Responses to this question were assembled from Internet stakeholders in the2008 Pew Internet & American Life/Elon University Predictions Survey. Some respondents chose to identify themselves; many did not. We share some—not all—of the responses here. If you would like to participate in the next survey, mail andersj [at] elon dotedu; include information on your expertise.
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 preferred to remain anonymous. This is not the full extent of responses. To see more, read the report PDF, and to read reactions from participants who took credit for their answers, please click here.
ANONYMOUS RESPONDENTS’ OBSERVATIONS AND REQUESTS
I would like to know if we are creating a world from which we cannot retreat, even if we find we want and need to do so. Are we burning our bridges behind us?
Will the technology solve our problems, instead of creating new ones?
I would like to know more about the impact of the Internet on children’s attitudes and behaviors vs. more traditional media.
What portion of the people in your life have you never met before? Are the closest relationships in your life affected, or only the more tangential?
How do we stop businessmen from exploiting the Internet for profit? How do we educate policy makers? How do we stop lobbying from special-interest groups?
1. The specifications of a personal notebook in 2020? (Do you remember what you used in 1998?) 2. What about our bills at that time? Will we still have to pay landline-phone + cell phone (+data services) + cable TV + cable Internet + … separately? 3. What is in your HDD (or SSD or gHDD) in 2020? 4. The level of intelligence in computer systems (or services)? No more people for service centers in India. Computer can handle it automatically? 5. Don’t need to waste time for Googling. Get an answer directly (and immediately) from intelligent systems (or service). 6. Virtual social movie. Now, people create a movie with collaboration and computer technology. 7. New payment method. 8. More suffer from virus, spams, and blood and dirty contents. 9. Children are not children anymore. They know too much. They are exposed to too many bad things too early. 10. The rank of Alexa. Who are in the top-10 in 2020?
The key questions, I think, revolve around integrity and economics. How reliable are Internet-based services? Sure, the ‘net itself is mostly reliable, but how many services on it are? I think security remains important as well, even if some people willingly give up their privacy. Even more important are the economics of the future Internet—who will pay for it, how much, and via what mechanisms?
I would like to hear more about a global perspective, particularly as the US continues to decline as lead users. Also, philosophically, start talking about InternetS not THE Internet. It feels like it would change how you ask questions and who you ask them of. The idea that there are really many Internets and Internet experiences is huge. On just a technical example, dial-up and broadband are not the same. My iPhone and my Mac are not the same Internet experiences. Me connecting from the West Coast USA and Accra Ghana and Heihe China are NOT the same Internets. This would really help in thinking about what is important to people and how to act on that.
I recommend covering technological convergence, the potential interplay and potential overlapping effects of emerging technologies: synthetic biology, nanotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence systems, quantum computing, brain computer interfacing, etc.
I want to know how far Internet crime will go and what the reaction of governments, users and police will be. From where I sit, the Inter-thugs are winning and it’s a matter of time before check and credit card fraud, key loggers, and denial-of-service attacks reach epidemic levels.
Talk to Ray Kurzweil, then conceive a survey. That’s what I’d like to see.
Where are the investments in infrastructure? Not just in the US but around the world. I see emphasis on security (including ways of tracking individuals), but not on the underlying infrastructure.
In what ways do people perceive that the Internet makes their lives easier, or saves them time or money? And in what ways does it make life harder, more complex, time-consuming, or expensive, and why do people sometimes accept these difficulties? How do people’s perceptions of these compare to objective usability studies of Internet tools for specific tasks?
Where do persons who don’t use the Internet daily in their lives (mainly work lives) fit into the picture? Cost, location, availability—all still influence our attachments to technology.
Study how best to provide always-on Internet on small devices; how the small devices and always-on tools we presently have affected us socially; how online communities compare with real communities.
How are ordinary people educated about new technology and how do they make decisions about what new technology is needed in their lives?
Measure the extent to which people use personal digital medical records.
A needed area of study is the way the Internet influences the change in human psyches, “interior landscapes,” relationships, beliefs in humankind, religion.
Entertainment is a very important area to think about regarding the contributions of the Internet. It will become commonplace for people to use their HD TV’s to watch increasingly more diverse mainstream entertainment via the Internet in their living rooms. This means that where today, anyone can post a video on YouTube, in 2020, it will be possible for almost anyone to post a movie, reality show, or just sit in their living room and talk for hours to others who want to watch and listen. This area is going to have a more profound effect on people’s lives than the emergence of the cell phone as the principal form of communication.
Language-translation tools? What will be the common Internet language?
Will people be able to read long arguments in the future?
I work in the field of aging, in an agency whose mission is to help individuals remain, if they choose, in their home as independently as possible. I would like to see some attention to connecting older generations to the new world in a way they can realistically use it.
We need more research on the impact of the Internet on dating, mate selection, social construction of identity, growth of social capital, and impact on disparity in incomes for people and for nations. We also need to know more about tech and entrepreneurship, particularly how it can provide opportunities in rural areas for business development and community vitality.
To what degree and how quickly will bio-compatible interfaces be developed and integrated?
