Elon University

The 2006 Survey: Scenario Seven – Some Luddites/refuseniks will commit terror acts

Responses in reaction to the following provocative future scenario were assembled from a select group of internet stakeholders in the 2006 Pew Internet & American Life/Elon University Predictions Survey. The survey allowed respondents to select from the choices “agree” or “disagree” or to leave the scenario unanswered. Respondents were encouraged to provide a written elaboration to explain their answers; they did not always do so, but those who did provided richly detailed predictive material. Some respondents chose to identify themselves with each answer; many did not. We share some – not all – of the responses here. Workplaces of respondents whose reactions are shared 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 to share more respondents’ replies. This is a selection of the many carefully considered responses to the following scenario.

internet artBy 2020, the people left behind (many by their own choice) by accelerating information and communications technologies will form a new cultural group of technology refuseniks who self-segregate from “modern” society. Some will live mostly “off the grid” simply to seek  peace and a cure for information overload, while others will commit acts of terror or violence in protest against technology.

Compiled reactions from the 742 respondents:
58% agreed
35% disagreed
7% did not respond

Below are select responses from survey participants who agreed to be identified with their statements. To read reactions from anonymous participants responding to this question, please click here.

Never underestimate the hegemonic power of the post-industrial era. If there is social unrest, poverty (not information) will be at the heart of it. – Peter P. Nieckarz Jr., assistant professor of sociology, Western Carolina University; internet user since 1993Agree but it doesn’t matter. Tech Luddites are like the survivalists of our current times. They have withdrawn and therefore don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Al-Qaeda are definitely NOT Luddites! – Stewart Alsop, investor and analyst; former editor of InfoWorld and Fortune columnist; internet user since 1994

This is, I think, dangerous thinking – branding those who don’t buy a vision of technology nirvana as terrorists is a type of blackmail. – Paul Blacker, head of broadband strategy, British Telecom; internet user since 1993

The association of acts of terrorism with lack of access to technologies has no basis in history or reality. There may be protests, but no 9/11s! – Ian Peter, internet pioneer, helped develop the internet in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region in the 1980s; maintains a project on the future of the internet – the Internet Mark II Project; internet user since 1986

Again, this is a pattern repeated through history and will not change. From “flower power” to fundamental Islam, there will always be those who get their kicks from being outside of the mainstream of life. – Adrian Schofield, head of research for ForgeAhead (focused on ICT research and consulting in Africa), South Africa; a leader in the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA); internet user since 1994

Some already do. They’re called cults and survivalists. Y2K was a fantasy for many, who feel too dependent on the grid. – Douglas Rushkoff, author of many books about net culture, teacher, New York University; internet user since 1985

I agree, but only technically, with the statement as written. Yes, there will be some who “live off the grid”, mostly disconnected from everyone except the few with whom they choose to have contact. There already are. There always have been! Yes, there will probably be VERY isolated incidents of a VERY few “attacks” against information technology, just as there have always been attacks against all previous technologies. E.g., some people have been known to toss slugs into the coin-collection machines at tollbooths, or sugar in gas-tanks, or the occasional acts of the Luddites of a century ago. But applying the wildly over-abused phrase, “acts of terror” to such “attacks” is completely inappropriate; more for breathless entertainment media, than for legitimate description. – Jim Warren, internet pioneer (founding editor of Dr. Dobb’s Journal), technology-policy advocate and activist, futurist; internet user since 1970

That’s a pretty safe prediction. What are the odds that there won’t be anyone fitting that description in 2020? – Fred Hapgood, author and consultant; internet user since 1981

This will happen. The interesting question is whether these acts will be considered terrorism or civil disobedience. John Brunner’s “Neuromancer” suggests that we should keep an open mind about this. – Marc Rotenberg, executive director Electronic Privacy Information Center; internet user since 1978

In principal I agree, but the numbers will not be significant. – Amos Davidowitz, director of education, training and special programs for Institute of World Affairs, Association for Progressive Education; internet user since 1994

Yes, and I hope it happens soon – we need some strong dissenting voices about the impact of this technology in our lives. so far, its been mostly the promise of a cure all, just like the past “Industrial Revolution.” – Denzil Meyers, founder and president, Widgetwonder (internal branding consultants and facilitators of corporate storytelling), Applied Improvisation Network; internet user since 1993

But this is ALREADY happening. The Jihad with which we are now at war is being led by people who prefer the 7th century to the Internet. – Bob Metcalfe, Ethernet inventor, founder of 3Com Corporation, former CEO of InfoWorld, now a venture capitalist and partner in Polaris Venture Partners; internet user since 1970

There will be incidents, but I don’t think they’ll be widespread or particularly effective. After all, the nouveau-Luddites won’t have the benefit of technology for planning and organizing, will they? – Reva Basch, consultant for Aubergine Information Systems (online research expert); internet user since 1973

