Elon University

The 2014 Survey: The Biggest Internet Impacts by 2025 (Anonymous Responses)

This page contains only the anonymous written responses from Internet experts and stakeholders who answered this question in the 2014 Pew Research/Elon University Future of the Internet Survey. Some survey respondents chose to identify themselves; a majority remained anonymous. We share most of the anonymous respondents’ written answers here. Workplaces are attributed for the purpose of indicating a level of expertise; statements reflect personal views. To read the full report, click the image below.

Anonymous responses by those who answered this survey question

Link to Full SurveyInternet experts and highly engaged netizens participated in answering an eight-question survey fielded by Elon University and the Pew Internet Project from late November 2013 through early January 2014.

This survey question asked respondents to share their answer to the following query:

Make your prediction about the role of the Internet in people’s lives in 2025 and the impact it will have on social, economic, and political processes. Good and/or bad, what do you expect to be the most significant overall impacts of our uses of the Internet on humanity between now and 2025?

Among the key themes emerging from more than 1,500 respondents’ answers were: The Internet will be invisibly interwoven in daily life; it could be much more advanced or it may be much the same in 2025 but more people will certainly have access globally; the spread of the Internet will enhance global connectivity that fosters more relationships and less ignorance; the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and big data will make people more aware of their world and their own behavior; augmented reality and wearable devices will be implemented to monitor and give quick feedback, especially in regard to personal health; political awareness and action will be facilitated and more peaceful change and public uprisings like the Arab Spring will emerge; the spread of the “Ubernet” will diminish the meaning of borders, and new “nations” of those with shared interests may emerge and exist beyond the capacity of current nation-states to control; the Internet will become “the Internets” as access, systems, and principles are renegotiated; an Internet-enabled revolution in education will spread more opportunities; dangerous divides between “haves” and “have-nots” may expand, resulting in resentment and possible violence; abuses and abusers will “evolve and scale,” human nature isn’t changing – there’s laziness, bullying, stalking, pornography, dirty tricks, crime; governments and corporations will try to assert power as they invoke security and cultural norms; people will make tradeoffs favoring convenience and perceived immediate gains over privacy; humans and their current organizations may not respond quickly enough to the challenges presented by complex networks; most people are not yet noticing the profound changes communications networks are already bringing about; foresight and accurate predictions can make a difference.

To read full official survey analysis, please click here.

To read credited responses to the report, please click here.

Following is a large sample including a majority of the responses from survey participants who chose to remain anonymous in making their remarks in the survey; some are the longer versions of expert responses that are contained in the official survey report. More than half of respondents chose not to take credit for their elaboration on the question (for-credit responses are published on a separate page). They were asked: “Make your prediction about the role of the Internet in people’s lives in 2025…Good and/or bad, what do you expect to be the most significant overall impacts?”

A professor, Internet researcher and entrepreneur with 25 years of experience wrote, “The Good: With luck, the Internet will become much more invisible, just as running water and sanitation are invisible (unless you don’t have it). Just as general sanitation allows people to interact in ways that would be too risky or too tedious otherwise, natural connectivity will allow not only enable better communication between people, but also more automated management of activities that currently require too much mindless work. Data protection (privacy) and data retention (openness) rules will allow people to use services that enhance the most private aspects of their lives. AI technologies will allow making use of the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ in a much less tedious way than today. The Bad: Societies will splinter even more. Nonetheless, the ways that are available to manipulate and exploit the masses will even further increase. Large parts of society will resolve to live in a Skinner box created by commercial interests. Journalism (that earns this word) might become a luxury item.”

The principal software architect for a large Internet company wrote, “There will be governments who will attempt to use the Internet to keep their citizens under constant surveillance in every aspect—seeing, hearing everything their citizens do at every moment of their lives, from birth to death. If we don’t provide mechanisms to allow people to protect their privacy, then the majority of the world’s population will live under such regimes—if you can call it living. By 2025, the Internet will have bifurcated into free and not-free segments that will evolve separately, with a digital cold war ongoing between the factions.”

An online journalist responded, “By 2025 we become effectively omniscient. We can find answers to any questions we can articulate. We then become overwhelmed by the distractions of trivial questions, and the burden of trying to find the right, big ones. Life is better than it was, but still not Nirvana.”

A leader of a non-profit organization aimed at closing digital divide wrote, “There will be the absence of national boundaries.”

The chief executive of one of the key Internet infrastructure organizations wrote, “The future will be positive, allowing for improved communications for social and economic change, as well as leading to the beginning of improvement in actual governance, based on improved information and transparency of decision making.”

A postdoctoral fellow doing university research in informatics wrote, “My guess is that some form of sovereign state will emerge on the Internet and will become an accepted political player worldwide.“

A vice president of research in consumer media for a research and analysis firm predicted, “The Internet is likely to be a destabilizing force for governments and institutions, without necessarily offering a workable alternative. This will lead to tension between control and access that will be the underlying theme of the coming decade.”

The project director for the National Health Portal of India wrote, “Information will be easily available and used for exchange especially in areas like healthcare—i.e., portable/cloud-based personal health records.”

A senior staffer for an Internet/Web standard organization responded, “The impact is already seen today: more information available, more communication, people better informed, more consent, etc. The progress is going to be incremental in the next decade, going faster, easier to use, and ubiquitous. Its biggest impact: worldwide peace, but not in 2025.”

A law professor at a state university predicted, “There will be: Concentration of power in an ever smaller number of hands. Integration of corporate, government, and military power elites under the aegis of ‘total information dominance.’ A pervasively monitored world, where politics is largely vestigial, encountered either as a relic, a vestigial legacy (rather like monarchies symbolize nations). As Virilio and Scheuerman have suggested, the speed of Internet-based processes in war and finance leave the democratic state ‘in the dust.’ Pervasive monitoring and targeted dispersion of political protest will be factors.”

A social worker for a non-profit organization wrote, “The impact will be bad, worse, devastating, and terrible.”

An Internet engineer and machine intelligence researcher responded, “The Internet of 2025 will not look much like the Internet of today. Calling this evolved entity the Internet is questionable, like calling a modern hybrid automobile a ‘horseless carriage’—technically correct, but arguably non-descriptive. Information access and distribution will dominate life. At one level, there will be simply more of everything people have access to today. There will also be economically effective methods for improving individual quality of life—methods for monitoring individual health and safety, for example. However, the real ‘good’ will come from the ability to tailor this information access to suit your individual needs, to filter out what is important from the mass of information available. The bad? Information is power. And there are, unfortunately, too many people in the world who, for various reasons, desire to exert power over others, Semantic Web or a variation thereof. It’s already happening, and will continue to happen, incrementally and sporadically over time. Loss of information privacy and security is also already happening. This has a significant potential negative impaction the global Internet in particular. Also, commercialization continues. Perhaps the biggest threat to the primary attribute of the Internet: access to information.”

A researcher and professor at the University of Maryland wrote, “It will continue to facilitate the redefinition of ‘education’—both in good ways—collective learning and search-based learning being accepted as normal—and bad ways—replacement of in-depth educational activities that encourage real development with shallow, transactional activities that leave the impression of familiarity (a la most MOOCs). It will continue the general trend of transforming the connection between where we ‘live’ and where we work. On one hand, it will continue to eliminate any ‘work-life balance.’ On the other hand, it will drive the even further separation between the places that individuals buy and work and the communities where and how they live.”

A futurist, consultant, and professor at Purdue University responded, “Criminal activity may play the biggest unexpected role in our use of the technology. It will require greater cooperation among countries, and, possibly, the creation of an international law enforcement regime. This may very much change the nature of international relations. At the same time, it will further exacerbate some of the social/political differences between groups of countries. Authoritarian regimes will be increasingly threatened by the connectivity. Countries with strong, fundamentalist religious groups (whether Islam, Christianity, or other) will object to much of the content and interaction and may even stage violent neo-Luddite acts.”

A research scientist who works for Google responded, “The Internet will contribute to deepening divides in society between the haves and have-nots, in much the same way that current income and wealth inequality is increasing tension in society. The Internet will also result in continuing disruption to the traditional notion of employment.“

A panelist on Survey 2050 predicted, “The future will be virtual reality. When new battlegrounds emerge, old borders lose significance. We may be united where we were divided, and divided where we were one.”

A research scientist based in California wrote, “The Internet will facilitate the formation of a global culture, with elements of all the world’s cultures participating.”

A prominent social scientist at a North American university responded, “There will be increased corporate and government surveillance that is acted on.”

A principal architect at Diablo Technologies wrote, “It will continue as the greatest tool ever invented. That’s all it is, nothing more, nothing less.”

A professor who teaches and does research in Canada re-iterated Internet protocol co-inventor Vint Cerf’s prediction from years ago that there will be, “IP on everything.”

An anonymous respondent who shared no personal identity wrote, “Personal privacy will be null and void.”

A political scientist who studies cyberculture, social movements, political violence, and African politics responded, “Hopefully there will be crowdsourcing of knowledge that can help developing countries. There will be counter-surveillance of governments.”

A senior lecturer at the University of California-Berkeley wrote, “Fundamentally, there is only one question about the working of society: Does it transfer wealth from the rich to the poor, as it should, or from the poor to the rich, as it does now? Since businesses run the Net, I can’t imagine that it’s going to start transferring wealth from the rich to the poor. Instead, by building a phantom economy of ‘information’ parasitic on the real economy, the Net causes inflation. Look at the article in today’s (11/25/13) New York Times about why everyone in San Francisco hates techies. It is possible that increasing the importance of nonproductive sectors of the economy might stave off the coming ecological disasters caused by industrial production for a while.”

A post-doctoral research scientist responded, “No doubt, the Internet will have a huge impact on people’s lives. The question is how will the Internet evolve? As an open system—as it used to be—or as a closed one with walled gardens that offer a safe but contrived space? Good or bad would depend on that. I prefer the former.”

An executive in the US government wrote, “We will have more-efficient, more-effective but less-considerate connections and transactions. I worry about those left behind—the Internet Refugees—and the Internet Immigrants.”

A director for an information technology industry organization responded, “The future focusing on ICT standards policy, Internet governance and other issues in the line of sight of the ITU will be ICT accessibility—making technology work for everyone. And there may be virtual ‘time travel’ to a limited degree—the first inklings. And I am not being facetious.”

A writer from Ohio responded, “People will wear their gear, without having to pull it out of pockets purses and cases. People may be able to ‘think’ a question, rather than having to voice it or type it, and receive an answer, with wearable technology.”

A self-employed green Internet consultant wrote, “The Internet in 2025 will be much like the Internet of 2013, much in the same way the Internet of 2013 has changed very little from the Internet of 2001. The greater social, economic, and political processes that will be impacted by the Internet will be most felt in Asia, particularly China. Despite heavy political interference and attempts to thwart the power of the Internet, the innovation environment, dynamism and willingness to compete is so great that they will overcome all obstacles. The Internet in China reminds me of the early days of Silicon Valley.”

A research scientist for one of the world’s largest market research firms responded, “I expect the growing use of the Internet to further challenge the concept of national borders. Cross-border communities of interest will become more meaningful ways for people to form their sense of identity. In addition, people will belong to multiple communities of interest, perhaps helping to develop people’s understanding and tolerance of differences. The ability to belong to multiple networks may also change how people present themselves in different contexts. People will increasingly want to have multiple identities for the multiple networks—social and work-related—that they interact with. Internet-based services that do not offer the ability for people to present different facets of themselves in different circumstances may find themselves becoming sidelined. The Internet allows people to find others who share their interests, no matter how obscure those interests are. Network theory looks at how the greater number of connections in the network has an exponentially increasing benefit for those who join the network. The Internet allows people who might normally be isolated in their interests or views to join networks of like-minded people. Further, the ease of joining communities of interest online means that it will be easier for people to join multiple networks, drifting in and out over time. A potential drawback is fewer long-term connections between people. Society could become more porous and transient by 2025. However, on the positive side, the more communities of interest a person belongs to, the more chance there will be that the person will come across individuals in one community of interest who disagree with one or more of the person’s other communities of interests. Given there will be bonds formed through the commonality of belonging to at least one of the same communities of interest, there is more likelihood that a person will be more accepting of different viewpoints on other issues.”

A research scientist attending graduate school wrote, “Overall, it will be a crucial part of the human existence, as instant communication would be possible. The new generations will be totally immersed into the virtual world, and thus, I expect them to create unwritten social rules. It will be good in terms of connectivity and interactivity, but it will also be a mechanism to control and monitor the society. The Internet will be a part of our vision—i.e., Google Glass—and this means our experience of the world will change, as picking up an object will also mean interacting with it on a virtual plain as well. The objects will be defined on the Internet, and the gadget the person is wearing will be given options of interacting with it on the virtual realm.”

A library director responded, “The role of the Internet in people’s lives will be pervasive. You often won’t realize parts of your life are networked until there is a malfunction.”

A futurist and consultant wrote, “Mobile computing will be everyone. The home computer will be a thing of the past. Everyone will be connected and expected to be connected 24 hours a day. There will be more telecommuting.”

The director of one of the largest US foundations responded, “Greater information equals greater opportunity for democratic engagement of communities. That is good.”

A pioneering academic computer scientist from Princeton University wrote, “The biggest impact will continue to be from the availability of basic information about the world to more people in more places. People will find it easier to organize themselves across distances, and to share experiences across borders.”

A law professor at Georgetown University and former director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection wrote, “The Internet has already had a transformative effect on society. Access to information has never been more universal. The ability for people to communicate with their friends has never been easier or more immediate. And perhaps most important, the ability of people to communicate with others has never been easier or more immediate. The world has collapsed into a more manageable place as a result of the Internet. The Internet is now the social glue that binds. It is an engine of enormous economic productivity. And, for good or ill, it has been a tremendous political force, allowing like-minded people to band together in ways that would have been unimaginable a decade earlier. But it also has had a profound impact on who we are. We are the sum of our digital parts in some sense, and that has minuses and well as pluses. All of the things I’ve mentioned will continue and accelerate. The world in 2025 will be more networked, hyper-informed, and capable of interactions we can’t imagine today.”

A professor of new media at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Canada, wrote, “My hope is that the Internet will contribute significantly to the protection of human rights and the spread of freedom.”