Study the prevalence of online gaming in the general population and its effects on the lives of its users.
Do Internet-only relationships make up for face-to-face relationships?
1. How do we equate “privacy”? 2. What techniques to we use to cope with the pace acceleration? How do we manage the permanent “pre-chaos” state? 3. In what way do Internet social networks differ from face-to-face ones? And what results from the intertwining process?
Can the Internet and ICTs support/enable sustainable development?
What are the driving technical forces in communications in the coming years? Will it be innovations in the physical layer (fiber optics or wireless), or router/switching technology?
As a scientist, I do admit that many problems can be technically solved. But are all techniques really useful for the advancement of mankind? 1. How will you protect my private sphere? 2. How will we manage a correct balance between freedom of information and speech and at the same time really protect weaker individuals e.g. children from being armed by the deluge of information. 3. How will I be able to better select the information I wish/need. 4. How will we be able to validate the information? Already such devices as Wikipedia raise the question: could the Internet become a world of lies? 5. How will it be possible to warrant that extremist groups (from religious to politic, from anti-abortion to sexual dement sects) to act in such a way as to manipulate people in a badly controlled way? 6. It is very probable that by 2020, some ANN will be able to adapt so as to mimic part of the human conversation. The [AI that can pass the] Turing Test may come nearer, and this raises the question: Will someone use such possibilities to manipulate other peoples? By designing always interfaces looking constantly more human, haven’t we a risk to go astray?
I’d really like to know what the ordinary people in developing nations are doing with the Internet and where they see technologies and their use of it being in 10 or 15 years.
Age segregation is noticeable in every sector of American society. What are the implications of this long-term? How will generational divides affect commerce and social infrastructure? What role will technology play in supporting or bridging these divides?
It would be good to know what the experts and thought leaders think about the direction of the “neutrality” of the Internet. There is a risk that the control of the perceived “harmful” applications and perceived misusage of operators’ network resources hinders the innovation on the Internet or even in the long run hinders the growth of the Internet.
I would like to see studies of changes in human cognition and memory over time as Internet use increases.
Will anyone worry about the increasing control of the Internet and related technologies that comes about, both as regimes (both in the West and elsewhere) increasingly exploit the Net for surveillance purposes and as these technologies are increasingly dominated by already extant power centers, including the multinational corporations that currently enjoy good business by selling the Net? More broadly, I did not see a question here explicitly addressing the “ethics” of using information technologies—especially as these technologies facilitate ever more cross-cultural encounters among ever more people around the globe (over one-sixth of the world’s population now).
I’m concerned about the interactions between technology and ecology.
Optimism regarding human survival; chances for peace in our time; chances of humans growing up in our time.
Will there be a global “dashboard” tracking climate change parameters in real time that will provide reliable localized prediction of impacts and risks?
Many governments are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the borderless nature of the Internet where their citizens are free to choose to obtain information and content from outside their control; how is this going to play out? Will governments legislate to control the Internet or will the Internet evolve to become impossible to control?
Social and cultural impact and implications of these technologies —qualitative research.
How can Internet technology be used to support and strengthen global citizenship and people-powered democracy?
Making sure digital identity and digital culture are measured alongside traditional politico-country categories within social sciences.
The impact of energy/power and greening of technology; how does this limit come into play and impact future direction?
How is the Internet changing politics, and the way that we govern ourselves? Is the world a more democratic place in 2020 thanks to the Internet, or will we let terrorists become the best digital activists in the world?
Questions: Regulation of measurement of success—some companies claim better market share based on some results and others on other results. When will there be a standardized form of measurement of success in certain spaces (such as search) —when will there be some regulation and consistency in privacy of what a company collects about your time spent/actions online? Do you see Internet advertising with its targeting making paper and radio even possibly TV advertising obsolete?
Will parallel Internets develop because countries do not want the U.S. to have sole control the IP addressing system? Rumors of China and EU developing their own Internets have been around for a while—will this come true?
Address cost issues; accessibility issues, e.g. for elders; use of this to maintain a healthy mind and body; government policy issues; invisibility of computing.
Study urban informatics, urban computing, urban technology, the future of cities and urban environments, sensor networks, locative media, etc.
The impact of real-life and virtual social networks on Internet users.
I’m curious about what will change in the aging process, as current heavy Internet users become senior citizens. Will the isolation many elderly feel be mitigated by the propensities for social networking and living online associated with today’s teens and 20-somethings?
How quickly are semantic technologies evolving, and how “real” are they?
Avoid the assumption that currently emerging developments are necessarily going to be the wave of the future.
I’d like to see some validation of expectations and some more work done on expectations for core technologies. Much of the previous stuff is dependent on the technology being there. But what takes off can depend on what comes first! And incidentally, I’ve been seeing voice-recognition as access ever since the mid ’80s!
Study the development of flexible and adaptable ontologies as a means of sharing information and knowledge—necessary if the Internet is to fulfill the vision set forth in this survey.
Will video games have become a larger, more adult-accepted medium of storytelling in society by 2020?