Honestly, given the (re)rise of integrist religion worldwide (certainly pretty much for all monotheist ones) and their hankering for obscurity, I’m surprised that such acts of terror haven’t happened yet. Instead, they seem to have embraced the Web as a means to broadcast their message, communicate amongst themselves, and recruit new members. It is certainly true that the fact that vast amounts of information are available does not mean that people access them, and it is very easy to remain insular on the Web. That being said, I’d be surprised if there wasn’t at least one sect to attempt violent action against the internet in the close future. – Robin Berjon, W3C and Expway; internet user since 1996

Just can’t see it. – Michael Gorrell, senior VP and CIO for EBSCO; internet user since 1994

I agree, unfortunately, but in a few generations this group will die out but in the meantime they’ll be a problem. I’m already familiar with several colleagues who have chosen to only pay cash for items and eschew cellular telephones because they can be tracked. Being “always connected” is not healthy, any more than it’s healthy to be always awake. It’s also not particularly good for your survival to be out of touch with your surroundings (the wolf may be outside the door). I predict that specialized intelligent filters will become popular to self-select information for people and filter out adware, pop-ups, nuisance mail and everything we haven’t thought of yet. The motivation will be to reduce the annoyance factor with dealing with the mountain of detritus that passes for information on the network. Humans do a remarkably good job of making decisions without having access to all the facts. We should revel in that ability. – William Kearns, assistant professor at the University of South Florida; internet user since 1992

With technology, the “Luddites” won’t be able to congeal enough to cause significant impact. – Willis Marti, associate director for networking, Texas A&M University; internet user since 1983

That is absurd. – Tom Snook, CTO, New World Symphony, internet user since 1967

Today’s eco-terrorists are the harbingers of this likely trend. Every age has a small percentage that cling to an overrated past of low technology, low energy, life style. Led by people who only know the idealized past, not the reality of often painful past life styles, these Luddites will use violence to seek to stop even very positive progress. It is unclear to me how much of such aggression is the nature of the individual who seeks a ‘rationale’ for her/his more personalized or inherent rage versus the claimed positive goals of such actors. – Ed Lyell, pioneer in issues regarding internet and education, professor at Adams State College; internet user since 1965

A few people may make this choice. Some do now. Most will not become violent, but we’ll always have a few like Jim Jones and David Koresh and a few misguided folks will follow. – Joe Bishop, VP business development, Marratech AB; internet user since 1994

And not just Luddites; also people of various political or religious stripes who want their own separate communities. Once again, why is this a prediction? This sort of thing has been going on for a long time: Pilgrims, Amish, Branch Dravidians, etc. If anything, it’s becoming more difficult because everything is becoming more interdependent. However, better independent solar power generation could change that. – John S. Quarterman, president InternetPerils Inc.; publisher of the first “maps” of the internet; internet user since 1974

I agree to an extent. This is already happening today in a limited fashion (there is a measurable population that prefers “not to adopt”). I don’t believe that this group will adopt terror tactics to get their point across though. Technological adoption is the sum of choices made by a market. Technical modernity can only progress so far as the mass market chooses to allow it. And those that don’t choose in favor of technology will make other market choices. The equilibrium will, in all likelihood, be much more peaceful than the anti-techno-terrorist picture you’ve painted. – Ross Rader, director of research and innovation, Tucows Inc; internet user since 1991

Of course, there are the accidental acts that turn into harm; and there are potentially those who act against technology. I believe the latter are a very short list. I think that the former are a longer list and will not create harm, if informed of the risks. And if they indeed want to live without the technological benefits. There is a different group not mentioned, or perhaps I missed this: those who are left behind because of cost, handicap, etc, whose anger and displacement is targeted. What they want is access and the ability to fully participate… their acts of anger or harm are those that we should prevent – by addressing their needs. – Marilyn Cade, CEO and principal, ICT Strategies, MCADE, LLC; also with Information Technology Association of America (business alliance); internet user since 1986

Though I think that many people will chose a slower, meaning-seeking way of living, they will be a non-threatening, important fringe-group. Why important? In 1994, an international conference in London on resistance to new technologies concluded that: (1) a certain amount of such resistance is useful to society because it serves as a “rein” to control possible excesses in the use of the new technology; (2) such resistance is frequently the product of bad design of the interface between the user and the system (like the first automobiles, which required every driver to know how to fix his own auto, because there were no mechanics on every street-corner – today, the interface design has improved, and the whole auto is a “black box” to every driver). Just as those who used to throw stones at “horseless carriages” are no longer with us, so, too, the crazies who protest against very useful and environmentally-friendly technologies, will eventually be drawn to other pursuits. – Fredric M. Litto, professor, University of Sao Paulo; president, ABED-Brazilian Association for Distance Education; internet user since 1993

Of course there will be more Unabombers! – Cory Doctorow, self-employed journalist, blogger, co-editor of Boing Boing; born in Canada and now lives in London; EFF Fellow; internet user since 1987

In 2020 I will be 75 years old. Many of the “Baby-Boomers” will be over 70 years old. This large group of people may indeed be sick of the constant intrusion of technology and nostalgic for a more human-centered time. If they get together with young, philosophically-inspired anti-technology activists, things could get interesting. The trick will be to make the technology transparent and humane. – Martin F. Murphy, IT consultant, City of New York; internet user since 1993

