivery systems are based in the reality of wires, electrical supply, waste management and the environment or is the Internet viewed as an alternate reality separate from hard encumbrances and limitations? What illnesses have arisen along with Internet usage? Has the virtual world affected our sense of space and time? Has it affected our bodies or how we are in our bodies? Who is connected to the Internet and for what purpose? –Mary McFadden, a respondent who chose not to share additional identifying details

Answer the question of “why” people use ICTs. I know the usage numbers for phone calls, text messages, and search queries, but lack data on why people choose a certain technology at a certain time to fulfill a need. –Todd Spraggins, strategic architect, Nortel Carrier Networks; president and chairman of the board of directors of the Communications Platforms Trade Association

Analyze information (ephemeral and static), communication, play, work (data manipulation), shopping; how most people use information technology now. Where are we going to see new developments? –Martin Curley, senior principal engineer and global director of IT people, intellectual capital and solutions at Intel; formerly of General Electric in Ireland and Phillips in the Netherlands

The interplay between culture and Internet technologies—how do Swedes use the Web differently from Koreans; do people change their Web-based activities as they age; how do the different personas we all have in any one day interact. –Jeremy Swinfen Green, Telecom Express, an interactive marketing company

A good question is why, although technology is the same, different parts of the world evolve in different ways, and use the same technology in different ways. Look, for instance, the use of Internet in the Western world and in China, to make just one example. –Roberto Gaetano, ICANN board member; also responsible for SW development for International Atomic Energy Agency; an active participant in the ICANN policy making process

Do we see a continuation of the trend of distributed production? Are all TV pilots pulled from the top YouTube hits? Does the line between professional journalist and blogger dissolve completely? –Alexander Halavais, professor and social informatics researcher, Quinnipiac University; explores the ways in which social computing influences society

Will the open-source movement extend the belief in freely sharing one's (intellectual) property and labor to non-digital domains? –Elena Razlogova, assistant professor of history, Concordia University Digital History Lab, Montréal, Quebec; research interests include digital cultures and history of media

What kind of time do we save using the Internet? What are the most productive aspects of the Internet? –Megan Holbrook, partner, Kapow Inc., a site-design and development company; she has produced projects for Microsoft, Warner Bros. and Disney

How does gaming fit into the future? Video gaming, Second Life gaming, gaming in education... gaming online & off. –Beth Gallaway, Information Goddess Consulting, a Web 2.0 consultancy

Will “push to talk” be replaced by “think to communicate” at virtually all times, across virtually all major formats (audio/voice, video/sight, optical readout)? –Sean Steele, CEO and senior security consultant, infoLock Technologies; leads corporate business strategy for insider-threat management consulting services and solutions company

What's the role (if any) of 3-D presentation technologies? Back in the ’50s and ’60s, 3-D was assumed to be the future of movies, but it never became more than a curiosity. But now we have the computing power to generate real-time immersive 3-D. Do we need to, or is 2-D presentation plus human imagination sufficient? –Geoff Arnold, senior principal, software development engineer, Amazon.com; formerly worked at Sun Microsystems in distributed computing at large scale; expert in engineering communities

The question about the culture and technology that has the highest ratio of importance to public discussion is the effect on the look and feel of society of the immense improvement in displays of all kinds. What will a world feel like in which most signs are dynamic and interactive? When computational clothing is worn everywhere? When displays have replaced windows? When lots of buildings have dynamic exteriors? When many interior spaces are linked through common video walls? This is all going to happen way before 2020. –Fred Hapgood, technology author and consultant; freelance writer in technology and science; in the 1990s, he took on the role of moderator of the Nanosystems Interest Group at MIT

I'd like to know how relationships are affected by the Internet and technology. How many people become close colleagues, friends and intimate partners after first meeting online? Where do they typically become acquainted, which places in cyberspace and which modes of communication do they use to first connect and continue to build their relationships? –Andrea Baker, educator and researcher on Internet topics

How is the human/Web interface affecting us as a species? There have already been measurements in the difference in how the younger vs. older generations read the information on a screen. Can we figure out a way to ask people questions that would reflect how the thought process is being shaped by this? I strongly suspect we are evolving a new way to process information with our own wetware by using this tool, and would be very interested in seeing indicators of where this might be going. –Sallie Pine, reference services manager, Alameda County (CA) Library

I want to know how the Internet will increasingly become integrated with reality, how applications will be built into our lives, how metaverses will meld with reality, and how the Internet will leverage our tiniest thoughts and inklings into global conversations. –DJ Strouse, international relations and computer science student, University of Southern California

How to be always on? Can we create a new interface between human and machines? You speak English, I speak French, how can we be and stay equal? –Sebastien Bachollet, president of the Internet Society of France, operates the European Global Event on domain Names and Address systems, known as EGENI, active participant in ICANN

What effect will artificial intelligence have on our lives in 2020? –Iddo Genuth, founder and chief editor of The Future of Things, a science and technology e-magazine