How can the Internet close the digital gap, which has been created over inaccessibility of technology, poverty, and inequitable economic polarisation fuelled by profit maximization of a few.
Look into the future of human-computer interaction and behaviour-based search
Can human DNA be used as a primary ID of a person on the Internet in the future?
Explore trust on the Web.
Study political engagement on the Internet, the digital divide, user-generated content, virtual/real-world connections and gaps.
I expect the general connectivity increases to result in a qualitative change in the practice of Democracy. There will be changes in our expectation of what we have to do to be heard, of what is our community, of how to carry on the national debate. There will be secondary and tertiary effects.
Pay more attention to personal-data protection.
How can public policy provide for a framework and common ground for public, business, government, foundations, and research and academia to coalesce to develop approaches to balance civil liberties vs. need for advance security to ward of terrorism, pandemic, etc.
How will the Internet access marketplace look in 2020? Will it be more consolidated? Will there still be talk of “Third-Pipe” technologies, or will one technology be so superior to have reached a tipping point (i.e. FTTH—fiber to the home—is the dominant, fixed platform)?
The impact of the Internet on companies rather than consumers.
More research specific to Americans’ use of the Internet to find government information and conduct business with government online. What’s working well? What do they want most that is not currently available?
What does society lose when technological advances proceed so rapidly? Are we losing touch with nature by becoming de-humanized? Will people counter-react by abandoning high-tech societies? Also, we need more measures of impact on the poorest societies that will surely be left behind as the gap widens between them and the most-advanced societies.
How will technology help the environment so that we’re still around in 2020
What will we identify in 2020 as the physical byproducts (positive, but most likely negative) that accompany a high-tech and highly-networked world? Pervasive carpal tunnel? Brain tumors?
Surveys about Internet adoption and use are very useful, so are basic things like changes to prices for broadband, changes to shopping behavior, changes to the wages and incomes of online community, etc.
Not enough work has been done on the cost of special access lines to business. There are billions of articles about residential broadband, but few studies about the effects of high broadband costs on businesses, not just small businesses but all businesses.
ICT in autos (in U.S.) and across public transport. What scenarios can we come up with for a fully digitally-engaged/accessed movement experience?
What shape will the digital divide take in 2020, both within a single society and across nations? How much privacy will people have to give up to conduct their daily lives, as well as to access new technology and toys? When will the implants be available? When will they be required?
Interpersonal relationships and the impact the blending of virtual and real world systems—how will these interfaces frame our thoughts and actions?
Pursue the impact of the Internet on the lives of those outside the US more deeply.
To me the next big step of the Internet is to become invisible to the average person. Internet is embedded into most apps you interface with. Gain invisible; all everyone knows is they get the data they what when they want it.
I’m wondering about the experience of the big players with cutting-edge technology on the Web. I suspect much of it is “because we can” junk, note this is perhaps evolving.
How big of an impact will the new wireless technologies have? How much of what we now have will change drastically?
Climate change will be one of, or the, most important things in this century. What role will the Internet play in the dissemination of information, the measuring of what’s happening, the reduction of greenhouse gases, etc.? How will a worldwide network help ameliorate a worldwide problem?
How is telecommuting/remote independent contracting etc changing the workplace? What fields/industries/institutions may be first to develop their own parallel networks that serve their needs better? As these grow and become exclusionary, how will this impact a new digital divide (not whether or not you have access but to WHICH networks you have access)?
I’d like to understand if it will democratize democracy. Will we need representation the way we have it if everyone has a direct voice or vote? What is the impact of the Internet on a democratic society? We talk all the time about it impacting communism, up-ending China, but what about new paradigms for how the US will be run?
You should be asking how not having access to the Internet and similar technologies will affect people as more and more entities rely on the Internet. You should also be measuring how the organization of information has changed due to the Internet and how it will continue to change as more and more information is added to the Internet.
I’d like to see more focus on the digital divide, and not just between developed and developing countries, but within developed and developing countries as well. Most of the research I read on this is fairly coarse—I’d be interested in seeing more of the complexities of Internet/computer use that I know exist.
Measure preferences using some form of Bayesian processor.
Is Internet/information freedom becoming as important as other forms of freedoms in political realm/international relations?
There seem to be a lot of assumptions being made not just about the evolution of the technology, but how that will impact society. I believe it was easier to invent the television than it was to predict its effect on society as a whole.
Though I have a constant interest in what’s happening at the forefront of technology, an important area for me to keep track of is where baseline standards are being established, and what these standards allow and restrict, by their nature. For example, standardizations in user interface design have led to wider access by more users of varying levels of experience, but losing the ability to access the command line has restricted the abilities of more savvy users to obtain more precise results.
Digital divide. It’s growing faster despite improved access. Access is not enough to create fluency.
It would be interesting to compare the Pew Foundation’s political groups with their Internet and life groups. Are our political masters equipped to judge and steer these changes?
Measure virtual impact on non-virtual interaction.
The Internet now offers free dissemination of information and/or entertainment that replaced an income-producing stream (newspapers, books, podcasts, etc.) Is there a way to once again make these resources produce an income to offset the costs behind offering “free” content?