A tenure-track professor at a private research university with a top engineering school, responded, “Access to systems of governance will be one of the biggest—in some places, this will mean more openness and in others more equitable participation, in others, the Internet will continue to grow as a venue for exchanging ideas that will diminish the ability of governments to limit access to global knowledge exchange. Transformation of healthcare will certainly be another change—this should be happening at a much faster pace than it is; the fact that healthcare industries have been so slow to change suggests to me that they are ripe for a major transformation, and that should yield radical improvements in patient care and coordination/information sharing among medical specialists.”

A technology developer and administrator for a global organization that gauges complex systems wrote of what may be next, “Singularity. Neuroscience. Poverty reduction? Knowledge distribution.”

A director of technology for the New York Academy of Medicine responded, “Perhaps the greatest impact will be on education: what comprises education and how we get an education. This may be the single most important impact of the Internet on society in the coming years.”

A social entrepreneur dedicated to increasing the opportunities available to persons with disabilities responded, “The Internet will be an instrument of control rather than liberation. This is not a technical inevitability; it is just a consequence of choices being made today and trends that are already quite self-evident. There is little that the average citizen can do against the government-corporate alliance; one which results from short-term self-interest rather than any type of widespread conspiracy.”

A principal engineer for Cisco Systems wrote, “By 2025, the Internet will be even more distributed through society than it is today. But we will have also reached a point where the Internet is not a panacea, but instead just a communication medium used when needed, and not when not. Life won’t be about the Internet, but about life.”

A research scientist who teaches new media and Internet studies at a graduate level in a European university predicted, “As more people will get connected, particularly from developing countries, there will be an unprecedented impact on economies everywhere. Multilingual content, rich content, and various other developments will inspire humanity to achieve a greater future.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “There will be a continued revolution in the way we relate to the world around us. Simultaneously, we will become more worldly, and (if we’re not careful) more parochial; yes, the information we want will increasingly find its way to us, as networks learn to accurately predict our interests and weaknesses. But that will also tempt us to stop seeking out knowledge, narrowing our horizons, even as we delve evermore deep. The privacy premium may also be a factor: only the relatively well-off (and well-educated) will know how to preserve their privacy in 2025.”

A research scientist and PhD candidate responded, “Education and access to information will have changed. People will be more able to access information, even if not all of them, and not everywhere, and maybe not all of them in the right way. I expect, though, they will learn how to do it to access relevant information for them.”

A researcher at a marketing research firm doing work in the online privacy space said, “Most consuming will be done online. There are smart fridges now that tell you when you’re running low on certain groceries. This will become more widespread as advertisers find better ways to track and predict consumer habits. Most entertainment will be done online as consumers continue to move from TV to online streaming services. The common link will be sharing and expression. Today, many people live-tweet while watching TV shows, and the Internet is awash with reviews and discussion the following day. Both shopping and entertainment online will continue to have more and more of a shared/social element, causing it to become an expressive, social experience, rather than simply buying a shirt or watching a movie. This will be the case across all types of news and content consumed online.”

An executive for national news organization wrote, “Artificial intelligence will be much more ubiquitous and will revolutionize how we travel, manufacture products, and communicate. Higher education will be transformed by the Internet, with virtual classrooms becoming much more common and replacing some in-classroom instruction. This technology—along with demographic and economic trends—will result in a significant number of private universities collapsing and will lead to historic changes in the business model of public higher education. We’ll have nearly universal access to Wi-Fi, making news and information more pixel-based and even less print-centric.”

The president of a technology consulting company noted, “2025 is not very far off, so the advances and impact I see are not extreme. I expect the Internet to be more portable—i.e., fewer desktops, more Wi-Fi portals, and wearable, smaller devices. Tools such as GPS, shopping tools, like discounts via Bluetooth when you walk into a store, and proximity tools—‘your friend John is 200 feet away from you’—will be most common. Technology will be incorporated into things like cars, with apps to start, diagnose, lock, etc. Government will use technology to increase revenue; for example, all toll booths will charge their fees without the need for cars to stop, driving tickets will be by camera. Most homes will be wired (security, lights, HVAC) and TV and PC will be integrated with online entertainment being merged with offline shows. Overall, the impact will be positive and the challenges will be minimal between now and 2025.”

A professor of communication with a PhD in history and master’s degree in law wrote, “It will be, for worse or good, an (almost) ubiquitous Net. At least it will be in the Western world; I am not so sure if it’ll happen as well in the third world.”

A professor of computer science at the University of Maryland wrote, “There will be broadened participation, easy access to information, a more informed public who are more engaged politically.”
The former chair of the Benchmarking Methodologies Working Group of the IETF wrote, “The role of the Internet in people’s lives will continue to increase as bandwidth and access is extended. ‘Phone’ calls, messaging, and mail messages will continue to be what people want to do easily and without regard to location. As daily life, commerce, and government increase their dependence on the Internet, defacto surveillance and near total loss of privacy will occur. Technologies to protect identity and activity will be outlawed on the grounds of fear of terrorism.”

An adjunct professor of computer science at a US university predicted a, “Widespread connection of machines to the Internet. Basically, any device that uses electricity and that costs more than $100 or so, as well as many less costly devices for which Internet connectivity is more beneficial than average, will have Internet connectivity. Most connectivity will be wireless (802.11, whatever, or commercial services); some will be power line networking within the premises. This development will serve efficiency, safety, and home security. It will also further erode privacy. Think Orwell’s 1984 telescreen only with the ability to adjust your thermostat, monitor smoke alarms, and call 911 if you have fallen and can’t get up.”

An assistant professor at a US university wrote, “The connectivity that the Internet (and/or its subsequent successors) affords will allow us to combat serious social issues such as poverty, hunger, and global warming because we can have more diverse voices and ideas in the development of solutions.”

A professor at the University of California who teaches in a discipline that combines ICT with social sciences responded, “Among the elite, identification with nations, nationalities, and ethnicities will disappear. Their identification will be with this international elite and with the companies through which they build wealth. Already, people in a certain stratum move around and live all over the world, enabled, to a large degree, by the Internet. The educated, capable, innovative populations from which local and national leaders have traditionally been drawn will be less involved with geographically-oriented communities and institutions—to the detriment of those communities and institutions. This will increase disparities—between developed nations and others; and between underprivileged local areas, such as between the wealthy urban areas and poorer communities. There will be people who are concerned with the civic sphere, but fewer and fewer of those will be from the better-educated and most accomplished ranks. The less-well-resourced countries will be markets for the other countries’ companies—i.e., the way companies now are selling information technologies in the third world. This trend will accelerate—fewer in-country entrepreneurs and fewer educated and capable people from third-world countries will stay there and try to address their countries’ needs.”

An antispam and security architect wrote, “There will be an erosion of privacy and the use of dirty-tricks social media will emerge more and more in election campaigns. Abusers evolve and scale far more than regular Internet users.”

A global leader involved in promoting the global use of the Internet through technical and policy coordination and cooperation involving all stakeholders wrote, “Mainly through low-priced mobile devices, the role of the Internet will impact the next 1-2 billion users, mainly by allowing them new choice and language preferences. There will be new Internet users in emerging economies, using their native language and scripts for e-commerce and communications.”

A doctoral student and researcher in communication wrote, “We will see the rise of alternative financial models—Bitcoin as a concept was the beginning of something, not a flash in the pan, even if Bitcoin itself does not survive or become popular. I see the Internet being used to both strengthen and undermine democracies, especially when it comes to voting technologies and campaign tactics. The Internet will radically change how we think of privacy and security, fracturing those concepts into different spheres and altering each sphere differently. I think the biggest changes in the world will occur off the World Wide Web and will happen as a result of the Internet as a network, not as a consumer sphere.”

An International Telecommunication Union area representative for Central America responded, “The Internet will become pervasive in every aspect of life in many countries and part of a normal life, empowering people to have much more impact, but as a tool it could be used for good or bad. The Internet of Things related to the environment will have the biggest impact.”

The owner of a small publishing and consulting business said, “The Internet will be so deeply embedded in what we do and how we do it that we won’t even refer to it as the Internet. Precedent: electricity powers much of what we do, but we rarely have conversations about electricity.”

A retired software engineer and IETF participant responded, “The Internet is just a tool. By 2025, it will have become even more of a Rube Goldberg creation than it already is, and while it will probably be the technology of the masses, the technological visionaries will have moved on to something else. Governments will no longer pretend that their massive and targeted surveillance efforts are covert. Controlling access to the Internet will become a means of social control, just as controlling access to transportation is today.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “The most significant effect of the Internet will be on the notion of privacy. The Pandora’s Box has been opened, and there is not much we can do to stop the stream of private information pouring in the public online venues. The biggest change will be dystopia-like changes for freedom around the world. I forecast the rise of police states in many parts of the world. If the NSA can do it now, then China/North Korea/Saudi Arabia will be able to do it in a decade, and those governments will not restrain themselves.”

The co-founder of a consultancy with practices in Internet technology and biomedical engineering wrote, “I am interested in how much the Internet shifts costs, rather than reduces costs. It makes sense that online commerce (e.g. buying stuff from amazon.com) potentially reduces fuel expenditures, as we don’t individually drive to 10 different stores to comparison shop; instead, we outsource the delivery to one logistically optimized truck service like UPS or FedEx—but how much is spent to maintain the server farms, warehouses, and single-item order deliveries, and what is the net benefit or expense? It seems like we should hit a backlash on Internet use related to the energy costs and level out at some reasonable degree of usage, similar to automobile technology. We can make cars that are faster (like F1 race cars) or more luxurious (like Rolls Royce), but for most people, the technology is a boring part of every day life that gets us from point A to point B, like a Honda, even a used Honda. Where will our craving for bigger/better/faster Internet level out? I am also concerned about premature Internet adoption; for example, a worst-case scenario, where some agency like the IRS goes ‘Internet-only’ and declines to process paper applications, creating an enormous hardship for entire classes of society. Maybe the IRS is a far-fetched example, but imagine any vendor who decides their product is best offered ‘Internet-only,’ immediately disenfranchising entire classes of consumer. What if the public library in your community closed its physical doors and went Internet-only?”

A professor of biology wrote, “The big impact will be the rise of autonomous and distributed AIs. Intelligence is perhaps an emergent property of complex interconnections between relatively non-intelligent entities.”
A counsel for an Internet domain name registry wrote, “The Internet has already changed our lives and will continue to do so, but possibly not in such dramatic ways as since 2000. I expect more of the same.”

The chief scientist at a Fortune 50 technology company responded, “The Internet will become ever more ubiquitous—exactly how is unclear to me.”

A professor at George Washington University noted, “Through the Internet, people everywhere in the world have access to the majority of human knowledge. Access to information is no longer a barrier to development. Literacy, education, and knowing how to find and how to use information are still barriers. But increasingly, education is being provided via the Internet. We shall have a single, global university system. Of course, administrators will continue to be concerned with buildings, salaries, and budgets. But professors and students can now collaborate easily, independent of location or university affiliation. Contacts made at conferences and through visiting scholar programs can be continued via the Internet.”

A member of the ISOC Chapter Costa Rica wrote, “The Internet will keep helping to decentralize so-far centralized systems, like electricity and fuel supply networks, and people will be able to better control their environmental impact.”

A software engineer with a top Internet-based corporation wrote, “If I might deal with information technology in general, I expect a shift in power towards the center. Governments will collect data on people like never before. Countries that have less freedom today will, by 2025, have the kind of capabilities as today’s top-tier intelligence agencies. That will allow for effective population control, if the government can avoid corruption crippling it. Even in liberal democracies, collection of information will be so cheap that it will happen, and some will fall to its temptations, or will be felled by insiders who have access and ambition. Technology will continue to remove the need for human labor. Those with advanced skills will benefit from greatly increased demand for those skills, but most of the benefits will accrue to capital: the current rich. Inequality in society will be quelled, to some extent, by the fact that living standards will be maintained or may increase. But the new elite will be fearful, and that will result in increase of authoritarianism. (Which will be nicely served by collecting data on everyone.) Environmental changes and resources and water limitations will mean massive instability in large parts of the world: more concentrated in the southern hemisphere (certainly for water) and Asia (for environmental issues). There is some hope that the Internet will help affected peoples to adapt, but it’s a weak balm compared to the troubles that I expect them to face.”

A research scientist wrote, “Being able to trivially answer questions and learn new things will empower individuals and organizations. Being able to reach out to communicate with others quickly and smoothly is the closest thing to telepathy we’ve seen. But the idea that we will spend our lives primarily online is overblown. The novelty of posting ‘I ate oatmeal!’ on Facebook quickly wears off. Real life, with real landscapes, will remain the focus of humanity. The specifics of our daily jobs will change; the reality of having jobs will not.”

A retired university professor and well-known science fiction writer predicted, “There may be AI collaboration and teaming between humans and the Internet at all scales of size, speed, and locality. The Internet of Things warfare can trump all possibilities. Imagine World War I as fought with year-2000 weapons of mass destruction. Such an outcome needs no monsters, just accidents and deadly foolish policies.”

A self-employed lawyer who focuses on antitrust, copyright, trade associations and freedom of speech responded, “The most significant impact will be to help empower humans to regain control over their governments and return for-profit corporations to their intended subservient role as mere property.”

An academic researcher at MIT responded, “Commercial impact will be big; lots of companies are going to become wealthy. Everyday citizens will gain positive secondary impact by better customization and personalized services.”

A senior lecturer at Ohio State University wrote, “The opportunity for mass collaboration is one of the most hopeful things about the Internet. In spite of governmental efforts to suppress citizen action, we have seen a strong growth in advocacy sites and online organizations. Even the so-called ‘armchair activism’ groups, which solicit email responses from their lists, seem to be having an effect on government and corporations alike. In a country where measures are being taken to suppress the votes of the disadvantaged, this may provide education and opportunity for people who have no voice.”

An entrepreneur and business leader who works with the Internet Society responded, “The Internet will become the most common service human beings will be using and requiring. Thus, the endangerment of power by certain groups and/or individuals will strongly increase. Most probably, the whole world will be connected, of course with an exception of some 15% or even more. Some people will never want to be connected.”

A professor and associate dean for research at Syracuse University wrote, “I am reminded of a talk on national boundaries, led by a political scientist, from the late 1990s who said ‘we are all sharing a boundary that no one understands’ in his talk on how the Internet and the concept of a social boundary do not sit well together. There will be boundaries that distinguish people from one another. The form, location, and enforcement of all boundaries (home, personal, familial, friends, location, country, work) will all be changing. Such changes will be happening at different rates and in multiple ways (countries devolving or expanding, families more or less porous, work more and less open). Such technology-enabled social change is something to address, not react to. There will be lots of stress.”