Just how far will we have gone (by 2020 or 2025) in terms of artificial intelligence and what impact will this have on our lives. When (if ever) will we reach the point where we hold the AI (rather than the creator) responsible for its decisions. E.g. AI-enabled military robot or security guard makes a bad decision and kills someone they shouldn’t have. –Heath Gibson, manager of research and market analysis, Big Pond, a competitive intelligence company and provider of broadband customer Websites in Australia

Will computers be driving our cars in 2020? –Brad Templeton, chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, also of the Foresight Institute, is an Internet pioneer who has been active in the computer-networking community since 1979

How long before IPv6 becomes ubiquitous? –Adrian Schofield, manager of the applied research unit, Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering, South Africa; leader in the World Information Technology and Services Alliance

The rise of minority communities, minority languages, and new identities. –Tapio Varis, professor specializing in global learning environments, University of Tampere, Finland; UNESCO chair in global e-Learning; active leader of the Global University System

More emphasis should be placed on studying the innovations in technology and engineering and identifying enablers for innovation. –Richard Fowler, Northrop Grumman

One area of interest in the next 10 to 20 years will be how developments in nano and biotechnology will impact the path of information technology—will there be applications for either of these new areas that create breakthroughs in areas such as storage or networks that change the nature of the Internet and consumer technologies? –Scott Smith, principal, Changeist LLC; consultant, writer, and futurist; formerly with Yankee Group, Current Analysis, and Jupiter Communications; expert on global influence of technology

What are the emergent uses of the Internet? You might ask, for example, what do you do on the Internet that no one else (or very few people) do? What would you like the Internet to do that it doesn't? –Mary Ann Allison, principal, The Allison Group, has worked with Microsoft, Glasgow’s Urban Learning Space, and other businesses, governments and NGOs

What are the wild cards we aren't seeing? What right turns will infotech take us in? How will it interface with current development in materials science (nanotech) and life science? What unexpected things lie in store? I'd love to brainstorm about what we're all missing here. –Jason Stoddard, managing partner/strategy at Centric/Agency of Change, an interactive strategies company; he is also a popular speaker on social media and virtual worlds

If you were looking for new areas of inquiry, it would be into predicting disruptive change. Things don't evolve anymore...they are replaced by cheaper, faster better. Predicting why and how that happens is a body of knowledge to be developed. –Dick Davies, partner, Project Management and Control Inc.; past president of the Association of Information Technology Professionals

I would like to see how the Internet contributes to the realization of the oneness of humanity. –Mitko Gerensky-Greene, manager of Web and data services for Universal Service Administrative Company, providing e-rate telecommunications to schools and libraries

The Internet these days is defined by geography, culture and language (maybe less so by boundaries of the nation state). When will the Pew Internet Project reflect the global nature of the medium? If you do not intend to do so, fine, but then refine your project as one with a national focus. –Geert Lovink, professor and expert on culture, sociology and the Internet; based in Amsterdam; author of “Dark Fiber” and “Uncanny Networks”; responsible for the Institute of Network Cultures

The Internet by and large resides on the telecommunication networks of the world. A survey that highlights this interaction and projects it to the future will be very useful. –D.K. Sachdev, founder and president of SpaceTel Consultancy LLC; early developer of XM Radio

I'd be interested in the interface between today's Web and the Semantic Web. –Paul Miller, technology evangelist on the senior management team at Talis, a company delivering human-centric Web applications, based in Birmingham, UK; a blogger for ZDNet

Often, especially in times of tremendous change, beneficiaries do not advance at the same pace and are not even aware of those who are ahead or behind them, but to some extent parity is necessary. I'd like to a global tracking study on Internet/wireless penetration and bandwidth. John C. Abell, new media project director, Committee of Concerned Journalists

Net neutrality is the most important issue of Internet evolution. Any research on this topic will be valuable. –Janet D. Cohen, blogger, futurist and trend analyst

When we will redefine Internet user population to include people (especially in developing economies) who have access through their mobile phones. How deeply connected is the mobile revolution in Africa to the spread (and increase in bandwidth usage) of the Internet? I will be glad to contribute some man-hours towards this if it interests Pew Internet Project. –Gbenga Sesan, Internet for development consultant, Paradigm Initiative, Nigeria; his work is tied to the use of ICT’s in socioeconomic transformation, focusing on underserved groups

As a nonprofit professional, I want to know how these technology policies advance the human condition, both in basic human needs like housing, health, education, employment, and in the greater human aspirations like happiness, joy, fulfillment, connectedness. I know many futurists point to the electronic network as a delivery mechanisms for the latter, but I can't get past the more basic elements of life that are missing for so many. Plus, I don't really believe that the Internet can deliver on those aspirations anyway; electronic versions of those things are fleeting, and pale next to the human-to-human contacts that we all crave. Also, I want to ask for a real accounting of the costs, both in what flies out of my pocket every month (let's see: Rhapsody Unlimited, XM Radio, $2/mo. for Guitar chords on-line, the on-line version of Consumer Reports, three cell phones in our family, newspaper and magazine subs ...) and in the much higher social cost of providing all this entertainment. –Peter Eckart, director of health information technology, Illinois Public Health Institute