Seems like science fiction. More likely they will simply remain disconnected – which is fine if it’s an informed choice. – Anthony Rutkowski, VP for regulatory and standards, Verisign; a co-founder and former executive director of the Internet Society; active leader in International Telecommunication Union (ITU); internet user since 1979

I doubt there will be a new digital divide along the lines postulated here. I think there will be a continuum of technology use that can be measured as “face time” versus “screen time.” I think there are good reasons that “screen time” will never overtake “face time.” Well, maybe one exception. There will probably be some pathological cases of being addicted to virtual realities. Interestingly enough, this may be caused by spending too much time in youth interacting with games (and perfecting that genre) instead of interacting with other kids (and perfecting the pleasures of inter-personal relationships in the real world). By the way, in 2020, it may no longer be “screens” with which we interact. What I mean by “screen time” in 2020 is time spent thinking about and interacting with artificially-generated stimuli. Human-to-human non-mediated interaction counts as “face time” even if you do it with a telephone or video wall. – Glenn Ricart, executive director, Price Waterhouse Coopers Advanced Research; member of the board of trustees of the Internet Society; internet user since 1968

Resistance has and always will be technical. – Geert Lovink, media theorist, professor and internet critic, Institute of Network Cultures, University of Amsterdam; internet user since 1993

Hype. Have you seen many radical Amish converts lately? – Seth Finkelstein, anti-censorship activist and programmer, author of the Infothought blog and an EFF Pioneer Award winner

The premise is that IT will make huge advances in terms of its impact to the general population. While I expect continuing advances in our ability to harness IT for societal good (and bad), I don’t expect such dramatic changes in daily life. The past 15 years – 1990 to 2005 – represented the diffusion of the Internet and cell phones to the general population. The preceding 15 years – 1975-1990 – represented the diffusion of the PC to the general population. Although the advances in the past 30 years have been remarkable, much of daily life is not so different. Maybe we will finally see the long-threatened convergence of information technologies and, as a consequence, vastly improved capabilities. But I am not so convinced. – Alan Inouye, internet policy analyst previously with the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Research Council; internet user since 1990

I think that this is a serious possibility. But they stick with Luddite technology, they won’t be much of a threat. The real danger, in my opinion, is the Bill Joy scenario: techno-savvy terrorists. – Hal Varian, professor at University of California-Berkeley; Google; internet user since 1986

This has already happened (e.g., the Unabomber), so it is hardly a forecast. The question is how many such attacks will happen and how large they will be. While anti-technology activists may capture our imagination, the risk will come from fundamentalists generally, and religiously-motivated eschatological terrorists in particular. But the good news is that this trend will gradually burn itself. The Caliphate will not return, the apocalypse will not happen, and eventually world populations will come to their senses. Even lone terrorists must swim in a social sea, and the sea will become less tolerant of their existence. Notions of “super-empowered individuals” terrify us today in the same way that H-bombs terrified our parents and grandparents half a century ago. But if we are lucky, they will, like H-bombs, remain more looming threat than actual disaster. – Paul Saffo, forecaster and strategist, director, Institute for the Future; serves on many boards, including the Long Now Foundation; Internet user since 1978

There are those that will always find an excuse for antisocial and violent behaviour, and no doubt a few of “these” will grab at any excuse (though there are so many for them to choose from already)… However the value of accessing education/ information and trade/work opportunities though the Internet should allow those who choose to go “on grid” to respect those who don’t right to choose and visa versa. – Cheryl Langdon-Orr, independent internet business operator and director for ISOC-Australia; internet user since 1977

Your thesis looks like politically motivated propaganda. There is no real data that would justify the connection of acts of terror with people refusing to use communication technologies. In fact exact opposite is a real danger – governments, corporations and privileged circles eager to use new technologies to facilitate terror and deprive people from their rights. – Wladyslaw Majewski, OSI CompuTrain SA, ISOC Polska; internet user since 1989

Human diversity dictates that some humans will always disagree with the mainstream. – Luc Faubert, consultant, dDocs Information Inc.; president of Quebec’s Internet Society chapter and an ambassador to the World Summit on Information Society; member of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR); internet user since 1985

I hung out with neo-Luddites in 1995-6. This is not a new issue, and among them there was a big debate about proper responses. Of course the anti-tech people in Earth First! felt violence against machines was okay. Most of the others including Amish, anti-tech humanists felt this was quite wrong. I interviewed a green anarchist name John Zerzan. He is a “primitivist” yet in order to get speaking engagement to promote his philosophy he had to get an e-mail account. The colleges would not use the phone or U.S. mail to contact him! – Steve Cisler, former senior library scientist for Apple, founder of the Association for Community Networking, now working on public-access projects in Guatemala, Ecuador and Uganda; internet user since 1989