What about the people left behind either by lack of technology or lack of skills?
How has using the Internet and tech changed people’s core thinking about issues and values?
What is being done to ensure everyone has access—all the time, around the world?
When will the FCC begin addressing Internet? How will international standards for telephony, video happen? I don’t see how that can happen when we don’t even run on the same current.
How can I ever keep up with all of the new methods and platforms—wikis, blogs, wimbas—to keep up with the changes.
Mandatory human RFID implants present a real fear for privacy, organizational control, free-speech, free will, etc.
What the effects of on-line “communities” (discussion boards, blogs) on face-to-face interactions between people?
Study personal tracking devices, including embedded devices in humans (I know, controversial, but interesting); presentation technologies.
How do we protect children from seeing things on the Web that they do not understand or should not see until they have reach a level of maturity, such as sex, violence, and extremism.
What is the relationship between Internet use and health. How does Internet use affect children (Webkinz). What is the average person seeking on the Internet? What tasks have we replaced by using the Internet (i.e. do we check the news on the Internet vs. watching TV or reading the newspaper). How does using the Internet in the US compare to how it is used in developing countries?
The work of engineering and designing physical entities appears to have resisted the potential systemic transformation the 3-D and metaverse technologies could afford it. They are still trapped in the discipline mindset largely because the commercial terms have not evolved to determine how work so enabled would be paid for. I would be interested to know how commerce is likely to be different in the Internet-enabled market place of 2020.
I’d be interested in the impact these technologies may have on future generations and the inter-relationships between multiple generations.
Study the role of technology in the scholarly communication, the creation of knowledge, the revision of knowledge and access to knowledge. Part of this topic is also the role of the community in creating knowledge—community not just of identified experts or scholars, but a definition that embraces a larger vision of experts/scholars.
I want to know more about technology and privacy being interlinked—with more companies monitoring everything from phone calls to Web site access, and workers either oblivious or ceding over information for convenience, what will be the 2020 evolution of this dynamic?
I would like to know how virtual-reality labs and other experiences affect children’s attitudes towards environmental protection.
I would like to see more studies around the extreme generational gap that currently exists between today’s youth and today’s leaders. It is frightening to see my superiors unable to communicate effectively with the emerging workforce of tomorrow. We need to find a way to close this gap, quickly.
As greater equity in access to information and education via the Internet brings benefits more broadly, how can we help ensure greater individual input about decisions (political, economic, etc.) that affect us directly? It’s these institutions I see lagging behind.
I would like to see more into the subject of metaverses. Is this just a trend or used for leisure, or a true shift of balance?
Every ad agency thinks podcasts are a must, and every film company is trying to monetize movie downloads, and yet, any marketer seeking to reach a truly mass market still has to put music on audio cassette, not to mention CD. Much time and money is wasted because no one has done a good job of measuring how people really obtain their entertainment and information—not just how they eventually will, or how they might do so now if they chose to.
Is there any actual benefit to being connected so much? What are people losing by being online all the time?
I work in the news business, which is having its ass kicked by the Internet. I’m worried that with fewer mainstream journalists, truth will suffer. I’m interested in whether people are becoming more savvy about what’s legitimate and what’s not on the Internet. I mean, some people still buy penny stocks based on scam spam!
Web 3.0 efforts are under way in so many different ways. We need a set of definitions of what Web 3.0 is as well as where it is and how the different systems under this heading are functioning.
I am interested in how different segments of the population use the Internet and how that trends over time.
1. One of the largest questions remains the division of access to technology. In a rapidly evolving technology, how great is the rift between the have the best, have some, and have none? 2. To what extent will the Internet become so much a sales front that individuals quit using it for information, finding it too hard to get to data?
I would like to know about how the Internet is being used as a means for dealing with personal tragedy and loss. There are commonly held assumptions, often based on common sense and media reports, but I would like a more disciplined approach to data collection and analysis.
Who still does not have access to the Internet at home? When will rural Americans have access to broadband connections? Will the government subsidize or require broadband connections to be low-cost?
The safety of children online is paramount and should be a focus of future research. Millions of children are getting online every day and even the most innocent of searches or sites can lead to something more sinister. I abhor censorship, but I’m certain that some smart people are working on a better solution for keeping adult content only for adults, as well as shielding kids from predators.
[Things to study:] Free Internet access. Privacy rights of users. Internet and freedom of speech.
A study I’d like to see is the breakdown of communication tools; what works best for what situation, and for what demographic. Example: Is video chat better than a teleconference? Of interest is the conflict between freedom to play vs. corporate guidelines in a virtual setting like second life. Advantages and disadvantages of Facebook or other social-networking applications. A consumer’s-guide rating on what tools are needed for the modern businessman: Blackberry, laptop, or Web site?
Will the gulf between the haves and have-nots become wider and wider? Will techno addiction become commonplace, or will it be viewed like alcohol and drug addiction? Will we lose our empathy for others with the constant barrage of negative information?
Is the Internet fundamentally changing how students learn? How is it changing teaching?