Is this a question for “technology policy makers” or for sociologists and politicians? It is necessary to recover autonomous decision-making power towards the future which will then decide what technology to create—not just let the techies move on, with society not having any say in it. –Norbert Klein, member of ICANN’s GNSO Council and Internet Society leader who works with Open Institute Cambodia, a company whose primary focus is on information

Online communities profiling, level of enjoyment in using online tools and how much time spent, what real-life experiences are being replaced by online experiences and by how much, level of satisfaction people are reaching in being online and using tools; online education, distance learning pros and cons; cause-related online communities, e-philanthropy; news and information consumption; information-overload statistics. –Joanna Sharpe, senior marketing manager, Microsoft

There seems to be a fair amount of uncertainty among business leaders about what the impact of social media (interactive) should be on business. Is there any research that answers for business: what types of social media should businesses be engaging in? What should expectations be for interaction with consumers—not just sales, but what consumers want or think? What types of social media are best for getting in touch with various markets (teens, women, etc)? Has anyone developed a “rule of thumb” for worthwhile ROI [return on investment]? –Janie Graziani, manager of new media and technology for the American Automobile Association

I'm very interested in media created by “regular people”—user-generated content or whatever—blogs, video blogs, audio podcasta etc. How ubiquitous is it? What are people's motivations? Most importantly, how is it impacting our culture and our perception of what is true? –Richard Hall, professor of information science and technology and co-director of the Laboratory for Information Technology Evaluation, Missouri University of Science and Technology

Please look into the role of location-based services (LBS) in the future. I think with the new interface design of the iPhone and developing consumer level GPS technology, this is going to be an area of great interest. How it will be used by marketers, game developers and average people is still very much unknown. Ben Spigel, master’s student in the department of geography, Ohio State University; researches microgeographies of academic knowledge exchange

Internet security. As has been mentioned earlier, the loopholes will remain, but, they should be kept at minimum level. –Hakikur Rahman, chairman, SchoolNet Foundation; coordinator of Sustainable Development Networking Programme in Bangladesh; active in Internet Society Board, South Asia Foundation

Generational differences—the effect of networked life on societal norms. –Jeremy Yuille, digital media coordinator at RMIT Communication Design and program manager at ACID in Melbourne, Australia; previously director at IXDA, the Interaction Design Association

1. Empirical research and evidence on impact of Internet and related technologies in urban mobility and sustainability, as well as on urban management and planning. 2. Internet technologies and tools regarding the future social and economic transactions. –Vassilys Fourkas, professor, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, department of spatial planning and development

Impact of social networks on (informal) learning—including hobby-type learning, as well as supporting formal learning. –Emma Duke-Williams, lecturer in the School of Computing and researcher, University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom; education blogger

Will we be able to extract ourselves from communicating with others, which persists our current identities, and create a new identity(ies) without damaging relationships by the virtue of non-communication? Amit Kelkar, consultant and sociology researcher, Postmodern

I think it is important to monitor and understand the Internet-usage patterns of very young people (8-14), as they are a powerful indicator of what is going to come. –Giulio Prisco, chief executive officer of Metafuturing Second Life; formerly department head at the European Satellite Centre, analyst at European Space Agency, and an IT specialist for CERN

I would like to see more concern about digital divides based on environmental and social-cultural constraints. From a report of a previous Pew Internet Project survey I identified subjects like the language barrier that might become a great divider (I am referring to here to English as the Internet lingua franca). “Access” to the Internet will probably be guaranteed for everyone on Earth by 2020 but the ability to use Internet, to use it for different purposes and to benefit from its use will still be very unequal, or even more unequal, across countries, regions, as well as dependent on social and cultural milieu of individuals. –Gilda Olinto, researcher, Brazilian Institute for Information in Science and Technology

I am interested in “backlash” developments like no-cell-phone zones, no-contact hours, no-Internet zones, offers NOT available via the Web, et al. –Rollie Cole, director of technology policy, Sagamore Institute for Policy Research, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank headquartered in Indianapolis, IN

One Laptop Per Child proposes to make the Internet and a full education available to everybody. What will the results be? The end of poverty? A new, truly free market (not free for corporations and restricted for citizens), where everybody has market access and full market information? Teenagers going into sustainable international businesses with each other all over the world? The end of war? What? Edward Cherlin, activist and founder of Earth Treasury – a program following on One Laptop Per Child to link schools around the world; formerly a board member at WIRE AFRICA

How many of the current legislators expect to be in their current or higher levels of power in 2020? How much time do they spend keeping up with thought-out positions on new stuff on their own (or by their staff), rather than taking the position that they're given by a special interest. –Sam Smith, Web interface developer, University of Manchester, UK

We need FAR greater bandwidth to the home to fulfill the desires of people. People want to be more discriminating in what they see, read, hear—television, radio, Internet, advertising, information, news, entertainment, shopping, financial options, health care issues, education, etc. All can be done from “home,” but the technology and operational management to deliver is still missing. –Don Heath, Internet pioneer; former president and CEO of the Internet Society; member of U.S. State Department Advisory Committee on International Communication and Information Policy