An anonymous survey participant based in the US who works on music/technology issues responded, “Fullest potential? Not a hard question at all! More humans around the world will have access to information. While this can be liberating and empowering, it can also be destructive. It will also likely reduce cultural differences and make us a more homogenous global culture. One of the hidden costs of the globalization of the Internet is the vast amount of energy it takes to make it happen, in server farms, power generation, and water usage. This conversation will be as critical as the conversations about the Internet itself, as all of these are in short supply and subject to geopolitical pressures.”

A futurist and CEO wrote, “A major unknown factor in the evolution of the Internet and networked society is the result from the next billion or more people who will come online in the next decades.”

A director of advanced networks and applications for CableLabs predicted, “It will be ubiquitous. We will have widespread access to information—and knowledge/synthesis in the future—wherever we are, on whatever device/screen/interface we want. This will democratize our society, particularly in business and politics. It will level the playing field and empower smaller entities, like entrepreneurial ventures, grassroots activism, etc. Society in 2025 will be far more libertarian than it is today, as people feel more confident in making their own decisions (look at marijuana legalization and gay marriage, for example). Centralized decision-making will be under pressure. The Cloud—it will expand beyond compute and storage into networking. That means that resources can be shifted based on demand, and the basis of competition will change from bandwidth to quality of experience.”

An engineer for Mozilla wrote, “There will be no significant impact, except for the impact that it will have on places where the Internet hasn’t yet fully arrived. There, it will be more disruptive than it has been in more established countries as it opens up commercial opportunities and new means of exploitation. The greatest impact the Internet has, and will have, is in the way that it has and will form the central commercial marketplace on the planet. No more than that. People will continue to seek affirmation of their own beliefs, and while there will be some opportunities for cultural barriers to break down in light of better communication, the recent years have shown that building those barriers back up again is also extremely important to people.”

A lecturer at a university school of arts and social sciences in Australia wrote, “Significant overall impacts could be much more alerts, such as tsunami alerts, in the ocean, and throughout the world, connected to the mobile phone systems that could assist in evacuation and rescue plans during environmental catastrophes. As far as human stupidity in religious and other pointless types of wars, that will remain. Potentially, the use of drones via Internet will not (unfortunately) end the slaughter of civilians but might save the lives of those serving in battle. In politics, it seems unlikely that mobile phones or other devices will cause populations to have any more say in significant issues in their lives.”

A distinguished engineer who works for Microsoft predicted, “There will be transparency and cliques. We can expect government action to be exposed, bringing more transparency to the way democracy operates. We can also expect people to aggregate even more in like-minded cliques.”

A field sales engineer for a major semi-conductor company noted, “Connectivity improves the quality of lives.”

A self-employed writer, researcher and consultant wrote, “One area I think the Internet could change and be helpful is that it may help connect people with jobs and/or work that needs to be done and to allow for real-time monitoring and management of critical health and environmental indices. A continuing problem, though, will be the accuracy of information. It will be a challenge to keep information from being tangled, to be able to find and correct inaccuracies and to avoid breakdowns in accountability.”

A telecommunications and Internet policy professional who works for a Japanese non-profit semi-academic research center wrote, “There will be a major event, perhaps an outage caused by hacking—deliberate or accidental—that will cause us to rethink how we use the Internet. US corporations—those responsible for 70% of our activities online—and US government will realize their approach to the Internet must change, or we will see fragmentation. The greatest impact will be the continued pervasiveness of the Internet. It will be the platform for everything.”

A programmer who works as an activist and for the Canadian government responded, “There will be great reductions in militaries and more global travel and trade. The Internet will increase sharing and finding of common ground, and the little guy will still win!”

The research director for a technology trade association wrote, “The Internet will continue to serve as a tool that enables research, provides access to information and entertainment, and at times, provides us with a coarser view of humanity. It is not an unalloyed good or evil. It essentially reveals the human heart.”

The director of an online education support community wrote, “Humans will become more dependent or enabled in all domains.”

A top leader with MCNC wrote, “By 2025, we’ll consider the Internet to be ubiquitous, and we will focus on applications and capabilities, and not on our interest in the plumbing that is important now because it limits us so significantly. International borders will continue to blur. The Internet will continue to facilitate extreme views and groups.”

A senior policy advisor for a major Internet services organization group wrote, “People will communicate more, but less meaningfully, and even to a point of paying less attention to other people. Machines take over much of the basic communication, making it harder for people to make their own choices. Societal good becomes less important, and we will become more vulnerable to economic power dominating our lives, or political choices being manipulated to benefit extreme views. There is a real risk of de-humanisation. So far, the Internet has been the great enabler. As we rely more on information being selected and processed without our involvement, our ability to question the choices becomes less easy, to a point where we feel separated from the decisions made on our behalf.”

A professor of law noted, “The Internet, insofar as it offers something distinct from broadcast media, simply offers us a mirror to ourselves (or at least those of us who have the ability to obtain access). What we see in that mirror is not always pretty, but it is generally more accurate than the pictures we saw in the past. The pressing question is how we will react to this. Will we focus narrowly on ourselves and our personal (consumer) needs, or will we take this chance to see and engage with the global community? I don’t know the answer, but whichever way that goes, that decision will undoubtedly have the most significant overall impact on how the Internet affects humanity.”

An executive director of a nonprofit that protects civil liberties online wrote, “The Internet won’t be something people log into by 2025. It will be everywhere, and everyone will have access to it. This will be great for connecting people, but it will also be horrible for privacy and individuality.”

An associate professor at a university wrote, “The increasing potential for surveillance and monitoring practices—through Web and especially mobile applications, but also through various sensors, like those embedded in clothing, etc.—will probably be one of the most dangerous impacts.”

The director of a Web-based journalism project at a major US university wrote, “A generation has now grown up with Internet and feels comfortable using it. I don’t think we will see significant changes in the way that it is used, but I do think its impact on social, economic, and political processes will be steady and increasingly significant. Its ability to mobilize people is still in its infancy, and its power will be great.”

A professor at a research university in the US wrote, “The democratization of information, user-generated content, sharing of research especially in science and medicine, the rapid communication during times of crisis and social change: these are the ways in which the Internet will continue to play a positive role between now and 2025. We just have to be sure we have backup plans because we are all a little too trusting that the network, power, and so forth will always work. And we also have to find ways to get exercise, communicate face-to-face, and use the Internet as a tool for change, not just a place to watch cat videos.”

A professor at the University of Southern California wrote, “Networked monitoring devices around health and wellness will have a significant impact—both good and bad. Good in the sense that people will take more ownership of their own healthcare needs, and bad in that it will open many privacy issues.”

An employee of the US government based in Washington, D.C., said, “The Internet has brought out the vanity and narcissism of humanity in an unprecedented way. That will only continue and will be the biggest social impact. Economically and politically, the Internet favors those who can manipulate the medium the best. Others get left behind.”

A research group leader investigating social media wrote, “The Internet is neither good nor bad; it has never been, and it will never be. There is always a huge potential to help people to stay connected and receive emotional support and important information, and it can always be misused by people.”

An administrator for technology-focused units in educational nonprofits responded, “Opening access to information to many more people is a major, significant benefit of the Internet. Also, giving people access to social, political, and economic networks that they could not have reached before is another major benefit. Those who would exploit such access for purposes that are detrimental to functional, sustaining societies provide the downside of the Internet’s possibilities. The Internet—if left open—will introduce more people around the world to each other and to things we/they can do together or alone (by choice) and offer greater possibilities of human understanding on Earth. Nevertheless, the Internet also offers possibilities for greater confusion for people, resulting from having more information than one or many are used to having, possibly leading to one or many focusing less attention on broad, new functional possibilities and on more knee-jerk, unthinking reactions. I vote for the average human opting for the beneficial possibilities of the Internet, assuming we/they can overcome entrenched systemic interests (human and organization interests in governments, religions, businesses) that are threatened by the new possibilities.”

A PhD candidate at Pennsylvania State University wrote, “I expect to see the notion of privacy hotly contested by academics and policy makers, while everyday consumers continue to give up increasing amounts of personal data about their habits, moods, patterns, and movements in order to gain access to new consumer developments. With the exception possibly of Canada, with its outdated usage-based billing for residential Internet access, which is currently hindering technological development and deployment in that country, I expect to see Internet access become a must-have for most westerners. As more of everyday life digitizes, eliminating things like paper, and as more devices become net enabled, we will conversely also see more cocooning at home, surrounded by smart devices and our own Wi-Fi access.”

A leader in the World Wide Web Consortium predicted, “Web standardization.”

A CEO for a company that builds intelligent machines that make you smarter about your money wrote, “For those that have, it will be a time of plenty. As the costs of computing have come down, and the variety of computing resources increases, those in 2025 with the creative means to overcome the dramatic increase in unemployment in the West will be smarter, happier, healthier, and better cared for than any other socio-economic class in history. For the have-nots it will be significantly more difficult to make a living. The skilled and unskilled jobs for which they qualify will have started to become fully automated, and, unable to compete with the exogenous augmentation that affords the haves with additional productivity and wealth, they will discover that building a better life for themselves or for their children is virtually impossible. What they will have instead are new levels of deeply immersive distraction—dreams that feel as real as the real thing, for only the cost of a little piece of their liberty, security, and privacy. Then again, maybe we’ll realize in the next year or two how soon this will be upon us, and those of us in the know will start making changes for the better.”

The policy director for a large US-based technology company responded, “The Internet will continue to have a great impact on people’s lives. The impact may be more profound globally, where there is a lack of technology today. The Internet—the connectedness the Internet provides—will result in solving some of the major challenges that exist today, if other hurdles can be overcome. For example, there could be more efficient food distribution, better predictive technology that enables anticipation of drought, floods, famine, and the ability to act to avoid human catastrophe. But civil society must choose to engage—technology can only assist.”

A networking engineer who is an IETF standard and draft contributor wrote, “The role of the Internet will continue to become more and more important in people’s life. The future Internet will be involved in every aspect of people’s life in the age of information.”

The project director for the Black Hills Knowledge Network responded, “By 2025, people are likely to have devices that will allow them to integrate thinking and retrieving stored data in a real-time way, wherever they are. For better and for worse, memory will become a less important component of human activity compared to synthesizing. This is likely to change human behavior.”

A free-lance writer on social issues wrote, “The Internet will have the biggest impact on the lives of the less privileged—all over the world, helping them to access more information, be smarter about their own economic lives, and give stronger voice to their own needs and wishes. Reaching this population will improve the lot of all of us.”

A professor at Stanford Law School wrote, “The most significant impact of new technologies will be the expansion of the economics of the Internet (the separation of creation from production and the democratization of both) into physical goods and services, through mechanisms like 3D printing, robotics, and synthetic biology.”

A leader for the Monitor Institute wrote, “We will forget some of the ways we discover things, try to build our understanding of the way the world works, and interact with each other. We will gain new ways to discover, learn, and interact. I am influenced by The Lost Art of Finding Our Way. We will rely deeply on the Internet for sense making, information retrieval, monitoring and systems control, and communication that we may be completely helpless when the system is disrupted.”

An executive at a top-level domain name operator wrote, “The Semantic Web has been promised for years. Given continued advances in computing power, storage and AI, it seems likely we’ll see a major shift in how we interact via the Internet. This could be as meaningful as distance learning and telemedicine, or as mundane as consumption of adult content.”

A computer-networking engineer at a network technology company that employs 75,000 people and author and administrator of IETF standards wrote, “There will be autonomous personal transportation and even more pervasive and pernicious monitoring of personal actions, travel, and behaviors.”

A prolific technology writer responded, “The Internet will submerge into much the same role as electricity and plumbing. It will be expected, and only noticed if it’s missing. All ‘higher’ services will use the Internet—all communication, and machines, will be Internet-connected. Society will be vastly more efficient.”

An assistant professor at a Big Ten university wrote, “The most significant impact of the Internet has already occurred—people are sharing and posting information about themselves and others in a space where the content will never be deleted. As such, I don’t believe this will change. However, the access and knowledge of how to access this information is what will change and cause more substantial impacts. Once the general public learns more about how to access more detailed and older information, this will cause a shift. The Internet, I believe, has already reached its peak.”

A university professor wrote, “The Internet will be good for making production, services, and everyday life more efficient. The bad will be due to the predictable rise of transparency concerning personal matters. Practically everybody having the required knowledge and skills will be able to efficiently communicate and act via Internet. This will be a tremendous advantage to people who are lagging behind—whatever the reasons—in the development and application of knowledge and skills of this type. We are moving fast to a new and very substantial social stratification in this respect.”

A US government Internet policy analyst wrote, “The successor to the Internet will become more Balkanized.”

A science and technology policy analyst wrote, “Between now and 2025, the biggest change will be the greater engagement of more people in the developing world. That diminution of the global digital divide will translate into a wide range of social, economic, creative, and political phenomena. Processes we have begun to see (positive and negative) will continue to play out—the leveraging by individuals of technology to expand speech, social connections, business, and so on will continue, as will the efforts by some to exploit others through cybercrime and the efforts by some governments to try to constrain speech and behavior.”

A freelance editor and writer responded, “It will be a mixed bag. Technology is to have saved us time, but people seem to have less time. I wonder about the peer power of liking on Facebook: the sheer pressure of numbers—the steamroller feeling of not belonging if you do not Facebook, for example.”

A leader with Customer Carewords wrote, “The Internet is a contradiction: less privacy but more capacity for people power. Whether good or bad will depend on how engaged and active a society is.”

An online producer for a leading National Public Radio group wrote, “As access continues to grow in third-world nations, we’ll see more talk about the language of the Internet and making it so that all can access the wealth of content. Medical technology will change dramatically. Perhaps we’ll see a wearable that will measure certain aspects of your health and alert your doctor if something looks amiss.”

A self-proclaimed “social innovation orphan” wrote, “There will be a repeated crisis of trust, spying, broken privacy, and advertising that will lead to alternative ‘Internets’ that work better. By ‘work better,’ I mean they will be more helpful with developing and maintaining social connections, supporting the sharing economy and small local economic development, and overhaul political processes in deeply disruptive ways. The will of the people in politics and the ‘invisible hand’ will really become visible and active. Don’t expect a hammer to build a house—at least not before 2025. The greatest impacts will be two-fold—the vast uprising of local-specific and small-scale business supported by the Internet and easy political engagement through transparency about what actions politicians take and the end of the age of politicians being two-faced.”