I would like to get a greater handle on where I’m going on the Internet on a regular and long-term basis. I’d like to know, but I’m not so interested in others knowing my movements. I’d like to see PEW reference more research being done elsewhere on these subjects. I wonder how you would answer the charge that you are partisan, in favor of broader use of the Internet?
For professional purposes, I want greater access to research data without having to pay for it.
[Things to study:] Search engines and what they will do with the valuable information they gather. Will teens who are very open on the Internet button up and settle down? What will these teens to with their Web history? Web archeology and the effects of snippets of life on the Internet.
Is “always connected” a social and psychological good? What are we giving up in exchange for face-to-face interaction? Do people have inner lives any more? Regarding technology, we seem to press ahead because we can, not because we’ve determined it’s the best way. Cautionary research is summarily dismissed as backwards. In other words, do we thoughtfully control technology, or does it unbeknownst control us?
There has been talk about the Semantic Web, information free of site and design. What do we envision for the future, where information is provided outside of the context of a site?
Which Internet instruments will be developed to increase democratic participation in public decisions? How much will the Internet foster awareness of world politics and actually make a difference, through the facilitated oversight, in relevant peace and security issues?
I wonder a lot about diversity and pluralism on the Web—will today’s large mass media companies dominate as they buy up more social spaces?
[Topics for study:] Technical tools to control Internet content. Youth protection by pedagogical measures. Digital Divide: not a question of access but a question of digital literacy.
Issues: 1) Accuracy of information appearing on the Internet. 2) Plagiarism.
Privacy issues, paying for access to information and resources on the Internet.
What will healthcare technology look like in 2020; walk through a medical detector for a complete physical? Will education ever attain anywhere/anytime learning?
TV watching and social networking—time people actually spend doing these things adjusted for the population of the US.
The Internet and health care—there is going to be a huge change (Microsoft Healthvault, for example) in on-line availability of personal health info. How do we protect and ensure personal security—or (given your earlier question—thought that we will trade off personal secrets for convenience) will there simply be no guarantee that some hack won’t be able to publish my HIV test results?
What will be the optimal organization size in the fully-wired world? Traditional corporations were built to internalize coordination costs; will the Internet marketize those efforts, shrinking the corporation? Or will the corporation become a “trust network” aligning far-flung activities, making big companies even bigger as they exploit the advantages of truly-trusted partners around the world and in diverse industries?
What is the predicted future of what have previously been separate media technologies and industries in this age when everything appears to be moving toward a common access and distribution system? The current writers’ strike is illustrative of the struggles that are taking place as society adjusts to rapidly changing structures in this area.
What happens with security of personal information? How do the developers of new technologies protect users?
Will there be new and better ways to learn using games, virtual worlds, and social networks? Will there be a shift from a focus on technology to one on media?
You should measure how people use the Internet for job searches and career advancement.
Measure people’s ability to keep up with change. I don’t think that most people will be ready for the 2020 scenarios in 2020.
Loss of privacy, loss of identity; data mining by corporations and governments; being too connected electronically/not enough physically; lack of “revocation” option in the Age of the Internet
How can there be more equitable access to the technology developments? Are there technologies developing countries could use to leapfrog their way forward?
What is the global carbon footprint of IT/Internet devices, including laptops, PDAs, phones, PCs, servers, etc., and how does it compare to the automobile or other industries?
Control over technology—even the simple ability to freely communicate confidentially—is an illusion. This will lead users to find alternate means. Are there already concrete steps toward alternate technologies? What are they, and how widespread.
How new technologies are changing personal, social, and business behavior patterns, as well as philosophies, ethics, and world views.
How risky are those wireless technologies? Can the existing ones be replaced by safer technologies?
We must realise that the Internet and for that matter all new technologies are just tools. They should not control our lives, rather make them easier to live. Information overload is a dangerous weapon.
How will the economics of content production evolve? Is the age of “big media” genuinely threatened by fragmentation and low barriers to entry?
How can basic education on a global scale benefit from shared content and learning methodologies?
Study spirituality—not religion—and its advance with technology, how science is having to address spirituality in order to make further advances beyond mere mechanistic explanations which pose more questions than they answer.
How to secure personal financial, health, etc. information?
Is society OK with being sold itself? Communities are sold back to other communities. What impact will the commodification of community have on society? Think Facebook, MySpace, etc.
I would like to see more about digital inclusion; what will bring those not using the Internet to it?
The evolution of converging practices on different platforms (PC, cellular phone, iPod etc.) for social needs, entertainment etc.
Study the ease of access to government files and public information, especially at the local level. Trying to get basic information at the city, county, and state level is very frustrating.
Many libraries across the country are now creating their own digitized collections, focusing on local subjects, history, etc. It might be interesting to measure level of collaboration or general availability of these collections: e.g., whether the collection is “open to all” or only to library patrons.
Adults are apt to select the most bizarre and most titillating of youth behavior and declare, this is how all youth are behaving, and I suspect that this is not entirely true. There is a youth subculture at play here which is not true of youth as a whole.