A closer look into the Domain Name System might be nice. –Sebastian Ricciardi, associate with Jauregui & Associates, a law firm in Buenos Aires; leader in the Argentina chapter of the Internet Society, formerly of ICANN’s At-Large Advisory Committee

It would be interesting to read in your reports how mobile technologies will have an impact on citizenship. –Itir Akdogan, Ph.D. candidate and lecturer, University of Helsinki, expertise in ICT in empowering women and girls

How much anonymity do people really want? How do we protect youth from early exposure to more mature subject matter? –Dan Lynch, founder of CyberCash Inc. and Interop Company and an Internet pioneer; board member of Santa Fe Institute; director of computing for SRI International in the late 1970s

To develop capacity to use the Internet, there should be standard books/online courses in multiple languages dedicated to the individual fields like "Internet for a Farmer-bee farming,” "Internet for Politicians," "Internet for Engineers," "Internet for Policy Makers," etc...We should focus on making the people [in developing nations] aware of Internet so their businesses can have positive impact. Also, a major problem that needs to addressed is language and content. Another, important issue is the legality of software/operating systems etc. In Nepal, 90% of the operating systems are pirated and unlicensed. Government is under a process to address these issues by making effective cyberlaw. But the bitter fact is that even the government offices are using the pirated operating systems. Many computer users are unaware of the licensing. Yes, a bit of effort is being carried out in open-source and FOSS, but these concepts are still not comfortable to the technical human resources. It would be nice to have some questionnaires prepared which concern open-source and proprietary software. [You should ask] some questions that also concern the developing countries, underdeveloped countries. –Sudip Aryal, president, Nepal Rural Information Technology Development Society

We need to pay increasing attention to the use of technologies in the workplace and document the effects (positive and negative) on productivity. –Jim Witte, professor of sociology, Clemson University; research is focused on differences between online and offline society, including a special interest in activity in Second Life

I'm interested in the tradeoffs faced by content holders and public institutions in the environment of the “cut-and-paste” Web. If our trusted, public content from the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives is on YouTube and flickr and is benefiting from commenting, tagging, and social networking there, how do we tether it all back to the permanent root repositories? A lot has been speculated about how all this could play out, but I'd love to put thought-leaders on the spot and/or gather some actual data from consumers. –Michael Edson, director for Web and new media strategy, Smithsonian Institution

What impact will the Internet have on advancing civic participation/ civic engagement, empowering consensus and solutions to public problems? –Jan Schaffer, executive director of J-Lab, the Institute for Interactive Journalism; former business editor and a Pulitzer Prize winner for the Philadelphia Inquirer

Domesticated animals have learned to anticipate our actions...will the Internet do that? –Garland T. McCoy, founder, Technology Policy Institute, a think tank focused on the economics of innovation; formerly senior vice president at the Progress and Freedom Foundation

I would like a better understanding how these technologies are changing the interpersonal relationships between professionals and their clients. –Ramona Nelson, Ph.D., co-director of the healthcare informatics program, Slippery Rock University

What do IT professionals overall think will be the most productive uses of the Internet in 2020? –John Murphy, director USA.gov technologies, General Services Administration of the U.S. government

More on the poor's potential impact on the Net. If they had access, what would they do? This is especially true of other countries (Asia, India, Russia, Africa). –Judith Siess, president of Information Bridges International Inc. and publisher and editor of the One-Person Library newsletter, author and blogger

A lot more very serious study of Second Life and similar open-ended virtual worlds must be made. You must get behind the up-and-down headlines of whether it is a fad or has scandals or is growing or is not, and is hyped, and understand what it is: a very accelerating prototyping device to address all these very issues you are trying to study here in this very survey. Current usages of the world have to be studied and described in an impartial and scholarly manner, rather than merely covered in the news media with varying degrees of over-enthusiasm or hype. So for example, you need psychologists and socialists, not just technology analysts, to ask how it is that so many people would chose to have an intimate and sexual relationship with people online whom they might never meet in real life. Why it is that so many people spend hours socializing in chat rooms, in forums, on games, instead of in their living rooms or town halls? You need to ask why children who fail math and science in their regular schools are able to master an incredible amount of complex data and skills to manage sophisticated games like World of Warcraft. –Catherine A. Fitzpatrick, Open Society Institute, Physicians for Human Rights; lecturer on humanitarian issues; formerly UN representative for International League of Human Rights

I'm interested in the concept of disposable technology, and also sustainable technologies. Also, I want to know more about the long tale of technology—what is actually viable for a normal middle-class person...what's next in Wikis...Bumptop Desktop...evolution of technology. I'm also interested in what I don't know I don't know—what are top technologies that I haven't heard about, what is under the radar. I also have my eye on companies like Searchles—bringing community around content consumption. Is there really someone else with my exact tastes—a person that reads information about politics, fashion, technology, pop culture, corgies, online news, having babies later, acupuncture, poetry, and art with equal zeal. I want to meet that woman. –Tiffany Shackelford, consultant who works with clients such as Phase 2 Technology, Stateline.org, Foneshow, WebbMedia, and Daily Me