This is, unfortunately, a likely outcome, as we’ve already had instances of this already. Examples include Ted Kaczinsky, or people setting fire to homes and buildings built in environmental areas to get their point across. “Pro-life” never became a term until technology advanced to the point that abortions could be done routinely and safely – now some fringe groups have turned to violence. While we’ve been overall lucky to not have experienced significant terrorism or violence, the increasing pervasiveness of technology could serve to anger certain individuals enough to resort to violence. – Philip Joung, Spirent Communications (wireless positioning products); internet user since 1989

This is an extremely alarming proposition akin to Sci-Fi movie storylines. However, it is indeed a possibility – the digital divide could indeed divide us into distinct cultural groups – no longer will it be the “have” and the “have-nots,” but more likely it will be the “have-tech” and “no-tech”. – Rajnesh J. Singh, PATARA Communications & Electronics Ltd., Avon Group, GNR Consulting, ISOC Pacific Islands; internet user since 1993

It is not Luddites who will do this, but others. By becoming a valuable infrastructure, the Internet itself will become a target. For some, the motivation will be the Internet’s power (and impact), for others it will just be a target to disrupt because of potential impact of such a disruption. – Thomas Narten, IBM open-internet standards development; Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) liaison to ICANN; internet user since 1983

There will always be deviants. It’s variety that helps ensure our survival, and even gives our survival meaning and hope. However, “Luddite” motivated violence will be limited, compared to other motivations; we’re going to have much more serious problems then! (E.g.: Political/religious reform, energy crises, GMO food scares, small entities developing WMDs, etc.). – Michael Steele; internet user since 1978

I actually agree with this premise but think that 15 years is too soon. It will take more time or a dramatic technology event/disaster before we realize what we have “given up” for technology. – Sharon Lane, president, WebPageDesign; internet user since 1990

There are indeed Luddites and Refuseniks, and there are terrorists in the world. They will continue to exist. – Fred Baker, CISCO Fellow, CISCO Systems, Internet Society (ISOC) chairman of the board; Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF); internet user since 1987

Human nature being as it is, there will be acts of terror using the ubiquitous ultra high bandwidth capabilities, but not to a paralyzing degree. Technology will always find a way to, if not “stay” ahead of the “bad guys,” at least to “get” ahead of them and thus, keep these destroyers at bay. – Don Heath, board member, iPool, Brilliant Cities Inc., Diversified Software, Alcatel, Foretec; internet user since 1988

I don’t believe that the Luddites/Refuseniks are to blame for this prediction, and whilst I suspect the prediction of the three kinds of people is correct, the people that are left behind will not mainly be by their own choice, it will be a choice made by their politicians or cultural leaders. – Alan Levin, programmer, designer, systems and network architect; chairman of the ISOC South Africa chapter; serves on the boards of Future Perfect Corporation, AfriNIC and .za DNA; internet user since 1994

Terrorists burn down laboratories in protest of animal-testing today, and fell power lines in protest of fossil fuels. This will continue, sadly. – John Browning, co-founder of First Tuesday, a global network dedicated to entrepreneurs; former writer for The Economist and other top publications; internet user since 1989

It seems natural that the social changes now underway will lead to those who act against them. What is less clear is whether they will do so without the help of technology. I suspect that effective challenges to these social and economic changes will only come about through the use of information technologies. The model here is not the Luddites, but the Zapatista movement. – Alex Halavais, assistant professor, State University of New York-Buffalo; internet user since 1984

There will absolutely be those who attempt to live “off the grid.” The changes these technologies are bringing are massive, difficult to conceive and terrifying to many. Information overload is already a big problem. I’m not sure that acts of terror or violence will take place simply to protest technology, though that is certainly a possibility. I do think that random acts of senseless violence and destruction will continue and expand due to a feeling of 21st century anomie, and an increasing sense of lack of individual control. – Martin Kwapinski, senior content manager, FirstGov.gov, the U.S. Government’s Official Web Portal; internet user since 1997

Sure, but this has happened for generations. I don’t see it as anything more than what has always been – and going back to the desert has its attractions. – Leigh Estabrook, professor, University of Illinois; internet user since 1978

I agree because it’s such a big world that this scenario will surely play out somewhere. That doesn’t mean that it will be important. – Peter Levine, director of CIRCLE (Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement), University of Maryland; internet user since 1993

I strongly object to the ideological induction of the comment “many of them by their own choice” in the above sentences. “Many of them not by their own choice” would have meant the same but caused the contrary bias. I also do not think that people will commit acts of terror or violence in protest against technology, directly, but against social, political and economic conditions that bind the development of technologies as well as other human endeavours. -Suely Fragoso, professor, Unisinos, Brazil; internet user since 1994

I agree however these will be a very small number of people. History shows us that there will always be refusniks living off the grid away from any current technology. There will always be those who choose not to access technologies even though they are able and capable (financially, socially, culturally), as well as those who would like to access but are unable. – Mark Gaved, The Open University, United Kingdom; internet user since 1987