A private law firm partner specializing in telecom/Internet regulatory issues wrote, “By 2025, the Internet will have begun to fade into the background, like telephones or electricity have faded today.”

An educator specializing in digital technology predicts that 2025 will see the world, “Finally achieving the goal of everyone being connected all the time to everyone else and to data sources of all kinds. The same good’s/bad’s will apply as they do now, around issues like efficiency, access to knowledge, convenience and activism vs. social control, privacy intrusions, and signal-to-noise ratio.”

A technology developer/administrator employed by a large cable company responded, “The Internet is ultimately a way to connect people, for learning, for entertainment, for collaboration, for communication. The lines separating types of communication (voice, video, text, etc.) will continue to blur as the old dedicated networks fall away and are replaced by one more flexible one. The value in advances will be in making it more intuitive, so that it’s easier for more people to use for more things—instead of being ‘a thing you do,’ it becomes second nature, to the point that it is invisible unless it goes missing. Governments will still attempt to control that free exchange of information, with varying degrees of success.”

A senior policy advisor for EDUCAUSE predicted, “Transparency and openness, already perhaps the biggest benefit of the networked economy, will only continue to improve. I worry that we continue to find the right balance for freedom and openness (and non-government controlled) to allow this technology to flourish. We are going to need to re-think social norms since so many transactions and relationships previously accomplished in a physical setting will take place virtually.”

A futurist and consultant with mindShift wrote, “There will be collective problem solving; the dissolution of corrupt governments like Russia and China—even the US will not be exempt. There will be continued income disparity and a new corrupt cultural elite.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Government and companies will kill the innovative platform and create vast amounts of users that meet their interests, rather than what the technologies could truly empower. Consider smart meters: they could be deployed with a smart grid that empowers individuals and decentralised power distribution and generation; or, they could be deployed in ways that empower governments and existing utilities and create a control and surveillance infrastructure. Chaos is needed, but we are actually seeing a significant slowdown in innovation. We are talking about wearable devices and drones as though they are the great innovations of this era; this pales in significance compared to the innovation we saw between 1980 and 2008.”

An associate professor of computer science at Columbia University wrote, “The Internet will be the more reliable method of transacting with other humans than real-life transactions. This includes financial, social, and educational transactions.”

A self-employed digital consultant responded, “There will be a globalisation of culture, and hence, aspiration—we’re becoming a planet of shared values. We may also see equality through democracy—problems with voting will be solved, and people will be more able to reduce the inequalities that plague us.”

An associate professor at Ohio State University wrote, “The Internet will move from being primarily about commerce to being primarily about development of problem-solving communities. This will be the result of Internet-based education. Because these communities will be distributed, there will be less opportunity for state control of information control and trajectory of problem solving. Much of this is dependent on developing new types of educational models that focus on the unique aspects of Internet-based social participation. The greatest difference will be the breakdown of traditional governing mechanisms, such as bounded bureaucracies and traditional media. It will be replaced by a distributed form of governance that is more local and based on immediate problems but also open to impact from global sources.”

An activist advocating for individuals online wrote, “Physical infrastructure will not be well-maintained. Automobile manufacturers and plane manufacturers will decline. How to be successful virtually will be taught.”

An assistant director of the Center for Advanced Study of Communities and Information at the University of Maryland, School of Information Studies responded, “The incentive structure inherent in a capitalist society has privileged private profit over the public good and resulted in such problems as the development of highly addictive electronic entertainment, which has clearly had a negative impact on children’s health and fitness. Similarly, balanced sources of news have been widely displaced by biased commentary and an increasing ‘echo chamber’ effect. The digital divide has exacerbated economic and social inequality. These trends are likely to continue with an accelerating decline in civil society and social welfare and a significant risk of civil unrest. The widespread availability of facts from sources such as Wikipedia will increase the value of accurate perception, good judgment and the ability to solve problems.”

An Internet pioneer who now works for Defense Distributed, wrote, “By 2025, most human commercial activity will be black market, or system D: outside the tablatures of official power. The Internet and next generation e-commerce and cypto-currencies will empower individuals to act outside of arbitrary and capricious frameworks like that of the nation-state.”

An associate professor of history and author wrote, “People will get most of their information and entertainment online. Analog media and hand-made things will become more fascinating and sought after by many. Lo-Fi Internet will develop further for non-Western populations who will only be able access the Internet on cheap mobile devices (in the way mobile phones are now used in Africa). Ideally, the Internet’s current dilemmas should renew a desire for a genuine public access to information and genuine protections of one’s privacy. Governments and international bodies will pass legislation protecting people’s privacy and access on the Internet. Even if this legislation is not effective, it will open new ways to imagine, describe, and work toward a truly public domain, where life and interaction free of government and corporate control would be possible.”

A professor at the University of Toronto wrote, “Two things loom: Environmental aspects—we need to develop more green technologies. Social inclusion—we need to develop more stable and sustainable funding for programs and policies to increase access to technologies.”

An academic and advocate engaged with the development of global Internet governance wrote, “The Good: there will be wider connections across peoples. The Bad: there will be a substitution of electronic means for real connections between peoples.”

A self-employed educational technology consultant responded, “Big data collected via the Internet will impact society even further.”

An associate professor of Sociology at California State University, Northridge, wrote, “Censorship sows the seeds of its own destruction. The more that is attempted, the faster becomes democracy’s march. Political processes (and thus social and economic) are thus somewhat dependent on choices—bold moves backwards will be catalysts for movements forward—and big swings can be dangerous.”

A population health researcher and practitioner working predominantly in preventative health and Internet sexuality wrote, “It will be so embedded in our lives that it will just be a given facet of day-to-day activities. Google Glass and other wearable technology have the potential to change the way we do just about everything.”

A researcher in the computer science division of the University of California-Berkeley predicted there will be, “open access for all academic research publications and data.”

A research scientist and academic wrote, “Global access to advanced educational material will change the lives of many young people.”

A professional who carries out software research and development for a major software organization noted, “Organized crime is only now waking up to the opportunity to use the Internet for systemic fraud. Defenses are not rising fast enough.”

A leader of Pro6 Networks in India wrote, “The Good: The Internet will be the first point of contact for all

users, replacing printed media. The Bad: Too much adult content will be flooding around, cyber-bullying will rise, cyber-stalking will rise, and child pornography might increase if not controlled.”

A researcher and associate professor at the University of Illinois responded, “The greatest impact of the Internet is already well underway. Individuals are increasingly under surveillance by a variety of agents, both governmental and corporate, for a variety of reasons. Shoshana Zuboff pointed out long ago that making processes subject to information technology’s ability to control and monitor inevitably led to people in positions of power trying to exploit that new information obtained by those technologies to further control employees responsible for those processes. People’s lives are increasingly ‘informatized,’ and the information about their lives increasingly available to a variety of government and corporate players, from Amazon buying patterns to Facebook social network graphs to tracking cookies employed by a variety of agencies. Trying to find new ways to exploit that information to control consumer and citizen behavior will be a key goal for government and corporate agencies for the next decade.”

A professor at Swarthmore College noted, “The biggest mistake we continue to make is to think that the Internet’s possibilities and problems are caused by its underlying technologies. Everything good and bad that can happen in the next decade with digital tools and online media is a function of the legal, political, and economic environment as a whole. We are on the verge of killing the goose that laid the golden eggs by allowing essentially selfish and/or authoritarian interests to capture what has been a vibrant commons. Once the Internet is enclosed, most of what has made it valuable and vibrant will disappear. That’s the precipice upon which the digital future now lies precariously balanced.”

A professor of communication and author of studies of Internet culture wrote, “Right now, I am most invested in understanding the civic and political dimensions of participatory culture. I am trying to understand the ways that having a more participatory culture is opening up new routes into civic and political engagement, how innovative organizations and networks are tapping the affordances of new media, coupled with an ethos that supports diverse participation, in order to convey their messages and mobilize their publics more effectively. It remains to be seen how much influence these mechanisms for finding voice and directing attention are going to be, with some of these effects over-stated and some under-stated in the same conversations. But, given the degree to which these practices have been discovered, spread, and refined over the past decade, I can’t help but think they will take even more decisive shape over the next ten years. That said, I would stress that what we are describing here is not a Twitter Revolution. I am calling my forthcoming book, By Any Media Necessary, and the real development has been expanding the range of media options and tactics available to groups working to bring about social change. We will see more and more examples where grassroots networks will seek to challenge, reform, or overturn established authorities in their countries, similar to what we’ve seen with the Arab Spring, with Turkey and Brazil this past year, and with the Dreamers and Occupy movements in the United States. The issue of how responsive elite groups will be to these challenges will come to a head as we develop more sophisticated models for turning voice into influence and for disrupting established institutions.”

A business leader with an Internet consulting organization wrote, “The most significant impact will be in healthcare and education. Online education will replace the unaffordable college experience worldwide. Healthcare will become personalized and less expensive because of online monitoring of health.”

The CEO of an Internet Network Information Center wrote, “There won’t be a 100% Internet penetration due to two main reasons: 1) Those able but unwilling to connect to the network while losing its privacy and some other liberties; and 2) Those still unable to access to a connected device, not only in Africa but even in rich countries. Those already connected will be living in the Internet most of the time in an unprecedented way; companies like Facebook and Google will control most of their actions but still not control their thinking.”

A doctoral student in information science at the Universidade Estadual Paulista wrote, “Major impacts will be the increasing breach between communities that use and do not use the Web in their day-to-day life, as well as the increase of e-commerce and electronic money. Emergent countries will be expanding their demand for the Web. There will be growing stress due to the shift in routines that e-job and 24/7 demands apply to human life. There will be increased dependency in e-infrastructure, there will be isolation, and more mediated relations, and family structure will be broken. With everyone looking for the next gadget to consume, humanity will be in a state of global dumbness.”

A research fellow at a university in Austria wrote, “There will be greater use of the Internet by more people. There will also be less awareness that the impact of the Internet is created by and relies on people.”

A research scientist said, “Pretty much everyone everywhere will have access if they want it. It will be harder to cope without it. Speeds will be faster. Most old-school media will be Internet-enabled. Politics might (and should) become more Internet-mediated. Hopefully we’ll all be a bit more global and the United States will lose some of its stranglehold.”

An engineer at an Internet company responded, “Before the Internet, freedom of speech was purely theoretical (Franklin noted that freedom of press is the freedom of those who own one). The Internet created an opportunity to turn this freedom into a reality. Today, it is only for a small percentage of the world population. Before 2025, I hope it will reach the majority of mankind.”

A defense and networking professional for a government ministry wrote, “If we get over this current concern over government surveillance and privacy, the Internet may make it possible for the world to ‘live as one.’”

A program manager in a research center for a private university predicted, “The most significant impact will be the lifting of the veil on government reconnaissance, and the general reluctant acceptance by the general population of this lack of privacy will affect democracy as we know it.”

A PhD who participates in civil society efforts to advance information and communication technologies for social development and democracy said, “We are able to develop technology but not justice, equality, and freedom. I am afraid the more advanced ICT of 2025 will not make the human being a better being.”

A technologist working in Internet policy wrote, “Social changes due to a ubiquitous reference and sharing tool will be all-encompassing.”

A professor at Widener University noted, “With changes in technology, there may be something that replaces the Internet.”

A Web developer/manager responded, “Broadband adoption and availability will be the most significant factor in shaping the future of the Internet. Networks in the United States continue to lag behind other developed countries, and broadband availability is still virtually non-existent in rural communities.”

A director for a religious non-profit in Washington, D.C., wrote, “The Internet will become increasingly embedded in our devices and our habits. Currently, we ‘log in’ or ‘go to’ the Internet. This will become virtually antiquated. Desktop computers and keyboards will recede. Instead, our networking will be constant and very pervasive. It will be more or less continuous across our activities. It will also be less mindful and more automatic. Our actions will trigger various messages and consequences without our choice. Driven already about 50,000 miles on your tires? A new set will be ordered for you (once you say or click yes). Keep going to that store to look at the new luggage? A wonderful coupon for a special 30% discount will come to you. As a result, we risk living with less intention, less mindfulness, and less discipline. We may grow so lazy and thoughtless that we may hardly be able to respond when disaster strikes. Let us hope not.”

A doctoral student wrote, “We’ll see more people doing more online. Part of this is simply generational—more pre-Boomers and Boomers will be gone (late adopters) and closing the gap in the digital divide (latest adopters will be the have-nots).”

A vice dean for online learning at New York University responded, “It’s unwise to claim utopian or dystopian futures for technological advances, since these questions must be addressed in the context of boarder social, economic, and political trends, not only in the United States, but globally. We are ignorant, for example, of the effect of the rise of China by 2025—what impact China’s continuing rise has on the world economy and its role in world political and social change. Will African and other developing economies emerge as strong economic and social forces? Will the West continue to experience relative prosperity? How will the continuing wide economic disparity in the United States, and in most economies, affect Western consumer economies? Without these critical contexts, it’s next to impossible to make solid predictions about technological change.”

A principal research scientist at a university-affiliated research center predicted, “The rapid increase in Internet-attached devices will lead to at least one catastrophic failure event due to a legacy service provider failing to properly prepare for a transition to IPv6. The catastrophic failure of an IPv6-ignorant company will be caused by shortsighted planning that revolves around quarterly profit targets.”

The senior policy adviser for a major U.S. Internet service provider wrote, “The Internet threatens to widen the divide of economic equality worldwide—it will facilitate the emergence of some number of more super-rich and will disempower those with lesser education, skills, and available capital. It will improve the overall quality of education and the delivery of social services, but only if public policy barriers (many of them protectionist) fall. The ability of the Internet to foster isolation of political information and opinion threatens democracy in some nations, while in other nations the ability of the Internet to promote dissension could create greater instability (particularly if alternative, extraterritorial means of connectivity, such as Internet dirigibles, are effectively deployed).”

A minority rights advocate and media analyst, teacher, and journalist wrote, “Disruptions in access to the Internet will be one of the most remarkable features of the next fifteen years; people will realize they need back-up systems. It will be important to know how to live in the Net, repair the Net, escape the Net, and live outside the Net.”