Collaboration with developing countries in joint Internet projects becomes more and more important. –Xiang Zhou, Ph.D., Cheung Kong School of Journalism and Communication, Shantou University, China; research includes cultural dimensions and framing the Internet in China

I like the direction about changing social attitudes. –Karen G. Schneider, research and development College Center for Library Automation, Tallahassee, Florida; expert and thought-leader in the library and technology community

I see a great field for geotagging. It's fun, useful and connects the individual to a city again. Tiago Casagrande, works with social communications and new technologies for verbeat

I'd love to see more of the surveys looking at the adoption of social applications in the workplace. –Paul Greenberg, president, The 56 Group LLC; BPT Parters LLC; MyCRMCareer.com, social-media companies

I am interested in crossmedia, transmedia, digital paper readers. Jak Boumans, principal director, Electronic Media Reporting; formerly editor in chief at Broadcast; general secretary of the European Academy of Digital Media

What I miss is some deeper understanding of the impact of the Internet in every age range, lifestyle, household income, household education, small business, etc. I mean not an academic-like study (even though necessary) but a deeper evaluation than the ones we have today…studies based on concrete data, from the trenches where the users are. As the communications technologies evolve, my particular field of interest is the impact of wide diffusion of very high Internet access speeds plus the high-speed mobile Internet. I believe we should have the support of sociologists on these matters. –João Miguel Rocha Filho, director, DataOne, a provider of software for connecting to Linux; based in Brazil

Research why the education sector has failed to engage the new digital connectivity. Commerce has, media has, social activities flow there. But schools change little and textbooks usable in the 19th century are a multi-billion-dollar business. Why don't educators creatively work on using the Internet? Why do they hate mobile phones so much? Kids cheated before there were cell phones! –Judy Breck, blogger at GoldenSwamp.com – aimed at "watching the global golden age of learning emerge from the open Internet"

Research should be done on HOW people use the Internet: at work, at home, older and younger users; how it affects learning and performing; how it affects attitudes toward others; how it false content that is taken seriously by some affects the ability to make sound decisions. Politics, for example, has benefited by getting the right info to voters and has caused harm due to false content and rumors being taken as fact. It will take a while before ignorance and gullibility will be overpowered by the truth. –Mike Samson, interactive media writer and producer

I would like data on the acceptance rates of new technologies for teaching and learning among various age groups, educational attainment, gender, race categories. It seems higher ed has its own digital divide among faculty and administration, and the ability to innovate and expand uses of Web 2.0 options is seriously hampered by both ignorance and mistrust. It is clear that students' expectations for faculty deployment of such technologies grows with each incoming class, and yet faculty retrenchment rises to meet it in opposition. It would be good to identify and measure the kind and quality of objections that are resident in these populations. –Bruce Edwards, associate dean for distance education, Bowling Green State University, Ohio

I’d be interested to know if there is the possibility of a more open form of political interactivity with online votes over significant changes in government policy. Eg. shall we go to war yes no unsure. In a true democracy this must be a possibility. After all, freedom is a right hard fought for and one that is being abused due to voter lethargy, lack of interest, and disillusionment over policy. The Swiss model allows for a referendum on any issue if 50,000 signatures are collected. Thus any issue important enough for a significant minority may pass into law/being by the people’s “online court” allowing voters to address a topic outside of partisan politics. –Robert Eller, Concept Omega, a media marketing and communication company

The field of journalism is changing rapidly. Print media is moving to Internet media. Daily news is turning toward breaking news. Print journalists are finding themselves also writing for the Internet and even producing multimedia content. News is being disseminated in every possible way. What is the future of journalism? What will the professional journalist of the future be responsible for? How will people cope with information overload? –Jamie Richard Wilson, journalist and freelance Web developer

More surveys on cross-contextual behavior regarding online SNSes (i.e., individual differences between Facebook, MySpace, LiveJournal users). –Jacob Kramer-Duffield, blogger and student, UNC School of Information and Library Science

As someone who studies the history of communication technologies and their impact on communication practices, I'm increasingly interested in these issues: 1. how users of the Internet and digitizing devices create new genres of discourse: we've moved from e-mail and the Web page to the discussion board, IM, the blog, and the Facebook page; more and more people are now creating and publishing video discourses, and the Internet has created a number of new minor genres as well: fanfic, opinion sites. These new genres self-organize, develop conventions of behavior and ways to initiate newcomers into their “effective use” (“Blogging for Dummies,” for example, and how long before “The Idiot's Guide to Facebooking?”). How does technology adapt to the demands of these new genres, and change to enable others to develop? 2. The Internet and the computer are responsible for a rapid expansion of what I call the author's club, as more and more writers move from their conventional role of copying documents to creating them, as more and more readers don't simply consume text, but modify, manipulate, and recreate it, as well as composing their own new content and putting it out there for readers (and there are readers in cyberspace who seem willing to read almost anything). How will this new role of content creator change our notions of literacy, readership, authorship? –Dennis Baron, professor of English and linguistics, University of Illinois, runs the Web of Language site and researches the technologies of communication