Do you make the mistake of using the term “Luddite” as a negative? Remember that the original Luddites did not want to destroy technology because they did not understand it. They did so because they saw that it simply made a small group rich and a large group poorer and even less able to control their lives. If ICTs continue to be used for personal gain and by powerful governments and corporations to control freedoms and limit opportunities for the majority, then the above is not only likely, but highly necessary. Not quite storming the Winter Palace, but certainly information terrorism on Mountain View and Redmond! – Andy Williamson, managing director for Wairua Consulting Limited, New Zealand; a member of the NZ government’s Digital Strategy Advisory Group; internet user since 1990

How could this not be true? There won’t be many, but even one would make this prediction true. I don’t anticipate this group will be very large. – Randy Kluver, executive director, Singapore Internet Research Centre; internet user since 1989

Terror acts, in my opinion, cannot be expected by neo-Luddites, but by the groups resisting modernization processes based on a more general rejection of values and cultural practices it brings about. People uneasy with technology in a “modern,” “Western” society will probably represent a small minority. However, cultural reaction to the all-pervasive technology is already happening. It is not of the Luddite/Refusenik type, but evident in the predilection for drawing, hand-made objects and the like. Paradoxically enough, some of these practices then get “recycled” in a computer-based context. Lots of interplay of these trends can be expected rather than an outright rejection of technology. – Mirko Petric, University of Zadar, Croatia; internet user since 1996

If by “luddites and refuseniks” you mean legislators, and if by “acts of terror . . . in protest against technology” you mean reactionary legislation, then yes, I endorse this prediction heartily. Seriously, terrorists like the Luddites and refuseniks like the Amish have proven to be interesting but historically insignificant. The most important resistance to technology comes from those who oppose change for ideological, religious, economic, or political reasons. These are the forces that have used government power to stifle progress in many times and places and could do so again. – Gary Chapman, director, The 21st Century Project, LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas – Austin, internet user since 1982

I agree with this statement, though the acts of terror will likely be directed at those who are controlling the technology at the expense of others rather than the technology itself. – Sam Punnett, president, FAD research (consultant on strategy, marketing, and product-development issues related to e-business); internet user since 1988

Every modern culture has a counter-culture. Every culture has extremists willing to commit violence to express their views. Nothing new here. – Scott Moore, online community manager, Helen and Charles Schwab Foundation; internet user since 1991

This is possible, especially in light of the scenario just presented where individual lives lost their privacy. Technology changes so rapidly that keeping up with it can be both a burden and tiresome and often a distraction form just being able to get on with what you really want to do that I can well imagine some people forming communes without any of this modern communication technology. – Barbara Craig, Victoria University; internet user since 1993

God bless them. Or was that us? – Edward Lee Lamoureux, associate professor, Bradley University

The advantage of the technical environment is choice. However, the long-term cost of these individual decisions may have to be borne by the folks who do engage the technology. – Jim Jansen, assistant professor, Penn State University; internet user since 1993

Is highly probable that we will have terror acts in the networked information society but not by technological discontents. To transform in active opposition, the Luddist disagreements would need to converge with another political or social ideologies. – Raul Trejo-Delarbre, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico; internet user since 1993

Eventually this is a likely scenario (although not necessarily by 2020). However, it doesn’t have to go this way. Our choices in regards to access will impact this outcome substantially. -Nan Dawkins, co-founder of RedBoots Consulting; internet user since 1997

Technology is the key to small groups projecting power. While this may be the case in some instances, it will not be a major force as the rest of the world will simply route around them. If anything, conflicts will be between those who use technology for different ends. – Ted M. Coopman, activist, social science researcher, instructor at the University of Washington, Seattle, member of AoIR board of directors

This will probably happen – people are already doing this in modern societies and committing acts of terror against modern societies, but I really wanted to disagree because it’s too much like a synopsis for a Michael Crichton book/movie/TV series. – Janine van der Kooy, information management/librarian; internet user since 1997

I’m sure it will happen, but I don’t think it’s going to happen a lot or with many people. We already have people, such as the Amish, who spurn modern technology. – Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief, SearchEngineWatch.com; internet user since 1994

While the followers of Mr. Ludd may have been able to smash up cotton mills, those who are left outside the Internet have only limited options for experiencing or understanding what it is that they are excluded from. It seems more likely to me that existing terror groups will attack the system from within, rather than without. – Mike Kent, professor of social policy, Murdoch University, Australia; internet user since 1994

This I believe. But I don’t think they will be Luddites. They may just be Chinese, poor, or really angry. – Torill Mortensen, associate professor, Volda University College, Norway; internet user since 1991

By 2020, every citizen of the world will be as closely monitored as the Palestinians are in the Gaza strip today. No one will be able to get off the grid. – Charlie Breindahl, external lecturer, University of Copenhagen, IT University of Copenhagen; internet user since 1996

This is pretty much impossible for people who want access to social resources. People who never had access may continue to not have access, but that is not Luddite. They make like not having access. However those who have grown up with access to social resources have lost the skills to live without them, and they will be drawn back to the grid in times of need. – Jason Nolan, associate professor, Ryerson University, Canada; internet user since 1987