A leader at an online news organization wrote, “I hope we can understand each other better, through the sharing of not just political invective, recipes, and porn, but through letting each other into each other’s lives and telling stories. Unfortunately, what I’m seeing are signs of police states run by governments and/or corporations.”

A freelance journalist, editor-at-large, and product reviewer for technology publications wrote, “In my view, the three areas that will be most affected will be: consumer consumption, education, and social processes of the digital natives. And it’s a very mixed bag. Amazon has online retail figured out, and it is sorting out publishing. But you could also ask any car dealer how access to information on the Internet has changed his/her customers and how they must interact with them now. Ask brick-and-mortar retailers about it as they watch their customers pull out their smart phones and compare prices on the spot. Ask the teachers whose classrooms are being transformed by online learning systems and Wikipedia. Ask those same teachers as they struggle to manage smart-phone enabled cheating and draw the line between acceptable—even desirable—collaboration and plain old copying off each other’s homework. And then there’s that digital generation, the ones with their heads down, thumbing their social interactions as they stumble through traffic. They’re likely to be the most collaborative generation in history, but their attention spans are on the endangered species list. They have access to more knowledge than ever in the history of human civilization at a tap or a click, and they’re sending each other pictures of their junk.”

The publisher of an Internet-futures-oriented publication wrote, “It will be totally immersive. The Internet will be everywhere, embedded in all of our technologies. It will be so pervasive that it will define how the world works. The Internet of Things is the next frontier. Adoption will be driven by the prospect for improved efficiency, productivity, and the opportunity to create new high-value applications.”

A professor of political science at the University of Louisville responded, “Smart-tech proliferation will transform lives in the developing world: farmers will have real-time weather and market information, and there will be more micro-credit and online banking. In the developed world, advances will transform teaching and delivery of public services and government.”

A former CEO of the California Virtual University and consultant to the National Archives on the development of its digital systems for storage and management of national documents wrote, “First, the open-ended question is too open: one could spend many pages on this. Second, the internationalization of collaboration, already well underway, will challenge national states and their subdivisions. Even cities will begin to matter less than they do now. Is this good? Well, business both loves and hates war. The defense industry is against most other industries in this respect, so we may see conflicts that are fundamentally industrial, rather than national. Third, over time, the Internet should reduce tribalism. To the extent that people acquire interests that are extra- or supra-tribal, their allegiance to their tribes will decrease. Is that good? I don’t know yet.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “We are seeing a significant overall impact today. It can only increase. Teachers rely on the Internet to teach, expecting their students to submit work and take tests electronically. There has been an adjustment period to students—of any age—to learn from a monitor and produce with a keyboard, when they were raised to read from a book and show what they learned with a pencil on paper. In 2025, it will be standard form. There are teachers who do not reach out to parents because they feel the software that records the students’ grades are explanation enough—true story. There are professors at colleges who never meet a student in an online class and all of their assignments are self-graded and recorded into academic software—true story. The greatest impact will be a lack of human interaction, the lessening of the uses of our five senses.”

A freelance science/medical writer and communications director for a state government agency responded, “I generally have a pessimistic view of the role of the Internet in our lives by 2025 and the impact it will have on our world. Where once the Internet was the province of astronomers and genealogists, it was quickly overrun by pornographers, and then legitimates businesses and governments who see the Internet and its spinoffs (apps, etc.) as a way to simply make money, mine personal data and become intrusive in ways the consumer has no clue about, nor any way to stop. ‘Cogito ergo sum,’ with its contribution to the life of the individual, and our rights as individuals (as outlined in the U.S. Bill of Rights and other documents and writings), will fade away.”

The creative director for fashion e-commerce company responded, “There will be continued access to information for more and more people.”

A communications specialist at a public university responded, “The big impact will be in education. For the curious in society, the Internet is an incredible gift. I can’t imagine not having it. The availability of knowledge at my fingertips is both tremendously exciting and daunting. And on a whim, I can take myself down a new road of learning. That is truly wonderful. I have seen its tremendous force for good—global politics, helping a local family, reconnecting with distant relatives. All good. I also see its misuse, or careless use—people seeing something on the Internet and unable to discern if it is real or not. The global reach is awe-inspiring—we are learning outside of our cultural bubbles, and that is a good thing. I also see that people are ceasing to converse. Our connections are different now. I also am very worried about how we can protect ourselves—something placed on the Internet usually stays there. That can be a horrible state of affairs—bullying, outdated content, images, and videos existing without our knowledge and permission. The world will become a surveillance state. There need to be mechanisms in place that protect an individual—i.e., Some expectation of privacy and remediation if that privacy is infringed. I predict an expansion of Internet ethics law and consumer protection. This will grow out of an awareness of data storage, government, and commercial monitoring, and as Internet devices get more individualized and specific and surreptitious, [there must be] some way to protect individuals from each other. I see the biggest change coming with public and private education at all levels. Education is already moving in that direction. As we grow to be more reliant on Internet-based devices and services, we will equally become more vulnerable—to taxation, Internet Kill Switches (which I am against), censorship. The government will want to make money off of the transit on this infrastructure.”

A director of entertainment marketing wrote, “I think this is going to continue to develop, and all of the areas of concern will be enhanced—and areas of opportunity will be enhanced. We need to embrace the good and the bad, and we need to embrace change and accept how the Internet can help us in our individual lives.”

A senior project manager in distributed software development responded, “There is going to be a tipping point, where the care-free sharing of personal information for all to see on the Web ceases, and people get more serious about protecting the (valuable) data they possess. This shift will change how our social apps work, how our lawmakers perceive people’s privacy, and the seriousness with which people treat their info.

A professor emeritus of communications wrote, “The Internet, along with television, video games, etc., are all part of what we might call an ‘electronic imperative’ that, even now, affects the lives of people and controls the lives of video games addicts and addicts of others kinds of communication. There will be many positives, as people gain access to more information and find ways of forming virtual communities, etc., but there will be many negatives, as smart phones lead to texting addictions and video games gain addicts.”

An advisor to a state government library shared a number of points. “1) We will be given two tracks—one completely private and another that permits less privacy but permits the individual, as well as commercial entities, to profit by giving up some privacy—but it will be the individual’s choice to enter into this. The default will be total privacy. The individual should profit some by giving up some privacy—and it should be incremental as the individual sees fit, not a blanket intrusion. 2) Intrusion into someone’s privacy will be seen as illegal as entering their bank account information and robbing them. It is the individual’s information and information is a financial resource. 3) Fear of losing privacy will hamper the Internet of Things. Unless individuals have more seeming control over what/how things are tracked (and maybe shown compensation or benefits), it will be slow going. 4) Personal wearable devices will have faster acceptance if different manufacturers products ‘talk’ to one another. At which company or organization will it all reside? Will individuals have direct access to their own info and the big data that it will generate in union with others’ data? The data of the Internet of Things can be beneficial for individuals, especially when our own bodies start telling us things before we have symptoms. 5) People will want to get their smart phones away from their bodies as more comes out that having those devices next to our bodies can harm our health—so people will want the info fed from their phones to the wearable devices—but they will want to be able to access it all. 6) The Google Glass will need to go contact lens style or implantable. 7) With our minds mapped, we will be able to transfer our thoughts to computer. We use that as upload and implantable Google Glass for download. 8) Whenever a nation purchases security items from those without allegiance, it can leave that country vulnerable, especially when it is computer based—and everything is. And, no one can determine true allegiance anymore—especially with swiftly changing political situations. The domino effect can make a small security event a significant one, providing that item also leaves that company/nation vulnerable. 9) All public education will be by master teachers who connect through the Internet to all students across the country—local teachers will become tutors only. The greatest impact will be medical—due to wearable devices and ‘telemedicine;’ and devices will be implanted. It will happen due to fewer doctors, more bandwidth (for those in cities or better off financially) and demand by the public and the interest of younger physicians.”

A distance-learning specialist for a K-12 government organization wrote, “The Internet will increase access to content to people around the United States and the world, regardless of where they live or their zip codes. Online education will level the playing field for students, and everyone will have access to a high quality education. Entertainment options will improve, and quality of life will improve, making it easier to spend time doing the things you like to do and interact with things you like to do, as well as allowing you to interact with people with similar interests around the world. I think the greatest thing will be the ability to spend more time learning and interacting with your personal interests. I think errands and commuting will be eliminated, or greatly reduced, and you will be able to spend time on MOOC’s or in online classes or in online communities, where you get to learn about things you are interested in. I think there will be a virtual component to even the things you do live and in person that will enhance the live events.”

A marketing consultant and research provider wrote, “I have little doubt the Internet and the ‘always-connected society’ will at first seem to be a major convenience. However, each individual’s action will leave a digital trace unlike any society has ever known before. As we become highly dependent on such a system, any failure or ‘glitch’ in the system will have far more devastating consequences than can be imagined by more people.”

A professional who works for a consulting firm wrote, “Cons include: the loss of privacy—you may be tracked/watched/recorded without you even knowing it; people being connected all the time in the sense that you don’t/won’t know how it used to like to be disconnected; people lacking critical thinking and information literacy skills and being unable to manage their digital identities; new illnesses based on anxiety, stress and being connected all the time. Pros include: less time between purchasing something online and having it delivered—i.e., drones or other methods; maybe more safety—for example, criminals also will be easier to find as the connected world becomes smaller, and maybe we will be able to predict some crimes; interfaces will be transparent—i.e., activated by body movements, etc.; machines will predict what you will need next—i.e., your vacation is near in your calendar so you get travel suggestions; people networking across the globe; information is free (open-access), so science and research moves at a faster pace; the Semantic Web improves capabilities.”

A researcher and professor wrote, “A new environment would emerge, where our capabilities to act on physical objects with Internet will be the huge part of our lives. A systematic transferred work from analogical to digital would be implemented, furthering vision and hearing, extending digital smell, taste, and touch (and enlarging the actual vision and hearing). There will be a new kind of digital money (‘new forms of coins’) that we use in the Web to exchange our works and efforts in the ‘real’ environment. There will be a new era of digital banking, with absolutely plenty of digital branches.”

The director of marketing intelligence at a well-known company wrote, “There will be less free access to validated information. There will be greater threats to sharing personal data. There will be great technological advances.”

A retiree who worked 30 years for the US Department of Defense in contract administration responded, “Future impacts will be good, good, good. I expect to see more companies’ involvement with the advancement of science, engineering, and mathematics education in this country. I expect to see more jobs created in this country to conceive, design, develop, build, and deploy advances in AI, robots, and in technology in every area. We can’t lose the race.”

The director of marketing communications for a large consumer goods company wrote, “First of all, the world is going to continue to get ever-smaller, and as technology continues to get less expensive, competitiveness will increase, making it possible for more companies to participate in areas that they may not be currently. This will also be similar for consumers and startups. Crowdsourcing is a prime example of this usage, with product advancements and financial backing.”

A consultant wrote, “It largely depends on innovators and creative thinkers. It would be nice to think that our information age results in greater cooperation for the greater good, more sharing of perspectives, and greater appreciation for other religions and cultures, but that is Pollyannish thinking. Greed and power will remain; hence, we need to guard against cyber attacks.”

A federal government employee responded, “The Internet has the potential to significantly change how the government operates, to include greater citizen involvement in the process of making rules and laws. It can change how government services are delivered.”

The director of corporate development in a NASDAQ-listed Internet company wrote, “Information is already at our fingertips, but content will be as well. It will be easier to access than it is today—not that it’s hard today. The information collected about us that we know about will increase so that I can find anything about me instantly—i.e., my medical history, long-lost friends, etc.”

A researcher wrote, “The future prospects are a bad impact on humanity and a good impact on large corporations that control humanity.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “I’m very concerned about the increasing isolation and the resulting lack of meaningful and courteous human interactions.”

A teacher at a private high school wrote, “The Internet allows us to connect people with information on a large scale, but it has hindered our personal relationships. Between now and 2025, we will know more details about people around the world, but we will not know people.”

The owner of a start-up related to mobile technology wrote, “In countries with a diverse civil society and strong legal tradition, the Internet will, on balance, remain a positive. In countries without those traditions, it will continue to be a lever of control.”

A connector of local governments and civic organizations responded, “The entertainment industry will make the most significant impacts on the use of the Internet, based solely on financial considerations.”

A higher education administrator wrote, “Economic processes—which are influenced by and heavily influence social and political processes—will continue to shape the role of the Internet in people’s lives. The most significant good impact will be the difficulty of isolating individuals and cultures—from education, information, and communication with others—against their will.”

A doctoral candidate at the University of Quebec responded, “By 2025, the Internet of Things will be allowed by man to run and improve by itself. Imagine the rest—good or bad: Good? It will serve mankind for the best. Bad? Aware of the potential risks and danger (as with actual nuclear power applied to energy and military), similar usage conditions, policies, and warnings will be in place to prevent crisis.”

A freelance Internet journalism wrote, “Simply put, the world is getting smaller thanks to the Internet. I see such connectivity to be a very positive thing. The ability to understand each other and unite for social and political change for the better is enhanced. May it bring an end to human insularity.”

The social media director for a broadband company responded, “The Internet provides easy connectivity, which is the good side. It also provides anonymity and overall nastiness—people say things online they would never say in person.”

A self-employed communications consultant wrote, “One always hopes advanced technologies will improve people’s lives. It was supposed to be that way with radio, TV, cable, and the Internet. Commercial sensibilities usually overcome or mitigate such progress.”

A university faculty member wrote, “The primary point is connection to people and things. It will take over some of the basic things we do now. It will also frustrate as we become more dependent and then have it go down or be hacked. Rural areas will suffer in good connectivity.”

An associate professor of communications wrote, “It will bring: more Arab Springs, more cyber attacks, more privacy issues, more creativity and collaboration, more copyright infringements, more cyber warfare, and online education.”

A content developer for the financial industry observed, “On the plus side, the Internet makes the world smaller by connecting people from different cultures and backgrounds around common interests and causes. It will continue to play an important role in political and social change—even more than it already has. But it will also create personal and political vulnerabilities that will have significant economic and security consequences.”

The chief marketing officer of a media company wrote, “People will get bored with what the current Internet is all about. We’ll need a new, improved version to keep our attention as a society. It can be used for health, environment, and educational benefit, but humans and their leaders will screw it up.”