Do research into the progress on and what the effects are of adding the same hyperlinking capabilities of online text to other mediums, such as sound, images, and video. How does this relate to computer recognition and understanding of non-textual information? How much progress has even been made on truly giving computers “understanding” of even textual information? How long until personal-assistance software exists that understands requests not just processing commands? –Jay Neely, social strategist in the process of founding News Armada, a Boston-based company working to advance Internet-based news and commentary and community online

Will it ever get less expensive to use? –Don Ranly, Ph.D., professor emeritus, University of Missouri School of Journalism

There are more ID protection services today. However, I have yet to see a good (widespread) solution for actually authenticating someone's ID, for example, so one can know that a communication is genuine. –Brian T. Nakamoto, co-founder of MrJoy Inc. and product-line manager for Everyone.net, (a leading provider of outsourced e-mail solutions for individuals and companies around the world)

Study of the future Internet impact on politics, campaigning, and election reform would be useful. Also innovations in education by Internet, and the progress of the Internet in healthcare-related uses. –Jennifer Jarratt, principal, Leading Futurists LLC; works with formalized methodologies to assess and interpret potential futures

I wonder about the effect of increased Internet usage/access has on mental health. Are people using social network sites and avoiding real human contact? Does social networking online provide an adequate and healthy alternative to real human contact? I know the Internet has provided people with more information about mental health. –Phil Koehl, president, Illinois Association of School Social Workers

More on gaming, in its full variety; who's gaming, what platforms, what social connections? –Bryan Alexander, director of research National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education, blogger, expert on computer-mediated pedagogy, Ripton, Vermont

Relationship between different lifestyle groups and Internet behavior in terms of different functions types of use. Wim van de Donk, professor of public administration and chairman of the Scientific Council for Government Policy in The Netherlands (WRR)

 I am concerned that the proliferation of technology in our individual lives makes us seem more connected to the world without having to actually live in the world…Taking life online doesn't necessarily improve our lives; it merely turns our personal reality into virtual reality—one that can be whatever we manufacture: cold, impersonal, anonymous, elaborate, warm, deceptive, addictive, enlightening, spectacular, depressive, raw, humble; but what does that really say about whom we have become and where we could be in 2020? For years now, I have been reconciling for myself that community isn’t dead; it just relocated‚ to online social networks, mobile-phone contacts lists, blogs, virtual worlds with avatars, and online multiplayer games. But “friending” a person on MySpace doesn’t make them your friend in times of need. Where are they when you need a shoulder to cry on, a gentle hug, a sympathetic ear, a ride to the hospital, a hand to load the moving van? I believe true community can be supported by many types of interaction—face-to-face, telephonic, written—but when we don’t know our neighbor because we haven’t taken the time to put down the phone or step away from the computer where our “friends” are, then I think our social progress is in for a serious setback. –Alison Voorhees, communications scholar

Study university-learning impact of Internet, teaching children through the Internet, how often one changes his/her password online, how many passwords one uses online. –Giovanni Vecchio, IEEE

The global digital divide in terms of the diffusion and use of e-science/e-research technologies in research and development sectors will be increasing. –Han Woo Park, assistant professor, YeungNam University, South Korea; formerly a research associate at the Royal Netherlands Academy’s group for Network Research and Digital Information

An area of interest you could study is how people deal with information overload…I sit here in front to two computers, with multiple Web browser tabs open, an e-mail client constantly calling for my attention, 100 RSS feeds screaming at me to “keep up! You're falling behind!” and a stack of trade magazines that only seems to get bigger. So how will we deal with this in the next decade or two? How will people get better and faster at filtering? Will technology help us to know where to find information when we need it, rather than having to cram everything into our brains for possible recall later? –Scott Brenner, technologist, Web developer, consultant for clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to small non-profits

How will various media professions adapt and evolve, and how will they be perceived by audiences? Will some of the budding movements such as the citizen-journalism initiatives out there change the profession, or will they get absorbed into it in some way? –Neil McIntosh, director of editorial development for guardian.co.uk, based in London; one of the first to report on the commercial possibilities of Weblogs; one of Britain’s first blogging journalists

I'm less interested in protecting IP via various DRMs than in seeing and projecting the new kinds of creativity that are being unleashed by access and personal control of information of all kinds. Mash-ups, remixes, homages are all coming faster and smarter every day. What will arts and expression look like? What will we tell ourselves about our lives with so many more voices and visions given access to materials and audiences? –Paul Jones, director of ibiblio.org at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; the original manager of SunSITE, one of the first Web sites in North America

I'm especially interested in blogging and seeing it penetrate throughout the world. I'm interested in promoting blogs and increasing their presence in the media and everyday life. I'm also interested in issues of cyberbullying and how to maintain civility on the Web. –Richard Silverstein, blogger specializing in the US and Mideast politics

Business models in the music industry need to change and are changing, yet one theme that draws my concern is tying an artist's latest product to a sole distributor such as Wal-mart or Starbucks, leaving the consumer with only one option for purchasing it…As a long-time music consumer I'm not pleased. I prefer older models that had the music available in multiple stores (and now through many Internet-based online services). –Jim Wiljanen, president, Evans/Greenwood LLC, MI