Specifically, with the bizarre propensity of youth to share all private information on MySpace and Facebook, it seems to me that this is the behavior of a subculture and not true across the board. Adults have taken an exception and declared it the rule. And when it is realized that this is the behavior of just one subgroup, it might put us in a better position to question it.
Someone needs to address a way of expanding the knowledge of technology by our legislative leaders. They always seem to be behind the curve.
Will the increase in using the Internet to carry film and television for the entertainment industry put a huge burden on carrying capacity? How will censorship by governments increase? How will universities and libraries as knowledge carriers also become gatekeepers? How will classroom teaching change in higher education? What abuses of personal information gained by database mining will finally come to public awareness?
I’m interested in the future of work and the workers for the future (the high school and college kids today), how they operate, what they’re used to, etc.
Is anyone doing longitudinal studies of the “Internet generation”? Can we otherwise really know the long term effects of the impact of the omnipresence of computers and the Internet on society, individuals, learning, critical reasoning, democratic participation and decision making, families and familial bonds, social bonding and interaction, etc.?
Technology has had a great evolution, a marvelous one, if I may. But this evolution hardly reaches most people in the world. As long as economic divide prevails, it won’t really matter how wonderful technology is and becomes. The issue is not the technology itself, but the sociological questions related.
I’d like continued, detailed coverage on how the Net is changing the basic structures of our culture. What is the impact on the political process? How is the Net helping/hurting the educational process in our country? How can the Net help to ameliorate the healthcare crisis that we are experiencing our country?
Are there government success stories for various Web 2.0 technologies? For example, aside from the “cool” factor, how have blogs improved agencies’ ability to meet their missions? Similarly, how can government agencies make good use of wikis?
How does the Internet affect society’s appreciation of quality? How do we address the quality of an article if there is no editor? Of art? Of music, or prose? Something is lost to society if the concept of quality and excellence is no longer appreciated.
User-experience issues are critical components of adoption of future Internet evolution. It would be interesting to get perspective on primary input methodology (voice, type, etc. and other use issues/questions.
Questions should be raised about the continued affordability of the Internet for all individuals.
You should spend all your efforts on bringing education and accessibility to people. The Internet community will take care of the rest. Schools need to begin teaching data-mining to elementary schools; php mysql, java and html should be required of everyone. Once everyone knows development, everyone can build the world as they see fit. Customization will be big by 2020 and almost everyone will experience and express their uniqueness. Today we are building the tools and the landscape for an efficient marketplace where anyone and everyone can enhance their experience, and automate their efforts and processes. The world in 2020 will be very different from today, and Internet-barter communities will emerge like a kibbutz in Israel, where people create their own little world, which meets every need, and everyone contributes, with no universal government ruling, and everyone has freedom to change or move about their worlds. I am excited to see what the future holds.
I would like to get a better idea of what makes people experts in using technologies and how exactly the online is linked to the offline. What effect does ICT literacy have on people’s everyday lives, how and at which level do we measure this?
I’d like to examine ISPs’ policies regarding net neutrality. The ISP’s control the roads of the net, with the power to suppress sites in terms of speed. We need more open and transparency as to their policies. I want it to be illegal for ISP’s to discriminate against some sites and streams over others. We should always get the bandwidth we are sold, and not only on sites which have paid the ISP enough. Policy makers should be aware how badly net start-ups could be damaged if the ISP’s are allowed to go against net neutrality. Users and hosts already pay in proportion to bandwidth.
How much and what kind of communication is shifting from actual to digital; what are the formats (e-mail vs. IM vs. social network vs. text etc)? Do the relationships determine the format or the situations?
Very interested in learning about the murky waters of international law and regulation on the Internet, particularly in issues of jurisdiction and diversity cases (cases that involve multiple jurisdictions). The development of international corporations and organizations facilitated by the Internet. The way Internet-based interconnectivity will affect language and communication between different cultures, countries, etc. The impact of the Internet on changing (improving?) quality of life for disabled persons. How the law and social policies will handle problems involving the distinction between public and private selves, and the blurring of this online (e.g., employer fires someone for having a marijuana leaf as his MySpace profile photo).
Study the issue of privacy and the collection of individual information used by the government and researchers.
How do people perceive interacting with healthcare professionals over the Internet? For example, will concierge service extend to mobile phones with Internet cameras?
I want to see much in-depth tracking and data release of video use and types of video via technology as well as anticipated use. Additionally, am interested in people’s opinions on the divergence of direction between US government Web privacy violations and EU privacy protections.
How do these predictions impact education?
As now more than half the world’s population lives in urban settings and eco-tourism increasingly focuses on the attractions of rural/village and natural life-systems, what are the new relational indicators of planetary consciousness?
What will the future hold in terms of being able to better protect children from cyber-stalkers/pedophiles and from viewing inappropriate content?
I think it would be good to learn from experts how will the public interact with government in 2020? For example, will the public vote 100% online in the 2020 US Presidential election?
How is information being delivered, and how comfortable are people with their information being send digitally?
More thought should be given to the ethical aspects of technology use. A balance of old and new would seem best to me. The implications of what we do are important too and no one seems to be thinking of that today.
