Elon University

The 2010 IGF Survey: What does the Internet mean for the future of the world?

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Researchers from the Imagining the Internet Center conducted a video survey of Global IGF 2010 participants, recording interviews with more than 60 stakeholders from all sectors of society about the evolution of the Internet. Use the video viewer below to see a selection of responses. The right-hand column of print next to the video-viewing pane lists a caption for each person interviewed. Scroll through and click on the caption headline for each of the individual videos you wish to view. The question in this video set was: “What does the Internet mean for the future of the world? (Say it in less than 10 seconds.)”

      Links to 2010 questions: 
      >Q1: Cloud computing
      >Q2: The mobile Internet
      >Q3: Human right?
      >Q4: Influence of intermediaries
      >Q5: Influence of the IGF
      >Q6: Greatest hope for the Internet
      >Q7: Greatest fear for the Internet
      >Q8: Future in 10 seconds

      To get an accurate representation of all responses in full, watch all of the videos. Each clip is brief, lasting anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Some respondents gave extended answers; some may be edited for brevity if necessary but the majority should include the full response.

      Most of the people surveyed noted that the open discussions conducted at IGF are important because people can speak freely about the challenges and opportunities of the Internet.

      Print transcript of the comments made in the video on this page:

      Sean Ang, Southeast Asia Center for E-Media, Malaysia: The Internet will now become the world. It’s a new country. A new place where by everyone in the world can come together to share a common mission.

      Alejandro Pisanty, longtime leader in the Internet Society, ICANN, IGF, National University of Mexico: Permanent beta. The Internet, for the future of the world, is a place where you can test everything. Whatever is successful or useful – not necessarily sellable – will grow.

      Vint Cerf, co-inventor the the Internet Protocol and Internet evangelist for Google: I believe if it’s sustained that it will simply become one of the most important information resources known to our civilization. And I hope, too, it will become a platform to spread the democratic sharing of ideas and potentially the spread of democratic principles.

      Lisa Horner, head of research and policy at Global Partners & Associates, UK: It means more empowerment, more human development and unprecedented opportunities to really realize and fulfill human rights.

      Garland McCoy, founder of the Technology Policy Institute, US: Ubiquitous communication/education. Ubiquitous connectivity. A shared, almost universal community, if you will.

      Peng Hwa Ang, director, Singapore Internet Research Centre, Nanyang Technological University: Well, the internet will be the air and water of the world – essential to our lives.

      Nurani Nimpuno, policy leader with NetNod, Sweden, and advisor to Internet Governance Forum: I think the Internet does not only connect people to people, I think it is increasingly growing into a vehicle to not only connect to people but to access services, to access information, and as such it is a great democratizing tool as well.

      David McGuire, vice president of 436 Communications, US: The Internet is the most insignificant development since the printing press. And I think as the printing press was for the future of the world when it was created, the internet is for the future of our world.

      Dave Faulkner, Director of Climate Associates LTD, UK: I think it means the world will act more like a single organism, so humans will be able to join their intelligence together, exchange information, and move together in single directions.

      Mike Sax, president of sax.net, USA: I believe the Internet means increased mutual understanding, bringing people closer together and creating opportunity for people who used to be isolated.

      Cristos Velasco, founder and general director of NACPEC, Mexico: It means access, creation of jobs, certainty for the citizens, for the younger generations, because it’s a very, very important tool for development in the world.

      Belhassen Zouari, CEO – Tunisian Computer Emergency Response Team: The most beautiful opportunity.

      Bertrand de La Chapelle, leader in WSIS, French member of CSTD, ICANN board member: It is the third civilizational step. We had an agricultural revolution and an agricultural society; we have had an industrial revolution; and the third stage is the digital revolution, powered by the Internet and all of the technologies that are related to it. The main issue is that in this environment – because digital goods are replicable at almost no cost – we can create tremendous social and economic value. The challenge will be to increase this social and economic value and define the rules for distributing this value that is created.