1. The future e-government and the interaction with social networking tools and services. 2. The future of e-research tools. 3. The future models of trust and collaboration. –Fadi Salem, research associate, Dubai School of Government; research focuses on e-government and development in the Middle East and North Africa

I'd like to see surveys that passively monitor behavior as opposed to relying on people self-reporting. For example, Internet use. I think use is much higher than reported but when faced with estimating hours the general population is underestimating partly because the actual numbers seem high when looked at but in actual behavior time are not. Also study the haves and have-nots; I'm a go-to person for friends, family, and office staff for “digital” questions. I'm amazed by how much many people do not know. And then I amaze myself with how much I don't when I go to an event like TED and talk to people much smarter than me. Study the digital divide, not from the access standpoint but from the angle of people’s ability to use, understand, and incorporate new tools. –Chris Miller, senior vice president, digital operations and new business for Element 79, an advertising agency

I would like to know more about unexpected industries in emerging markets empowered by a blend of technology/Internet access, and access to education or microfinance, or both. I would like to know about the attitudes of the smartest strategists and scientists among the mobile carriers, especially in regions where there's no copper infrastructure to replace or compete against. I'd like to know more about how kids make video, and how they consume narrative. What does it mean to think in code, to live by code, to grow up online. I would like to know the impact of endless, infinite access to knowledge, art, education. What does it mean when code rules culture? What is the impact of the opening of education and scholarship (MIT Courseware, the Public Library of Science) on competitiveness in the developing world and everywhere else? Havi Hoffman, senior editor, product development, Yahoo!; co-author of “The Tech Buzz Game” and blogger

It will be crucial in the next decade for researchers to begin to examine the implication of ubiquitous technologies in youth lives. While the question of what and how of technology use is important, the contrary question of “why not” and “when not” of technology use will be as important, if not more. The main question should be, “What's special about it?” –Clement Chau, research manager for the Developmental Technologies Research Group at Tufts University

I think it's important to do research about social and educational differences related to the use of the Internet. I'd like also to know more about the dematerialization of documents and the progressing use of digital signatures and identities. The question of who will control contents is fundamental as well.  –Yves Froidevaux, Swiss Federal Statistical Office

Continue to look at what the children are doing. They're writing the book and have the control of where we will be in the future. Do they understand the technology they are being given? Are they ready to move it ahead? Do they care to move it ahead? –Eric Kreider, director of Web services, the University of Akron (Ohio), US

I'll like to know about a new relation between humanities and technology. –Juan Carreón, professor at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and a columnist at CompuChannel

I want to know specifically and honestly what the various governments are doing to implement or improve the Internet and related technologies. The “honestly” aspect is related to a recent White House statement regarding the high level of high-speed Internet access throughout the United States. That statement contradicts the fact that the US has fallen when compared to that technological level in other countries. Due to the recent Internet outage in the Middle East, I want to know what is being done to protect the Internet from similar or more catastrophic outages. –Thomas Lenzo, business and technology consultant, Thomas Lenzo Consulting

How will the Internet affect traditional media over the longer term? Will we see the total demise of print media in favor of online, including the emergence of the e-book as a widespread form of publishing? How will TV cope with the changed demands of IPTV, in terms of producing worthwhile programs, when there's little or no broadcast audience—or is the demise of broadcast a limited phenomenon, and people will want to view quality programs off-air in large-screen home cinemas? –Roderick White, editor, Admap magazine, World Advertising Research Center

Access to, and use of, technology has increased among various socioeconomic groups, yet there remain persistent disparities. How can we better document gaps? How can we better assist in outreach efforts? What are the disadvantages of assuming that technology advances are the key to a so-called civilized society? How do we build “politeness” into a technology-based society—that is, shouldn't we be asking ourselves about core values? Is it OK to shout into a cell phone while you are standing in a grocery store checkout lane? Is it OK to watch home videos that expose a family's tragedies? What about over-exposure to violence? –Linda Keegan, Family Voices of Wisconsin

I have trouble imagining the spectrum of personal and economic situations of 8 or 10 billion people. How many will really be plugged in, for what use? Are there winners and losers? –Robert Grant, chief executive officer, VoyaCare Inc.

In the course of my work I would find it incredibly useful to have up-to-date and reliable statistics on current Internet usage—details such as Internet access by connection speed (dialup, broadband, etc), device type (mobile, laptop, desktop), access statistics by geography, social demographics, etc., as well as identification of trends in these areas and future projections;  state of existing and emerging Web standards as well. –Roy Wetherbee, director of operations for interactive technology, PARTNERS+simons Inc.