How does the general public feel about using mobile technologies such as cell phones for more sensitive information such as banking, health information, etc.? Cell phones allow us to access and receive information where and when we want it, but what will make people feel secure that their information is protected and confidential?
At what point will Facebook, MySpace, and social networking sites in this format become obsolete? What will replace them?
I would like to know more about the information-seeking behavior of Internet users—to what extent do they understand the Internet’s landscape and its resources (free Web vs. gated)? More on the geoSemantic Web, or how physical reality will be increasingly networked.
Success of finding information on the Internet; searchers’ perception of successful discovery and location of information.
I would like to know more about how people and communities are changed by technology. I would like to measure what goes missing in our mediated society, like deeper relationships, genuine care, and more noble activities and knowledge. Also, I would like to know how people will manage the information overload most wisely.
Where does time come from? How will people interact with living breathing others in the same room if they are allowed the time to do so? What will happen to people’s lives if and when the natural resources we all depend on become even more scarce (or polluted) than they are now? Will people also have to rely on virtual walking, riding, climbing, dancing, etc. in order to get their exercise? How can future generations be guaranteed fresh air to breathe if removing pollutants from the air contributes at the same time to global warming and hence degraded natural resources? How will we train people to look beyond their own rooms and react critically to the burgeoning problems of their own natural environment on which we all depend? How can we train people to not (metaphorically) shit in their own nest while enjoying all the new technologies as stimulant and diversion from the drudgery of everyday life as it may become?
From my own perspective, a key issue is that of higher education online. There is still considerable resistance from college and university faculty to the notion that an online education is legitimate. Please explore this.
Will there be anywhere to run and hide? Will the people with the most money use technology to control us even further? An example is the Bush administration’s destruction of e-mails and monitoring of phone calls and Web search. We don’t seem to be getting any smarter.
I see a clash between the communication opportunities provided by the Internet and the security restrictions placed on its use by organizations. How can companies leverage the medium without making their data vulnerable. What will security look like in the future?
What about the future of e-commerce?
Exactly how much of their privacy will people give up for various things (e.g. $5, a raffle entry, etc.)?
How do people without home Internet access differ as Internet/technology users from those who do? Does reduced access to the Internet impede the academic achievement of kids/teens?
Security issues are most important. Protection of underage individuals will continue to be a problem. As in everyday life, there needs to be a secure haven for privacy of Internet users.
What are the merits of municipal broadband provision, based on the so-called cost-benefit analysis? What are the harms of Internet? Harmful effects of the Internet need to be investigated because we have been lulled into the belief that it is all fine and good with the WWW. We need alternative understanding about what BAD the medium is also doing in addition to all the niceties we always here about it.
Much about using the Internet is trust. Do we trust corporate America and our government to not use our Internet use to spy on us? To use our Internet freedom against us? To sell our private/personal information?
The application of biologically-inspired technologies to networking and its impact.
Research on the impact of the proliferation of Internet-enabled devices on Web addresses. Will the digital divide exist by 2020?
Research on the governance of contents on the Internet would probably reveal the role and responsibilities that should be shared in 2020 by governments, the civil society and the private sector.
Education: Is core content changing? If so, what new technologies are emerging as the key players? Which of the 21st century literacies will, in the long run, be essential?
Cost & environmental issues. I want to know more about the perceived and real “affordability” of technology. For example, must people have a great subscription package for their smartphone (such as the packages with free long-distance, unlimited Internet and e-mail use, and messaging that you can find in the USA) to use it the way it can be used? While many other countries have high rates of cell phone ownership and use, the costs of doing more than calling your network of close friends can be expensive. We need to know more about the environmental impact of ICTs. While they are great for connecting us, they are also causing problems in terms of disposal and even development. We cannot keep throwing away old technology and filling landfills. How do ICT developers and policy makers plan to deal with this? How much does this matter to end users and how can we help minimize the negatives of adopting new devices?
Security and privacy are the key issues.
I’m curious whether English will continue to be the lingua franca on the Internet, or whether Chinese, Spanish, or other languages will start to take over larger areas of the Internet.
I’m mostly interested with who is online and why. Would like to see more on privacy issues when Web surfers may not be aware they are being “watched.” More on kids and their inability to evaluate and think critically about the information they find online.
How will the availability and usage of video on the Internet (and on-demand) affect traditional TV viewing? Will TV continue to be programmed in 30- and 60-minute increments, starting on the hour and half-hour? What will become the new threshold for time spent viewing TV in an average sitting? Will long-running series have fewer episodes and/or fewer seasons?
You should be measuring the frequency of Internet use.
Please keep up your work on who is using the Internet and why/what they are accessing.
I am still wondering how bridge the gap between users (and their online behavior) of different ages in order to better deliver information online.
Is it realistic to hope for a reliable collective and loosely organized creation of knowledge ? Is Internet based e-learning really efficient, in the long run, for different types of knowledge or skills, and will it offer a productivity gap in education expenses?
1. Certainly more on the erosion in social media sites of rights managed content. 2. How much reliance on an operating system will change as Google Gears comes on line. How will having applications and content on both the world’s servers and or local storage systems change the way we work?