      Joonas Makinen, Pirate Youth of Finland: It’s the printing press, television, radio, theater everything combined and even better.

      Patrice Lyons, counsel for the Corporation for National Research Initiatives, US: A hope of resolving disputes in ways that don’t come down to actual armed conflict. But you know humans, as they are. Can we do better as people, can we aspire to that? I think we can.

      Hanane Boujemi, DiploFoundation, Malta: The future of the Internet for the world would mean an open medium where you can exchange information without any obstacles.

      Rajab Faraj, Telecom and Technology of Libya: It means everything. Internet means everything. It means education, it means health, it means business, it means everything for the world. The future of the world is the Internet.

      Fernando Botehlo, F123.org, Brazil: The Internet means we have a mirror where we can see our society in all its glory with all its defects. We can allow it to flourish by not trying to control it and actually facing that reality as a group, society, civil society, the private sector, everyone working together.

      Rafid Fatani, PhD student, University of Exeter, UK: Everything.

      Charles Gaye, VP of Liberia Chapter of the Internet Society: The world is going to be like one room where everyone lives together, they share together, they do everything together, and they do it instantly. That’s what I think of the future of the Internet.

      Tracy Hackshaw, Internet Society ambassador to IGF from Trinidad & Tobago: Everyone connected. Breaking down geographies, breaking down the cultures, breaking down societies, and allowing us the opportunity – and we want to take advantage of it – to communicate and learn from each other.

      Kurt Lindqvist, CEO of NetNod, Sweden: I think the Internet is the enabler for the future of economic growth.

      Xu Jing, Peking University School of Journalism: Well I don’t think it’s a global village, because in a village people are not well informed, but I really believe the Internet can make the world become a social network.

      Kristiyonas Leipus, a participant from Lithuania: It’s the thing that makes the world go ’round.

      Maya Ganesh, independent researcher: The Internet is the future of the world.

      Ambrose Ruyooka, Ministry of ICT, Uganda: The Internet has brought the world together as a global village, a global community, and a global economy.

      Jean-Jacques Subrenat, member of ICANN Board of Directors: Probably the first truly global infrastructure in the history of humanity.

      Pablo Molina, associate VP of IT and campus CIO at Georgetown University: I think that the Internet has the potential to improve human communications and help with the sharing of knowledge, and because of that it can really make the world a better place.

      Marjolijn Bonthuis, adjunct director at ECP-EPN, The Netherlands: I think, in one way, it means everything, because you can’t speak of the Internet as one thing. The Internet is life.

      Andrey Shcherbovich, Moscow State University Higher Economics: It is a mirror reflection of the real world.

      Qusai Al-Shatti, Kuwait Information Technology Society: A better world.

      Vytautas Butrimas, Ministry of National Defense, Lithuania: I remember a while about I read about this Gaia theory, that the earth is a living organism. I think the Internet is like the neural system of this earth. Maybe it’s a possibility that the people of the earth will start thinking as one organism, as one, and recognize what we have in common with each other and saving the planet and come to this realization much earlier. The Internet can do that.

      Vasil Pefev, telerik.com, Bulgaria: Just one of the waves for humanity to prosper and continue forward. We have radio, we have TV, now we have the Internet. The next thing probably is going to be a little pen and you have control over things.

      Valery Trufunau, International Humanitarian Economic Institute, Belarus: Connections. Everything is based on connections. Our Internet will connect everyone with everyone. Everything will be connected

      Rafik Dammak, policy consultant, University of Tokyo, native of Tunisia: The Internet is making our future every day, so we can expect many things. It has allowed people to cooperate, to communicate and everything is done through communication. So the Internet is a catalyst for all our futures.

      – Interviews were conducted by Samantha Baranowski, Kirsten Bennett and Drew Smith, researchers from Elon University’s School of Communications, under the supervision of Glenn Scott, associate professor, and Janna Anderson, associate professor and director of the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon.

      Imagining the Internet report on IGF-Lithuania 2010 home>

      Internet Governance Forum official site>