Will all interactions be Web-based? And how will privacy be guaranteed within this world? How will we ever be able to adjust to the ever-growing mass of content and information thrown at us every day? –Dan Weingrod, vice president for digital operations, Cronin and Co.; oversees creative online initiatives for integrated marketing communications company

Is the Internet going, in the coming 10 to 20 years, to increase or decrease the digital divide between countries? Technically, it's easy and cheap today to provide basic wireless Internet in all countries (WiMax, LTE...). What can be done to allow equal access to Internet, everywhere in the world, ASAP? –Louis Naugès, president, Revevol, an enterprise 2.0 company with offices in France, Spain, the UK and US; a founder of Microcost, an IT services and hardware company based in France

It would be interesting to explore the social and cultural impacts of different approaches to creating new sites and technology: in specific, some sites are the idea of a person/small team, thrown out for people to adopt and use. Others are the considered exploration of ethnography, user activity, and social/usage context, and the design is targeted to that knowledge. What is the effect of each type of approach? –Duane Degler, user-centered designer and strategist for Design for Context, writer and editor for IPGems, focused on knowledge management, semantic integration and performance improvement

Education ought to change dramatically to allow individuals of all ages to pace themselves and adjust to their own learning styles. Schools with classrooms and 45-minute class periods with canned curriculum should all disappear. They are a waste of time and money. There should be neighborhood learning centers, but no more school systems. –Nancy W. Bauer, chief executive officer and editor-in-chief, WomenMatter Inc.

The surveys assume more and more without asking about trade-offs; e.g., information grows exponentially but hours in the day are fixed. –J.W. Huston, president of Huston Consultancy and futurist

Is there any early evidence of push-back on certain intrusive features of ubiquitous communication? Are people beginning to develop strategies that allow them to be fully connected and available when they want to, but then be able to drop completely off the net when they choose? Is the characteristic anonymity available to Internet users causing any changes in utilization? –Jim Lucas, Web manager, CACI, a provider of national security, defense, and intelligence-related solutions in the interests of the United States

It is equally important to see what kind of communication is happening without the aid of technology, what kind of differences do the youth in these two types of communication?  I also feel it would be pertinent to survey ideas of plagiarism and the Internet. Being a college student I have noticed people generating less original ideas and an influx in regurgitating others’ ideas as their own. –Marshall Mitchell-Servilio, student

I think the impact of technology on education and development are very important. For example, how can cell phones be used for education to those who have little access? How can technology help those in areas where they don't have access to health and other services? How can it help create economic independence? –Kathryn K. Goldfarb, president, KG Communications, an independent consultancy

Will advertising disappear? Will broadcast television really disappear? Will we work 10 hours a week? –Alexandre Winter, co-founder and chief executive officer, LTU Technologies, a global leader in image search and recognition technologies

Please research: 1.  Does the ability to choose information channels meant that people are more likely to get a wider range of information, or do they tend to “self-select” for ideas that fit their prejudices? 2. Is technology not only “flattening” the world, but also improve the “equalizing” of income/wealth levels? –Mike Langum, Web developer, U.S. Office of Personnel Management

As everything goes increasingly online, what kind of things can we do to ensure things like information security and data integrity? –Jay Buys, vice president for digital development, Fleishman Hillard, an international marketing and communications company

Please, less jumping on the seemingly endless number of bandwagons in regards to the Internet and more exposure to the alternates that are out there! The Web, the Internet, is NOT the sum of all our collective parts! By the way, I'm biting the hand that has generously fed me for 15 years by saying that! –William Winton, product manager, digital media, 1105 Government Information Group

I have three questions or concerns. The most basic is some measurement of how the technology impacts the environment and the world either positively or negatively. In its most basic form, is e-mail better than snail mail, environmentally speaking. In a similar vein, and somewhat addressed in this survey, is just how much does technology and most particularly the Internet impact social interactions—and can that be measured in “negative” and “positive” terms. Third, and this is not exactly a survey question, but I would like a better understanding of the underlying architecture that would help me better understand the Internet's potential and limitations. –Michael Castengera, senior lecturer at the University of Georgia’s Grady College and president of Media Strategies and Tactics Inc., a media consulting firm

What is role of associations in a world where social media allow a low barrier to creation of focused communities? –Robert H. Rich, Ph.D., strategic planning and evaluation, American Chemical Society

What are people doing on and with the Internet? In America, is the Internet creating a more perfect union? Or is it providing a means for people to secede from participating. Find this out and you will know what “ubiquitous computing” will mean to the world. –Marco Rivera, Internet specialist, Vistronix Inc., an information management, technological solutions and managed services firm serving federal, state, and local agencies

Is society becoming more connected virtually, but less connected physically with each other and our environment? Lately news headlines report mass killings on college campuses, town meetings, stores etc. by people with no clear motive other than perhaps despair and a desperate need to “be heard.” Technology may be able to connect them, but it cannot make people feel loved and valued. Technology will never replace the human physical touch that we all need. –Charles Hill, a respondent who chose not to share additional identifying details

Industry structures for both Internet access and Internet information: Will a small number of global firms dominate in providing access across the world, or will we continue to see the situation today where there tends to be a mix of international and regional/local providers in each country? What impact will virtual worlds and easier communication have on personal relationships? Will “virtual affairs” be treated the same as physical (real-world) affairs, or will the virtual world be seen as a safe and accepted space in which people may explore having alternate and additional relationships? Further down the track, will this trickle back into the physical world in terms of changing attitudes to relationship behavior? Will we have more or less freedom in terms of “free speech”? –Heath Gibson, manager of research and market analysis, Big Pond, a competitive intelligence company and provider of broadband customer Websites in Australia