An assistant professor at the London School of Economics wrote, “I suspect one thing that might happen between now and 2025 is that we talk less about the Internet. We are uniquely self-aware of living through a revolutionary period in history (if you search for references to the industrial revolution, for example, you find few before 1870—about a hundred years after modern historians consider the process to have begun). That might disappear, however, as the Internet becomes more normalized, or embedded into older technologies.”

An information science professional who works in the US Department of Education wrote, “The Internet has already moved from the afterthought to in your face—every moment of every day. Most things will move online. More TV will be like Netflix streaming. More communication will be voice, over IP or Skype. Even if we are physically in the same room, we will also be with each other’s virtual cloud. There will be amazing benefits but also drawbacks. Benjamin Franklin wrote thousands of letters in his lifetime. Biographers and historians can piece together his life just through his letters. Will the same thing be able to be done with email? I’m not so sure. I’ve already discarded several email addresses along with all that data. Should I ever become famous, that information is gone forever. Consider the ubiquitousness of the Internet. Most people are online now. I’m guessing by 2025 even more people’s lives will be impacted by the invisible yet powerful draw of the Internet.”

An information science specialist at an American university responded, “Between now and 2025, I think that the Internet will, for better or worse, continue to influence, and even dominate, the way we handle information—from finding it, consuming it, creating it, and sharing it. More and more of people’s lives will exist online, more and more communication will take place exclusively in an online environment, and more and more of our expressions, from creative works to commentary, will exist online and will be creating using online tools. I worry about how government and industry will hinder the potential of the Internet by being reactive and regressive in their views, but I do think that the rise of an information society dominated by the Internet is, and will, happen and that it will ultimately result in a society and a culture that nurtures and protects our ability to create and access information freely.”

A science librarian wrote, “Online medical care will be the biggest social and economic impact. Someone who is two hours a way from a hospital can still be seen. It’s happening today, but it will get better as the doctors are trained to see patients in this fashion.”

A self-employed digital consultant responded, “Social, political, and economic processes will be re-determined as ‘well-beingness.’”

A high-level administrator for a large public information system observed, “Current trends will continue with (especially) young people blindly offering themselves to anyone online. Even if protections are offered, they won’t be used. Instant gratification skyrockets. Brick and mortar stores continue to decline.”

A law expert wrote, “The US faces an increasing rise of social problems because more and more people are left behind by the digital economy. China may also struggle as manufacturing becomes more of a machines business. I expect the first half of this century will face continuous unrest as more are excluded from the economy and viability. In the meantime, those who can will always be seeking the impossible inner ring.”

A former newspaper journalist who now does communications consulting wrote, “We will have the ability to have information that will allow us to think about what we can be, and then to become that person. The worst thing that may happen is we no longer will know each other. We will become more educated because we will have to understand and operate the equipment that will be developed. Because we will become more educated, we will have the opportunity to be broad thinkers. The caveat is the education must include ethics.”

A self-employed digital engagement strategist to mission-driven organizations responded, “The Internet will be part of our lives, both externally and on our bodies. Wearable tech will connect with our computing machines, our homes, external services, and more. We will seamlessly access the Internet while walking, bicycling, or reading a book through our wearable technology or items we use that integrate technology into their make. We’ll talk to our cars, cook with smart stoves that offer suggestions, and access our address books through interchangeable address cards or address books that sync with every device. I also think we’ll see the rise of political involvement. With the realization that every person has more power to effect change or have a voice online, the rise in online political conversation and action will translate into offline increase in voter turnout, local government involvement, etc. In countries outside of the United States, we’ll see more connections politically (similar to Arab Spring) as our worlds interconnect globally and social/political movements go global more and more often.”

An instructor at an online university wrote, “It will greatly increase top-down control by political and economic elites and evolve into an ever-greater threat to personal liberty and freedom of expression. A good example of an overall trend: http://boingboing.net/2013/12/18/oakland-pds-surveillance-cen.html .
This is the chief use that the most influential members of our society see for the Internet.”

A self-employed communications consultant wrote, “The most significant impact of the Internet will be in the area of communication, and that because of it, businesses will be less tied to specific buildings and geographic locations. Technologies such as Skype and video conferencing will improve to the point that a person’s physical location will have no impact on their ability to participate in a project.”

A design research consultant responded, “There will be two trends. One is industry and government using the Internet for increasing control over our personal lives and in manipulating commerce. There will be weak efforts to use the Internet as a democratization tool, but these will not succeed due to government control. The other trend is a counter force to government/industry dominance and control of information. Hackers and DIYers will counter with cyber attacks and disruptive technologies like Bitcoin. These forces are unpredictable and disruptive and will make predictions difficult. We’ll see a greater and greater divide between the haves and have-nots with increasing anarchism.”

A retired distinguished professor of telecommunication observed, “The social implications of the evolution of the Internet deserve attention. More and more hours per day will be spent on Internet communication with face-to-face communication valued less and less. More social activities will be carried out on and through the Internet. Preferences for Internet communication will increase significantly over the next year years. New demographic systems will emerge to account for the patterns of interaction on the Internet.”

An intelligence analyst for a medical publisher wrote, “The Internet will be integral to everything we do, and it will be used to monitor, change, and measure social, economic, and political policies, processes, and goals. The danger is that it can be misused, and disinformation is in play to make such changes. The benefit is that with an open Internet, this can be crowd-controlled and that there are non-traditional sources of information that balance such gaming of systems. Education will benefit greatly, with virtual college courses making higher education more accessible to many more people. Fundamentally, I think more educated people will provide more demand for freedom, less information restrictions, more democratic reforms in repressed countries and greater economic advances, along with greater social awareness.”

A marketing executive who has worked in the tech industry since the 1970s responded, “I have witnessed a huge shift in the way people communicate from a decade ago to the present time. Social media has made a major impact, and the full benefit of social media has not been totally conceived or leveraged by most businesses. Consumers are indeed creating a shift from traditional retail shopping to e-tailing (buying goods and services online versus at a retail store or location). Not a day goes by that I am not online. Most days I spend twelve to fifteen hours online. I view less TV, but I have not used the Internet for streaming entertainment. I am hopeful that bandwidth technology will be improved and expanded. Connectivity and latency will be further improved to allow for more streaming applications. I suspect cell technology will improve to enable anywhere/anytime Internet access at rates comparable to site based providers. I envision communication technologies improving and expanding, given they will need to, in order to provide growth for more and more information needs and use. I would not be surprised to experience a day where all communications are wireless, and all devices will be as well. As time evolves, tethering of devices and humans will continue to be less and less, and mobility and convenience will become more and more prevalent.”

A self-employed technology consultant wrote, “Skype and the likes are taken from the science fiction of the 1940s and 1950s—and a major improvement on Dick Tracy’s two-way wrist radio. Instant communication with anyone anywhere, probably holographically, and with less intrusive hardware, makes ongoing relationships far richer. We will be able to visit virtually anywhere we want, probably with tactile and other sensory input. I read Marshall McLuhan’s quote, ‘We look at the present through a rearview mirror; we walk backwards into the future,’ decades ago. Few people I’ve met or read can predict the future other than in the mirror of the past. Perhaps the late Sir Arthur C. Clarke was one of them. While I can make wild predictions based on hopes or beliefs, I think, in fact, we’re passing over the top of the technology roller coaster bump, and we need to hold on for our lives and see where things lead us. Too much is changing too quickly in too many overlapping realms for anyone I know to provide a truly sensible, wide-ranging prediction.”

A retired management consultant to a large international corporation wrote, “There will be greater group-think, group-speak and mob mentality. Current general knowledge of economics, capitalism, science, and technology is appalling. More uninformed individuals will influence others to the detriment of standard of living and effective government. The greatest impact will be breadth of information available and AI applications.”

A CEO and general manager for a large US public broadcasting organization responded, “Hierarchies will be upended, and power will be more widely distributed, with sweeping impacts. Accountability will not necessarily follow the distribution of power.”

A retiree wrote, “People will lose the art of conversation face-to-face and rely on electronic means to communicate, more than even now!”

A leader of a major non-profit grassroots organization in California responded, “The lack of Internet will become an even more serious liability in our society. If you can’t afford it, don’t have service, have no one to teach you, have mental/physical accommodation needs, don’t have family/friends to help you use it, didn’t get an education in it, you’ll be so unfamiliar and considered ‘difficult’ by the mainstream that you’ll be excluded from politics, health, education, jobs, social life, and so forth.”

A multiscreen (mobile + PC) shopper analyst for eBay wrote, “The ability to do things faster and more accurately—whether it’s watching what you eat, analyzing data, or delivering a present, is all great. The biggest downside will be the proliferation of information and the ability to access the answer that you’re looking for, which may further divide people and entrench opinions rather than open ideas. I don’t know that having 120,000 sources of information makes you any better informed than having one source of info. The ability to build a case based on what you find—which may be erroneous or slanted or incomplete—may do more to polarize people than the help it provides. I see health impact as the greatest positive impact. Whether it’s blood cell-sized microchips a la Ray Kurzweil or wearable monitoring apps that help you sleep better, the ability to positively impact the quality of health is huge. Responsible use of information is going to be the biggest challenge.”

A former senior technical consultant at Cisco and IBM wrote, “Pervasive access and smart devices will exist everywhere, digitizing all aspects of our daily lives. Security and privacy threats will continue to evolve and become more sophisticated—look at something as simple as phone or Facebook-stalking today, and magnitude this by the limits of your imagination. The Internet will provide more health and human services information at the ready to streamline medical care and all manner of social benefits. All this is predicated upon the Internet remaining benign, neutral, and free. This is not certain. Finally, government support will increase Internet penetration rates to begin eliminating the current digital divide basically between sociology-economic classes.

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Perhaps I am dreaming, but a new individual human will emerge, empowered by the Internet to reach beyond self on one hand and information on the other to become a collection of real preferences among things and people that are entirely virtual. This will spark a humanist revival. Or maybe this is just a Boomer dream! But I see my sons more digitally inhabiting the world, and this trend seems unstoppable.”

The co-founder and principal of a business strategies company predicted, “The most significant impact of the Internet will be the normalization of human rights by virtue of universal and ubiquitous access to information. While much more difficult and messy than other forms of governance, democracy will continue to emerge as the only viable and tolerated form of government worldwide. By universalizing access to information, transparency and accountability by individuals and organizations will be no longer optional.”

A former DuPont electrical engineer responsible for international electro-mechanical product safety compliance responded, “Right now, personal Internet communication is somewhat limited. We’re tied to our cellphone’s capability. I see those barriers going away. Likewise, location to access the Internet varies, and that will be eliminated in another ten years, I suspect. If we can figure the security out, I’m hoping that email spam, unwanted phone calls, and such will be a thing of the past. For me, it’s instant connectivity. It will be having small devices the size of a watch that allow us access to any information we desire. Also, the ability to improve human life through biotechnology using the Internet will become more important. The ability to monitor our bodies and live more healthy lives will be significant.”

A retired defense systems executive, electronics, and computer engineer and IEEE member wrote, “We will have simultaneous translation of speech and text, allowing one-on-one and group communication in any combination of major languages.”

An information science master’s student responded, “The best part of the Internet is that it provides access to information. However, the information that is available is now largely commercialized, meaning it is largely monetized by for-profit companies and therefore only available to a select few. The rest of the information is bias and basically an extension of print, TV, and radio advertising. The largest negatives are loss of privacy due to the capture and sale of information collected on Internet users.”

A business leader wrote, “We’re not going back to life before digital. The good is that the world, which has already shrunk, will become even smaller. The ability to operate a global business out of your living room will become more commonplace. That will force us—particularly Americans—out of our individual bubbles and perspectives on how things should be. The bad or challenge is that we will continue to need to find time to just be—without interruption and without technology, if we are to survive as a species.”

A non-profit consultant and philanthropic advisor responded, “Communication through webcams will be common, not through telephone. Simultaneous translation and small devices will make the portability of the Internet greater, and our ability to communicate and understand other peoples will be greater. Use of webcams will be greater. Less developed countries will have more access as technology gets more powerful, bandwidth increases, and price for a device is reduced. It will eliminate older technologies like telephones.”

An independent consultant specializing in research issues relating to aging responded, “For people of my generation (Boomer born in 1945—my dad got home from the war a bit early and was not too damaged that he could not procreate), we have a pre- and post-perspective on the growth of the Internet and computer technology. For our children, these things are integral to their lives. My son got his first computer (Commodore 64) when he was six (we still have it). My wife and I are researchers and value increased access to information and the ability to work collaboratively on projects with colleagues. Within a year, we will probably be engaged in e-publishing and blogging (definitely not early adopters). For us, there were elements of Future Shock in the Internet’s evolution. For our children and grandchildren, it is, and will continue to be, a part of life. The two-edged sword of the Internet is increased access and connectivity, coupled with loss of privacy. There also is the issue of learned helplessness. As computers and the Internet proliferate and enter all aspects of our lives, we become overly dependent on them. One example comes to mind—the automation of commercial aircraft, which, in the opinion of some experts, has resulted in the reduction of hands-on flying skills.”

A marketing research analyst in the athletic apparel industry predicted, “The interaction of the Internet with the in-person shopping experience will be the biggest. Interaction will be seamless. There will also be impacts on health. There will be technology that will follow us and know exactly what is wrong and how to improve our lifestyles. The fight with obesity and other health problems will become much more weighted in our favor.”

A knowledge-management professional at a large law firm in the United States wrote, “The Internet has connected people and business around the world over the last decade. It has also been used to advance commerce and education. Although there will be challenges to our privacy and security of information, it will continue to be a positive force.”

A retired lawyer and political activist responded, “The big impacts will be on shopping (not good for small and local business), communication (good for everyone, especially the elderly), and education (good—puts positive pressure on educators).”