I’d like to understand how Americans compare to others around the globe. As our world becomes smaller—some say flat—how will our lives change and be enhanced by uninhibited access to other cultures?
I’m very interested in on demand marketspaces, where essentially all consumer products can be custom ordered and delivered. his question intrigues me because it posits a future of microenterprise that could potentially lead humanity back towards a more egalitarian economic system where individual specialists in thousands of different disciplines can thrive.
What will become of the net neutrality issue?
I’d like to know how others feel the balance between the knowledge of the masses and the experts will turn. That is, will it become more common for public research done at home to become accepted?
Provide information on international social networking that is focused around a cause, despite cultural and geographic differences. Also study users who access the Internet through mobiles and the time they stay on certain sites.
Assess the ability of the Internet to increase accountability of government and form new parties and new political systems (e.g. online voting from any computer with secure digital ID). This could return power to the people rather than special interests.
Assess the impact of connectedness on the third world.
The regulation of software should be a top priority. Regulation of any sort could really improve the output of software development and could also improve the lives of those who use it.
You need a strong dose of politics to put computing in social, economic and political context. Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility has a great mission, but needs a wider perspective. Also, the only way to really find out what is going on is qualitative, field research. You have to go where people are living and working and playing and computing and watch and listen and talk with them in an open ended way. When you do this, the important questions will unfold before you.
Will other media become outdated the more the Internet develops?
How will companies be preparing for the next generation of always-online workers (the current generation of high school and college students)? How will the demographic shift of retiring baby boomers affect the workforce and the Internet community as a whole? How will companies measure and evaluate the effectiveness of the new knowledge worker?
My concern in the evolution of the technology is what happens in the developing world? Money is the mover and shaker, but that doesn’t work in Africa. The $100 laptop/One-Laptop-Per-Child initiatives are there because its not going to happen otherwise, but at the same time large companies are trying to undermine them (Intel to name but one) because for companies like that, they just want their name on the product and don’t care if its actually the right thing for the community involved (and I use the word community rather than “market” intentionally). So is the developing world going to be left behind? Abandoned/or left in the hands of altruists? And is that really progress on a global scale?
My main concern is that the Internet is taking over. I am a young person yet I can remember playing outside with my friends until dinnertime, even in the winter. Now barely a decade later I never see children on my block outside, unless its summer. I feel that the Internet and video games and TV, although been in place for several decades, are slowly placing our society inside. We are becoming lazy and everything is done for us. I do not think this is a very good thing. I think it’s hurting us. Will there be guidelines? When will the technology stop? Never is my guess. But can we really live normal lives if we never have to do anything. If everything is at a push of a button or the sound of our voice? What about the great outdoors and all that nature has to offer us? As much as I think its human nature to go outside, and as much activity takes place outside, I feel people are relying more on technology and Internet to occupy them. Maybe that’s another reason why were so fat, America.
Rural connectivity, even at modem speeds, is still a major issue. Native American reservations are among the least connected. Rural DSL lines are priced WAY out of rural incomes. To ensure equity, policy-makers must make it attractive to ISPs to serve rural areas.
I would like to know if it is possible to have Internet provided free to the masses?
Address international concerns, the Mobile Web, and augmented reality.
How much time do employees spend reading e-mail? What are the trends related to e-mail usage by employees?
How much do you use the Internet? Going somewhere? Mapquest. Need to know? Google it, (encyclopedia? dictionary? what are those?) Ordering out? pizzahut.com. Need a hotel? Flight? Want to know what people think? How much of our lives are wrapped up in the Internet? How much more will our lives be wrapped into it, or would that be warped?
Much of the speculation about the future of information technologies is driven by how people spend their leisure time. It would be more helpful to see how and how fast technology is migrating into people non-leisure and work time. Other things of interest: Ubiquitous computing, information everywhere, also poll the local environment for information. Automated services: having my calendar automatically schedule dinner with my family depending on their schedules, pick out what I cook depending on the contents of the fridge, suggest recipes.
What features inspire trust online?
The potential threats the Internet poses to privacy and civil liberties are woefully underappreciated by the public and under-examined by researchers and the media. Topics such as Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program and the aborted Total Information Awareness program, identity theft, the reuse, excessive sharing and cross-correlation of personal information by credit bureaus and other corporations, and the widespread practice of corporations to force people to sign away their rights before using anything on the Internet have all received some coverage in the media. However, there needs to be a much more thorough and wide-ranging public discussion of the specific ways in which these and other events and practices erode our democracy, privacy, civil liberties, and sacred personal (metaphorical) space. The Internet helps enable much of this encroachment.
I am interested in the inflection points that drive major behavioral change. Is it the availability of the technology? Is it the fact that a person’s peers have switched? Is it a desire for improved living? What is the impetus for these major shifts?
In 2020, will the younger generation have lost a great deal of their real-world social ability? Will online interactions and virtual realities almost completely replace in-person interactions, and will this disrupt or enhance general social order?
The question of ISP’s right to control content, and the politician’s right to control content is a very important question for the future and evolution of the Internet.