We will suffer terrorist attack but not against technology. The terrorist will use the technology to accomplish their goals in economical terms or identity fundamentalism. – Carlos Fernandez, CCRTV, telecom company in Barcelona, Ph.D. student

There will be non-adopters but that might not launch a terrorist cause. The true terrorists will continue to use the Internet for bad causes such as hacking and posting gruesome terrorists acts. The Internet provides more opportunities for terrorists to show their deeds. Thus, they would not kill the goose that lays the eggs. – Richard Yee, competitive intelligence analyst, AT&T; internet user since 1995

Agree there will be refuseniks, but not enough Unabombers to make it a trend. Prediction: “Luddite” will be retaken by technoskeptics as a positive term. – Barry Parr, analyst for the media group, Jupiter Research; internet user since 1990

For sure there is another Unabomber out there somewhere. – Kevin Schlag, director of web development and IT for Western Governor’s University, BYU-Hawaii; internet user since 1993

Some people who do not or cannot adapt to these new technologies will feel threatened by them or by their power and a small number will probably try to destroy them. – Michael S. Cann Jr., CEO of Affinio Corporation; internet user since 1992

Maybe this will be true but I believe it is much more likely that effective terrorists will be early adapters of technology and will use technological sophistication to organize and commit acts of terror. – Carter Headrick, director of grassroots and field operations for Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids; internet user since 1993

Yes, but nothing unusual nor something to get excited about. The sort of stuff you describe is what people do when their environment changes. This will be just another rendition of the same process. – Bud Levin, program head/psychology and commander/policy and planning, Blue Ridge Community College; Waynesboro (VA) Police Department; internet user since 1988

Another niche. No big deal though mostly peaceful except when the wackos among every group strike randomly. – Michael Collins, CEO, internet user since 1996

This is a dark reality, but call them any name, the have and have-nots are separated. – Stan Felder, president and CEO, Vibrance Associates, LLC; internet user since 1985

Those attacking the system will be its critics from within, not without. – Toby Miller, professor, University of California-Riverside; internet user since 1990

It is likely that this disruption will cause social frictions and acts of vandalism/violence. – Steffan Heuer, U.S. correspondent, brand eins Wirtschaftsmagazin; internet user since 1994

The New Terrorism might be cyber-terrorism. This will be a rebellion against the mass culture of technology. – Howard Finberg, director of interactive media, The Poynter Institute; internet user since 1991

While there will be Luddites and refusniks who commit acts of terror or violence in protest against technology, I believe the numbers will be small. Most will just choose to live in isolation and in separate societies. – Mitchell Kam, Willamette University, Oregon; internet user since 1979

We call them Luddites now, when they smash the nearby server farm, do we then call them servites? – A. White, a respondent preferred not to share more identifying information.

A no-brainer – of course some will. And some may become violent. Hopefully, not too many, and not too often. – Jeffrey Branzburg, educational consultant for National Urban Alliance, Center for Applied Technologies in Education and other groups; internet user since 1997

It’s difficult to imagine how someone would pose a terror act against something that is openly accessible to the masses.The internet is not an “institution” in the definition of social sciences. Anybody can use the web if they like to, even if it’s to publish anti-web ideas! – Nicolas Ritoux, freelance technology reporter for La Presse, Montréal and other media outlets; internet user since 1995

Not all nations will be equally connected, just as today not all nations are equally affluent. But the more digitally advanced a society overall, the more a digital underclass can be a threat, and the greater the gap between the digital haves and have-nots the greater the tension in certain circumstances. We can imagine the UN (and Bono?) organizing “upgrades” for countries with a disproportionate number of digitally disadvantaged people. – Ralph Blanchard, investor, information services entrepreneur; internet user since 1994

I am not sure that they will self-segregate; religious and nationalistic fundamentalism may restrict people’s access. – Janet Salmons, president, Vision2Lead Inc. (consultants on organizational leadership and development and virtual learning); internet user since 1985

There are other things to get riled up about – religion, national identity and belonging, and other cultural elements will be far more irritating than any on-grid and off-grid dichotomy. – Susan Wilhite, design anthropologist, Habitat for Humanity; internet user since 1993

My agreement with this prediction is based on violent actors’ use of information as a pretext for their actions rather than the spontaneous demonstration of an anti-ICT sect. – Ellen K. Sullivan, former diplomat, policy fellow, George Mason University School of Public Policy; internet user since 1988

Luddites and Refuseniks may commit terror acts, but I question whether their aim will be at the Internet or technology. My sense is that technology will become like skin – so common that we forget we’re in it. Devices will be infused with some manner of intelligence and fit into all manner of objects, from clothing to prescriptions. So it won’t be a simple thing to live “off the grid” – unless, of course, you’re a Unabomber type. But those types are rare and live only at the antisocial fringe. – Barry K. Chudakov, principal, The Chudakov Company; internet user since 1989