A college professor wrote, “The impact of the Internet between now and 2025 will be much like its impact between 1995 and now, but more so. It will also be much like the explosion of printing in Europe after Gutenberg’s invention of the movable-type press in 1436-39. The Internet means an explosion of available information; just ask the NSA. In fact, in a paper I wrote for the Canadian Journal of Communication in 1995, I called the Internet ‘the Gutenberg paradox redux’ because of the uncanny resemblance in effect of the two on all of us. Thanks to Gutenberg—and then ARPA and DARPA—we find ourselves more and more awash in information. We may even be drowning it the stuff. The basic problem created in the 15th and 20th centuries in Information Technology was the sheer mass and speed of it all. We, in both cases, were left with little time to contextualize all that information. The problem with that? Contextualized information is what we know and find useful as knowledge. Without context, it is nearly all white noise. Or, if we can only contextualize a small bit of information into knowledge, ‘the rest,’ as Shakespeare said, ‘is silence.’ This is the paradox. We live in a universe full of information, and far too many people think that information makes them smart and powerful. Actually, it does neither. It leaves us in a silent fog, looking and acting all so tragically like the sham Wizard of Oz (‘Pay no mind to the man behind the curtain!’). Think for a moment, if you can stand it, of the NSA. I believe they are just finishing bolting together their huge new building in the Utah desert that is destined to hold innumerable servers storing all their wire-tapped information vacuumed up from, it seems, the whole of the world. But all that data is useless to them. It would take zillions of intelligent man-hours to contextual all that raw data into usable knowledge. And it will only get worse, for the NSA, for you, and me. We are quite the same. Give us an Internet connection, and you give us the world. But how are we to make any sense of it, to understand our place and meaning in it? And, no, I do not just need a bigger hard drive. I need time and rationality and solitude to understand. I do not need a $200 Samsung watch I can hold up to my face so I can see who is calling me on my $600 iPhone in my pocket. Cats are very smart eaters. When they get a little hungry, they go to their bowl in the kitchen and nibble on a few cat crunchies. Then they walk away, sometimes leaving a nearly full bowl of crunchies. Dogs, on the other hand, will wolf down (sorry for the small pun) every little bit of food in the blink of an eye. Then, all one needs do is touch the can opener, and the dog is immediately salivating into his bowl again. I believe dogs would keep eating until they fall over, or explode. When it comes to the Internet, we should be cats. But most of us are dogs. Alas.”

A university professor at a leading US research institution responded, “Regarding the impacts: political—unfortunately it will increase the surveillance of the common people; social—benefit for all; economic—can’t say—it seems that it will raise the rate of unemployment.”

The chief evangelist for Brazil for a top global IT company predicted, “There will be new business models, a new social environment, and growth of the ‘share’ economy.”

A consultant to state higher education organizations focused on adult college completion wrote, “Solid waste concerns will rise with the proliferation of devices. There is opportunity in unifying and simplifying device use, but we need to be careful not to create vulnerability due to monopolies.”

A research scientist at the University of Chicago wrote, “The Internet will continue to be refined and will continue to play an important role in our social, economic, and political lives. The Internet will continue to bring people of the world closer together. The hope would be that this would decrease tensions and reduce prejudice via information and dispelling myths that sustain hatred. However, Internet access (or withholding access to the Internet) could be used. The Internet could become much more accessible with a different interface, say, a voice activated interface. As you have already discovered in your own research, many people who do not use the Internet say they do not see how it relevant to them. Many also are intimidated by it. Making it easier to access the Internet, making content less overwhelming, and making an individual’s Internet experience more personal should be the goals of technology development. For example, I am from Generation X. I do not consume the Internet or social media in the same way as a Millennial. I do not rely on technology for social networking as much as generations after me. I tend to use the Internet for practical purposes and not for entertainment.”

A director of a research and design company responded, “We have evolved from early Internet usage that was largely an open field for early adopters, to a period in which every action online has the potential to make us vulnerable. By 2025, a great balance between these extremes will be refined. In all likelihood, there will not be one Internet, but many, along with an ability to choose which tools and information are actually good for us. There has yet to emerge strong tools that protect us online, and that seems to be an approaching trend. In addition, there need to be solutions that don’t isolate those that cannot afford the fastest connectivity.”

A university-based research scientist wrote, “Once again, the greatest impact will be in education for all, regardless of who you are and where you live. Everyone can learn anything anytime. That changes the intellectual capacity of the global world we live in. As everyone increases their intellectual capacity, it will become even more important to know what to do with that knowledge since everyone will have it.”

A university professor and researcher wrote, “For good and/or bad, the Internet is here to stay and will become a major tool to help run human lives. People have made too much investment in the Internet. However, people really need to be better educated to understand that the Internet only provides tools. None of these can replace human intelligence and humanity. A robot concierge cannot understand why some people really want to visit certain places. Robot medical advocates cannot match the right doctors to patients; only patients can know the doctors for them. Professors are humans who put hearts and souls in education; robots are not able to do so. There will be more electronic communication activities; however, people should be aware that those are all they can get on the Internet.”

A compliance officer for a non-profit social services provider wrote, “Our total loss of control over our information and how it’s used will eventually change us. There’s no reason to believe that people’s interests will be protected. As older people who understand the ramifications of this loss of control die out, younger people who have grown used to it will be ok with it. I don’t understand the total implications of our total loss of privacy but I do understand that it won’t be a positive. The less we control about ourselves the more open we are to manipulation. Masses of people who can be manipulated by any power can be coerced into nearly anything, and throughout history, that kind of social control usually did not bode well.”

A management consultant predicted, “Over the next few years, the Internet will move strongly to a utility service model—ubiquitous and low cost. This will depend on widely adopted low-cost device and connection standards but also on clever deployment of concepts already discussed such as ‘apps’ and the ‘cloud.’ There is no ‘magic bullet.’  A part from the increasing access to content—music, video, porn, etc.—there is the opportunity to readily collect and analyse huge amounts of data and make better-informed choices in public policy.”

An employee at a state, public, four-year university predicted, “Revolutions of sorts will continue to be empowered by access to the Internet. I’m not solely referring to political unrest, but rather in social and economic interests.”

A communications professional who works for a US federal government agency wrote, “The spread of Internet access to the developing world can be used for numerous, life-changing things. I think that is where the Internet and other digital technologies can have a tremendous and lasting impact.”

An education consultant at a Missouri university responded, “Medicine and education will be greatly impacted. Research and advances will happen more rapidly with increased access to information sharing (if we can keep everyone from fighting over funding and producing revenue!). Education will look very different—teachers will always be needed as implementers, but the delivery and nature of learning will be streamlined and tailored for individual students. Much learning will be virtual and amazing!”

The president of the Center for Advancing Health wrote, “The most significant impact of the Internet will be that it allows, encourages, and enables us to find and communicate only with like-minded others. Our lack of exposure to diversity in opinion and experience will further shatter the sense that we are all in this together and our commitments to the larger community.”

An Internet marketer responded, “The Internet will continue to connect people and information for a long time to come. Greater privacy controls, encryption, data security, data deletion, and cost will all determine the success long term. People haven’t realized the privacy and security concerns, most of the time, unless their credit card is stolen. There are many levels of privacy that are lost between being offline and having your credit card or identity stolen. Businesses are getting more and more savvy in how they leverage these little pieces of data in order to sell to you and manipulate you in subtle ways. Maybe people will realize it later, or maybe they will accept it. Overall, the impact on the economy is that selling will be very automated and very personalized. E-commerce will be as big as offline commerce. A lot of information will go from being free to being locked behind passwords and memberships again because of the need for revenue. Wikipedia may not always be free. Organizational dynamics will be tested since we have never had this many people on the planet before, nor have we had them all communicating together at the same time. I think the greatest impact of the Internet in the next ten to twenty-five years will be the connectedness of everyday devices to the Internet. This will allow for more automation and more free time for those people who can afford it. It will also lead to more of a division of economic class levels worldwide. The divided class system will provide resentment that will test the super-automated and connected systems. Robots will complicate the matter. The Internet will contribute to an especially tumultuous economy and future for the world because it is scaling, growing, and being used beyond anyone’s initial design or intent. Nobody really knows what will happen.”

A director of financial stability and workforce development for a medium-sized nonprofit organization wrote, “The Internet will increasingly influence people in less than positive ways. As time goes on, people and organizations will begin to assume greater control of the Internet and the messages communicated on it. Like any other technology, it will become a tool/weapon to be used to control and manipulate people.”

A digital manager for a hospital responded, “The Internet helps to spread information and knowledge, but there are severe cons—lack of privacy, security implications, etc.  The spread of information is crucial; as people find experts to help they can learn much more and spread that on to others.”

The Web technical analyst for one of the largest county governments in the United States responded, “We are creating a dependency upon electrical power. It seems to me to be the drawback to what we are doing with the Internet, namely ‘putting all our eggs in one basket.’ I am concerned that we are so reliant upon electricity. First, we appear to be creating and touting systems that are entirely dependent upon electricity, and then they are dependent upon the Internet as well. Second, our society is slowly ‘morphing’ into having many people that cannot function without the Internet or electrical power. These concepts have me concerned about how fragile our society is becoming and how people may panic without these ‘luxuries.’ Where we used to be concerned about food and water (which remain important), Internet and electricity seem to be gaining as necessities for many people. I guess I am being a pessimist as well; I hope to see that change.”

A middle manager in the digital division of a large public media company predicted, “Exposure to the lives of others will yield sympathies and envies at levels never seen before. Will we be fascinated? Numbed? Overwhelmed?”

A professional blogger for a mental health Web site, and social media suicide prevention volunteer responded, “The utter lack of empathy, consideration, and human kindness that the Internet breeds due to lack of etiquette, supervision, and online social skills will continue to erode social norms and taboos and create a hostile social environment, both online and offline. Depravity, bullying, violence, isolation, and mental health problems will increase. Younger generations will continue to grow up online unsupervised, without social standards or anyone teaching them etiquette. The cruelty and lack of empathy that is nurtured by mediated and anonymous interactions will continue to grow until nobody remembers what social norms used to be pre-Internet. Our social standards will be determined by adolescent boys (of every age) with a taste for mockery, gore, rape, and even more extreme tastes that are bound to come and become acceptable online.”

A freelance writer of opinion articles and editorials responded, “Outside the United States, more people will use the Internet to build communities. Inside the United States, corporations will gain assistance from the government in raising processes and sucking the life from the Internet.”

A technology journalist wrote, “My biggest concern is the pronounced and growing economic divide, in this country and around the world, and the concomitant digital divide. Pushing the Internet to areas of extreme poverty will change life significantly for the better—giving information, and therefore intellectual freedom—to people who have been denied it for whatever political, social, geographical, or religious reasons. I also believe it will have a pretty significant negative impact on the middle class—jobs lost to automation, and not just the ones you think of when you typically think ‘robots’—but also the deep and ongoing distraction of our best and brightest. Rather than solving the world’s most pressing problems, including climate change, we’re already preoccupied with figuring out easier ways to get cabs and restaurant reservations for the narcissistic 1% and, unfortunately, I believe that trend will continue, with developers working primarily on micro-enhancements to their own lives rather than bold and visionary solutions to global challenges. I hope I’m wrong though!”

A self-employed Web designer/developer and writer, observed, “The Internet will continue to make the world seem like a smaller, friendlier place, even in spite of the trolls!”

A respondent from the University of Pittsburgh predicted, “The Internet will play an increasing role in civic life, education, and commerce. It will probably enlarge the opportunities to participate in each of these areas. Some of the biggest changes will occur in education because online education has helped to raise important questions and dismantle long-held myths about teaching and learning at almost every level.”

A retired legislative aide and budget analyst in state government wrote, “We will see less and less personal contact between people. Elections will no longer be decided based on personal contact, but instead on the use of the Internet and the candidates’ ability to effectively target not just groups but individuals with the information that will influence their vote. We’ll see the ultimate in attitude fitting.”

An assistant professor at the University of Colorado observed, “Students who are taught to discern between useful and non-useful information at an early age will be able to manage their lives much more efficiently than students who are at the mercy of advertising and accidental connections. Links to, or inaccessibility to, the Internet will increasingly define inequality in developed countries. Individuals in widely dispersed countries will be able to connect with each other to solve problems of significant magnitude.”

An instructional system designer wrote, “Greater dependence on the Internet lies ahead. Accuracy and quality of information will become a greater challenge.”

An author, communication consultant and historian wrote, “Impacts will include the widespread adoption of online voting; the near universal adoption of online financial transactions; online medical visits; heavy reliance on virtual business meetings; virtual workplaces; the continued decline of print communication, as well as traditional radio and television. The Internet comes with a price that cannot be measured in dollars and cents. Between now and 2025, the Internet will further reduce the need for face-to-face human contact. This creates an isolation that tends to fuel everything from xenophobia to provincialism. Isolation serves to build distrust not only of institutions, but of other individuals and groups. The promise of mass communication was to bring people together, but the danger posed by the Internet is to isolate people.”

The branch manager of a US regional library responded, “I am from the generation that was told, as a student, that people would have their own personal computers at home! I’ve learned how to use the new technology through work and leisure. I’ve used texting for communication with my family and downloaded books and recordings. If I can learn to use these current tools, most people in the future will be able to do so, and much more. I worry, from reading too many young-adult dystopia novels, about how the world of the future will turn out. I can see how our writing skills have deteriorated and how communication has moved to the computers, rather than person-to-person. I think that social skills of ‘reading’ one another will be lost. How we get along in society will be affected, I’m sure. The chasm between haves and have-nots is growing right now. I cannot imagine that things will get better in the future, especially with all of the economic issues that affect budgets for social services, etc. Politicians are, universally, looking out for their constituents and tend to play to those who can reelect them and not for the ‘common good.’ They rely on polls and numbers, all of which can be manipulated. It would be wonderful if we all became more compassionate towards one another. I’m not sure what it would take to make this a reality. Perhaps the Internet could be a positive tool to promote understanding! It is very difficult to make a prediction based upon so many variables in life between now and 2025. Will we even have an ‘Internet?’ I do believe that the ‘genie’ has been let out of the box, and that people worldwide are becoming accustomed to communicating freely, legally or not. I’m not sure how far this will go, or in which way.”

A Web developer wrote, “The ‘ethos’ of the foundation of the Web (not the Internet) has changed since mass engagement and corporations desire to capitalize, and with corporate greed there will be a lot of ‘legal’ strangling of the freedoms that were enjoyed.”

The website manager for an Australian lobbying organization predicted, “Internet access will have a very real effect on the inequality gap. Those who don’t have Internet access will find it harder to access information important for everyday life, such as education, finding work, financial transactions, etc. Even things as simple as maintaining social relationships will be easier for those with Internet access.”

A senior director in a group working on innovation in Web and mobile technology wrote,  “In everything we do, the interconnected network of the Internet will play a larger role. Impacts on society in the areas of work, entertainment, and information will all go through dramatic changes.”