This is a premise for a sci-fi novel. To the extent that this occurs today, it will continue. But it will continue to be a fringe activity. If this were rephrased in terms of major political or religious spheres – e.g. North Korea, certain sects of Islam – opting out of global connectivity, there is a more interesting discussion. – Kerry Kelley, VP product marketing, SnapNames.com; internet user since 1986

Constant change will spook some into trying to slow everyone down through horrific and catastrophic terrorist attacks against information infrastructure and all that rely upon it. – Sean Mead, consultant for Interbrand Analytics, Design Forum, Mead Mead & Clark and other companies; internet user since 1989

Never happened before, not going to happen in the future. Technology has been, is and will be a force for liberation and progress. – Rob Atkinson, director, Technology and New Economy Project, Progressive Policy Institute (a think tank); previously project director at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment; internet user since 1993

Luddites already commit terror acts. For example, there are religious extremists that aren’t willing to modernize their faith. Living off the grid (comfortably) will be extremely difficult in 2020. – Brian T. Nakamoto, Everyone.net (a leading provider of outsourced email solutions for individuals and companies around the world); internet user since 1990

The nature of the technology is to facilitate communication between individuals, rapidly diminishing the likelihood that violent objection will accompany technological change. Did anyone violently object to cell phones? To instant messaging? To email? The cat is out of the bag. People will be left behind – some by choice, but the majority will simply be unable to afford to participate in the pace of change – a technological change that is individual and consumer-driven, and consequently requires significant disposable income. – Nicco Mele, internet strategist, political web architecture expert

Violent animal rights activists already operate, demonstrating that groups in opposition to modern rationalism already exist. – Henry Potts, professor, University College, London; internet user since 1990

There should have been another choice here: can’t say. The psyche of Man is to grow as “powerful” (interpret it for yourself) as thy neighbor, no one would want to be left behind. Violence and terror – may be the cause vanishes, may not be intra-globe but inter-planetary (or intra universe!) Extremism may be passe! – Alik Khanna, Smart Analyst Inc. (business employing financial analysts in India); internet user since 1996

Acts of cyber-terror will come from the same sources that terror comes from now. It will not be Luddites. Rather it will be those who are struggling against the losses of freedom, privacy, autonomy, etc. who lack the resources to struggle in conventional ways and who will resort to whatever methods are available to them in asymmetrical wars. Ironically, increasing reliance on vulnerable technologies will make cyber attacks increasingly attractive to the relatively powerless. – Benhamin Ben-Baruch, senior market intelligence consultant and applied sociologist, Aquent, General Motors, Eastern Michigan University; internet user since 1980

But it cuts both ways. Even today, a sign of one’s importance or prestige in business circles can be seen by how little the person interacts with ICTs – CEOs having their assistants read all their emails and print out only relevant ones for them to read comes to mind – and this ability to filter out the informational noise will likely be as much a sign of one’s power and importance as the powerless person who drops out. – Shawn McIntosh, lecturer in strategic communications, Columbia University; internet user since 1992

Once again, this has happened and is happening. Why should we expect it to cease happening in the future? If there is a resolution out there, it will not have surfaced by 2020. – Walt Dickie, VP and CTO, C&R Research; internet user since 1992

There are always extremists in our society and I do not see they could alter history in the long run. – Yiu Chan, internet user since 1995

There have been contrarians to every domain of human existence. The Luddites may form loose confederations of cells, similar to current terror organizations. But in an adaptable, networked world, they will either be forced to use the tools they decry (which will make them accessible to law enforcement) or they will be ineffectual due to their isolation. – Jeff Hammond, VP, Rhea and Kaiser; internet user since 1992

WTO-type protests grow in scale and scope, driven by the increasing economic stratification in society. Some fringe groups or even cults emerge that isolate themselves from society, using virtual private networks. – Peter Kim, senior analyst, marketing strategy and technology team, Forrester Research; internet user since 1993

Some will make the choice not to participate online, and many of them will be happy. I also think we will have a third group that might be important. A great number of people will still need to do “manual labor,” not having much benefit from the web. Some will be poor, uneducated, etc. The socioeconomic gaps in society may become larger as a result. – Sturle J. Monstad, University of Bergen, Norway; internet user since 1989

There’s not much of a chance for this to happen, as the Luddites will – by definition – lack the communication tools that even the most primitive collaborations require today. – Roger Scimé, self-employed web designer; internet user since 1994

While this will occur (it occurs today), the 2020 version of the Luddite will be the Open-Sourcer, tech-savvy people who refuse not the technology, but participation in the manipulative culture. – Daniel Conover, new-media developer, Evening Post Publishing; internet user since 1994

Don’t we already have this? It seems to me that allowing/encouraging others to create a place for themselves off the grid is a viable solution for them. We can use the power and influence of the web to support others and encourage them to participate. – Walter J. Broadbent, VP, The Broadbent Group; internet user since 1994

People who embrace technology will and do also commit terror acts. Depending on how one defines a “terrorist act,” one can say that Enron traders acted like terrorists by shutting down power plants to drive up energy shares. New York City MTA strikers committed terrorist acts by disabling its customers and cohorts and their ability to move about New York City. Don’t hackers and media pirates commit terrorist acts on technology and media businesses and the viability of the people who work in those industries? Simply taking advantage of technology does not make one immune from thinking about or committing terrorist acts. – Elle Tracy, president and e-strategies consultant, The Results Group; internet user since 1993

Such groups will be too insignificant in size and importance if technology is not explicitly forced upon us by anyone (that’s the only thing that truly cause violent and targeted re-action). – Mikkel Holm Sørensen, software and intelligence manager, Actics Ltd. (ethical management systems); internet user since 1997

And the other way round – non technophiles will be outcasts, social pariahs outside the “compulsary” net of information, data and success. As long as we model this world without taking into account freedom of choice and ethics, that is. – Miguel Sicart Vila, junior research associate, Information Ethics Group, Oxford University; internet user since 1997

Since the internet will continue to be disruptive, it will garner the attention of luddites and refusniks. What will be interesting is to see how many of these develop from the internet generation, those teenagers now who have grown up with internet ever present. Will a portion of this generation be turned against the internet? – Jeff Corman, government policy analyst, Industry Canada, Government of Canada; internet user since 1995

You betcha. I’m surprised that it is not already more prevalent. – Cary Curphy, operations research analyst, U.S. Army; internet user since 1989

There will continue to be a continuum, from people who want the latest in information technology, whatever it may be, to those who seek pleasure and knowledge in other less-technical ways. Thank heavens. – Cheris Kramarae, professor, Center for the Study of Women in Society, University of Oregon; internet user since 1976

I think the people left behind will fight to get the chance to get in. Internet is not a way of life; it is just an ordinary tool. For that reason, people who actually live in communities who chose to segregate from modern society are already using Internet to fight for their right to stay apart and to connect with other communities like theirs. – María Laura Ferreyra, strategic planner, Instituto Universitario Aeronautico; ISOC member in Argentina; internet user since 1996

Sadly, I agree with this. However, living mostly “off the grid” will remove one of the best ways to stop terrorism – a citizenry that is informed and engaged, which tips the balance to the ignorant who are far too prevalent today. – Mike Samson, interactive media writer and producer, Creative Street Media Group; internet user since 1989

This could well be true if the Internet is totally commercialized. In the same way that eco-terrorism has grown out of the frustrations of environmentalists who feel that they have been ignore and disenfranchised, so too could others if the Internet becomes a capital driven marketplace. – Rick Gentry, acquisition coordinator, Greenpeace; internet user since 1995

It is possible that there is a division in the society among people to favor and against the new technologies, but I don’t believe that they arrive to the end to commit acts of terror or violence in protest against technology. – Sabino M. Rodriguez, MC&S Services; internet user since 1994

NO. Dumb question. – Doug Olenick, computer technology editor, TWICE (This Week In Consumer Electronics) Magazine; internet user since 1996

As long as you recognize religious fundamentalists as luddites as well. – Alix L. Paultre, executive editor, Hearst Business Media, Smartalix.com, Zep Tepi Publishing; internet user since 1996

Isn’t this already the case? Technological advancement always breeds a certain amount of displacement, and nothing to date will compare to the eventual impact of the Internet as a communication medium. – Al Amersdorfer, president and CEO, Automotive Internet Technologies; internet user since 1985

This question, itself, has a pro-technology, elitist bias. Probably some will do some of the outcomes suggested; it’s presently worded in a too continguent, inadequately nuanced way. I suspect that some of the present Muslim antipathy results from traditional economic inequalities and concerns with corrupting effects of modern [read Western] mass, information-driven culture/economies. – Joe Schmitz, assistant professor, Western Illinois University; internet user since 1985

Sure. The Unabomber was only the first dissident to actively attempt to subvert the overriding technology and information mechanisms. But once again, this is just history repeating itself. There will always be those seeking an idyllic past and who view subversion of the present as the only path. – Suzanne Stefanac, author and interactive media strategist, dispatchesfromblogistan.com; internet user since 1989

Self-segregation exists today, in that the Internet allows full exposure with minimal or no consequence. Again, using the Gaming Model, where there are 5+ Million players on World of Warcraft network one can partner with a group and/or operate solo in a virtual world. One can play forever taking on a virtual character (s) and nobody knows their real self. Terrorists exist today in the form of hackers, and I anticipate as we relinquish more controls to the computers and networks, they will be able to remotely commit any act they want. – Jim (Jacomo) Aimone, director of network development, HTC; internet user since 2000

The revolution of the have-nots will be based on failure to attain their expectations of the “good life” and the sense of loss of control. – Terry Ulaszewski, publisher, Long Beach Live Community News; internet user since 1989

The key word is “Some.” It seems likely to me that they will be a very small minority. I think the access to communications network technology will be so inexpensive that there will be few who are “left out”; more may “opt out,” but that may become harder to do as access becomes almost universal. – David Irons, VP, co-founder, AScribe Newswire; internet user since 1993