An administrative assistant at one of the largest US foundations wrote, “I expect the impacts of the Internet to be even more widespread on our day-to-day lives. It will be most widely felt in entertainment—TV and movies. Any cable or satellite company that does not offer an Internet-based package will lose, and eventually go out of, business. The use of the Internet in areas of conflict around the world will also increase. This may be helpful to preventing, or ending, atrocities when those committing them are no longer able to hide them from the world’s view.”

A faith development consultant for the Unitarian Universalist Association responded, “We will have less privacy but greater protection from threats. The opportunities for learning will be boundless. More of the world’s activity will be focused on saving our way on life on this planet and less about boundaries between nations/tribes. Technology will help this happen as we see and experience the global changes to our climate.”

An education technology researcher working in a science center in Berkeley, CA, wrote, “The trend of self-publishing news, sharing events around the world, and being the voice for collective people will continue to be a trend. One of the biggest impacts will be in education—how people get their training and learning resources, how they critique information, and how they demonstrate what they learn online. The availability of information will continue to be a trend; however, being able to get reliable, curated, vetted content will be more difficult as institutions try to figure out how to generate revenue to support the Internet. I predict that while more and more courses and DIY online instructions will be available digitally, the Internet will replicate social structures and inequities that already exist in schools, communities, and physical places. The best content, online coaches, and resources will be available to those who can pay, and mediocre interactions, games, and online content will be available to the masses. The have and have-nots, even online, will continue to persist. I think the greatest impact the Internet will have is to make ‘the world flat’ and seem like a smaller place. The Internet provides a window into other people’s cultures, political systems, economic realities, and educational institutions. There will be more sophisticated models of how to balance open source platforms, tools, and content with paid-content schemes.”

The managing director of a global advertising network observed, “The Internet will be a common utility, operating in the foreground and the background for virtually everyone. Access to data and accumulated knowledge will expedite progress and empower people. Connectivity will reduce privacy and trade technology dependence for convenience. Overall, the impact will be positive, though access will raise expectations and demands for people in developing nations and add pressure on first-world countries to share or redistribute more of the wealth.”

A freelance journalist and website creator/maintainer responded, “After the impact of the Internet/Web through such events as the Arab Spring, the coordinated riots in London, the US elections, online bullying, and other events, the world governments have seen that the ordinary citizen has great power through the use of the Internet/Web. This type of power will not be tolerated. Even now in the United Nations, calls are being made to place the control of the Internet/Web in the hands of the United Nations and to weaken the power of the average user. In will only get greater by 2025.  I think the greatest of the Internet/Web between now and 2025 will be the online fight (i.e., power struggle) between the average citizens and the UN and individual nations. I think it will happen—and is now happening—because government officials (no matter what nation) will not allow the average citizen that much power. The creation of the US Electoral College proves that. While pretending to give the general population the power, the government must always have a way to make sure it is what they want in the end.”

An educational technologist who administers online programs at regional university predicted, “Any device larger than a pack of playing cards will be obsolete. All storage will be Cloud-based, and users will use docks when they want physical interfaces not found on their unified handheld device.”

A professor of information systems at University of Poitiers, France, responded, “If regulated, the Internet can stay a marvelous thing. If not, and with excessive power of a small bunch of mostly offshore companies, it will be a giant threat for democracies. I believe that the so-called corporate social responsibility is nonsense. Thus, governments must, and will, probably, regulate Internet. Accordingly, citizens must control governments and their agencies (the NSA and others), and that is not so likely.”

An independent academic research consultant wrote, “We will lose more privacy and autonomy as the Internet and other information an communication technologies continue to advance. We will see more of our thoughts and actions monitored and influenced by companies that have a financial interest in them—i.e., insurance companies, employers, companies that want to sell us products, etc. These days, people seem to be concerned about surveillance by the government, but data brokers like Acxiom and their partnerships with other private entities (like insurance companies, merchandisers, pharmaceutical companies, etc.) are what we should be worried about. They’ll get us by offering us discounts in exchange for allowing ourselves to be monitored (or by refusing to do business with anyone who does not agree to such monitoring). Then, it will become so commonplace that we’d have to go completely off-grid (and be severely disadvantaged in many ways) in order to opt-out of being monitored 24/7. People are already being monitored and analyzed in ways that would alarm them if they were aware of the extent of personal information held and sold by data brokers. I hope that public awareness of these practices will increase, but I suspect that enough people will continue to ‘opt in’ to such monitoring in order to obtain discounts or perks, that the rest of us will not be able to opt out without putting ourselves at a severe disadvantage.”

A strategy and business intelligence manager for a large metropolitan US public library responded, “It will be ubiquitous. Unless it’s absent or not working well, people will expect to do whatever they need to do at any moment. Although people may use other methods for business or pleasure, the Internet will be considered the default way of life.  It has the potential to allow those formerly on the fringes to participate fully in society. An example from the early 1990s illustrates this point. My grandmother, at 90, had lost her hearing and the ability to communicate with those around her. My brother got her a computer, an Internet connection, and printer. He also taught her how to use the equipment and how to use the Internet to find listservs and chat groups that appealed to her interests. Until her death nearly ten years later, she found a whole new world outside of her rural Kansas community.”

The executive director of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) responded, “The evolution will be to more connectivity and collaboration among people, commerce, access to information, and, increasingly, control over the physical world and other informational things (financial, health, literature).”

A professor at Minnesota State University-Moorhead wrote, “Data mining will grow exponentially—and result in events or changes that people and societies will appreciate or despise, depending on whether they perceive themselves winners or losers in the event of change. What people perceive as ‘privacy’ will erode at the hands of companies, corporations, hackers, and governments.”

A healthcare businessperson responded, “The maintenance of health and well-being will be the dominant application of Internet trends. This can include extending lifespans, improving populations, or increasing satisfaction.”

A retired network administrator for the US Department of Commerce responded, “First, all people must have the same level of access and bandwidth throughout the United States. The ‘cost’ of the airwaves was an investment by the federal government, originally for military use. The bandwidth should be considered like air, free to breathe. Companies can make their money by selling the ‘kind’ of access people want to buy: fast or slow, voice, date, or all of the above. The divide between rich and poor will only grow if the airwaves are private property. Second, fact, fiction, and opinion must be labeled. People must be able to judge information by where it came from. Some will not, but for those who realize what source and copyright means, the origins must be available.”

A managing director in the consulting division at a major US corporation wrote, “Data security is a huge area that needs a lot of work, and if we neglect this area, we will most likely see more and more people shy away from the Internet and always being connected. I believe, at the same time, more and more innovations that are happening today are more convenient and give people access to things they have never had access to (i.e., Fitbit). I believe we will become a smarter and more healthy and disciplined nation just by taking advantage of some of the applications that are now so easily available. I do believe we are going to see a huge shift in traditional television. I believe that is coming and in the works already. I think the way with which we consume media will be vastly different than it is today, and it will be on-demand and always available to us. We will have more control over what we consume and when we consume it, and that, in turn, will turn the entire media and entertainment industry upside down, forcing them to become more innovative and produce content that consumers actually want to view. Netflix has already given a good glimpse into what is coming.”

A government researcher at the US Centers for Disease Control responded, “It will continue to impact our accessibility to each other, for good in that we will continue to communicate more freely, and for bad in that we may lose privacy and our ability to stay offline if we choose.”

A researcher at Harvard University’s Kennedy School predicted, “There will be more direct democracy, and municipalities will adopt more online voting programs on single items and issues. That trend may ultimately filter up to the state and national levels. As technology invades more areas of human life, there will be more sophisticated thinking about how to mitigate the effects and preserve human (offline or traditional) values and the virtues of contemplative, non-networked private life. Applications will be designed to facilitate this. We are just in the early stages of thinking through an optimal state of human-technology interaction.”

The senior director for digital media at a healthcare non-profit wrote, “There will be more good, healthier people and less conflict. The greatest impact of the Internet will be peace. More connectivity will lead to agency for the people. That empowerment will lead to demands that will be met for healthier environments and more education. It is communication among the peoples made possible by the Internet, without government filtering, that will set us on a path that will change everything.”

An editor focused on how technology affects policy and society responded, “It is vague, but I expect that we will see further convergence of the virtual and real worlds, until we find such distinctions largely unnecessary.”

A higher education profession from the New York City metropolitan area wrote, “Assuming they don’t succumb to the Internet themselves, 2025 will be a great time for psychologists and others who know how to help individuals deal with social detachment.  By 2025, there will be tens of millions of people domestically, and perhaps billions globally, who are more attached to the Internet (primarily their phone or tablet) than to other humans. Humans have not yet evolved to handle the seduction of the Internet and the alienation and self-absorption it spawns so easily. For us humans, learning how to get with each other is going to get harder, not easier.”

An international project manager for Microsoft responded, “In terms of political impacts, people will become even better informed about everything that is going on, but with limited ways to participate in decision-making, people will become more unhappy with their political system. To quell unrest governments, even traditionally ‘democratic’ nations will monitor their citizens in an increasing fashion. In some cases, posts to social media will just be censored, while in others, people will experience repercussions. Fear of surveillance will lead to forms of political self-organization outside the Internet. In terms of social impacts: with more environmental issues—from pollution to climate change—and many other problems, people will use the Internet to escape the reality of their lives. Entertainment via the Internet will become increasingly sophisticated. In terms of economic impacts, new market platforms will create a new class of freelancers and micro-producers that are open to offer their services and goods through the internet: just the way that the Amazon Kindle has enabled authors to publish their works without a publishing house. Many middlemen will be cut out by these platforms.”

A supporter of the ICT entrepreneur system in Europe responded, “Every Internet user will become an entrepreneur and will develop his or her own products.”

A professional with a public relations agency wrote, “There will be more widespread use of the Internet. All generations will be using it in all areas of life—socially, economically, and politically. The good will result in more information shared. The bad will be less interaction.”

A demographer and sociologist working for the US government responded, “The positive is greater openness and accessibility throughout the world. This impact is immeasurable. Connections occur every moment of the day now between individuals, who as little as twenty to thirty years ago would likely never have interacted with one another. There are, of course, both good and bad possible outcomes associated with this high level of connectivity. But to the extent that we know more about one another, that is more a good thing than a bad thing.”

A PhD candidate in educational technology predicted, “Personal/big data will be an increasing concern as large datasets about each person will be easier and easier to generate, track, and maintain. Furthermore, keeping this data secure will be perhaps the most important issue in technology and society in general. Real-world/face-to-face interaction will continue to be a growing concern and may even decrease more quickly than it currently is.”

A person who served as a policy advisor in Congress and worked in the Clinton administration on technology, Internet, and society, presently working for a Fortune 20 communications company, wrote, “Change will be in the work process and, possibly, in healthcare. Education will remain flat with the introduction of technology, as long as it is designed as a profit-making initiative.”

A student at the University of Western Ontario wrote, “The most significant changes in the near future will come from the mobile Internet and location-based services. I think this area is going to break down barriers and change the nature of the way humans live (it arguably already is). I don’t yet know how, but this area has the potential to reconnect us with one another and the world around us, potentially in ways we can control (instead of being controlled).”

An online marketing professional for a medical publisher responded, “It is going to continue to grow, although it’s hard to imagine how its impact could become any larger, for those who are already online. We do forget that there are large parts of the world where people do not have access to the Internet, and I know that in many of those places, mobile phones are making inroads where PCs could not, due to lack of connectivity. At any rate, I think it will continue to grow in parts of the world where there is room for growth. In the United States, kids are growing up never having not been online, and it will be interesting to see how that impacts them—and us.”

A self-employed media consultant, artist, and writer, responded, “Humanity, the world, will be closer-knit. This will extend from the more educated to the less educated. The danger, from what can be seen in American politics, is some people will only look for those Internet areas that support their own views. Right now, social media, fueled by Internet connectivity, can bring about the Middle East Spring in a rapid fashion. This quick change in governments has had a mixed result. It also fueled the protests in Syria, and that hasn’t worked out so well. On one hand, it is now changing world economics with the growth of companies like Amazon and the like. It has sped great scientific advances and seems to be doing more.”

A researcher in psychology who is based in Australia wrote, “The Internet has the potential to offer cost-effective alternatives to health systems, allowing for increased communication and awareness in political processes, and it may have a positive impact economically. While there are some hypothesized bad overall impacts, such as links to cancer and reduced social connection, it is anticipated that, over the next two decades, these will be further investigated and managed.”

A professional who works with online security for the Government of Canada responded,  “There will be paperless living with easy, secure/privacy-protected access to needed information.”

A technology developer and administrator wrote, “There will be more loss of privacy, more regulation, less face-to-face social communication, loss of local or geographical identity, and an onslaught of ignorance from being misinformed or believing what is being flashed to us from who knows where. You will no longer have to go to the local voting precinct to vote.”

An attorney responded, “The most significant impact of the Internet will be on our economy on a macro level. On a micro level, the most significant impact is in our communication. In terms of the economy, we are drawing to a point where money is no longer a tangible thing. No longer based on a system of gold, money is merely based on faith. While a $20 bill may say $20, if a gallon of milk costs $20 in the future, then a $20 is only worth a gallon of milk. Since currency is a faith-based system, alternative currencies like Bitcoin will crop up. These alternative currencies will not respect geo-political borders. It will be interesting to see if the entire world goes the way of the Euro and embraces a universal monetary system because of the Internet. In addition, as we monetize content, we are shifting from a production-based economy to an information economy. It will be interesting to see if this is a threat to democracy, or a boon. Information is necessary to a democracy where the people must make the decisions, and they are hopefully informed ones. However, if information is solely available in a monetized form, then only those who have money have information. And information is power. But the ramifications of an information based economy means we must shift our education. You can see this happening already with the Common Core, which seeks to provide greater depth over breadth, seeks to provide a curriculum on a national level, as we are no longer competing against neighboring school districts, but against nations, and seeks to teach analytical and problem-solving skills in preparation for an information based economy. The problem with this shift from production to information is that not all individuals are capable of being scientists, doctors, lawyers, computer programmers, etc. Someone still must build houses and dig ditches, fix the plumbing, etc. With interpersonal communication, while many may argue that there is greater communication with the advent of the Internet and the digital age, much of that communication is superficial, boiled down to 140 characters or emoticons. Humans are capable of so much more sophisticated thought and nuanced ideas that cannot be reduced to a savory 140 characters. In addition, the shared experience and the bonding that occurs over it is waning as we sit together in a room and interact with others and each other solely via text, Snapchat, Instagram, Vine, etc. This mode of communication decreases our tolerance for disagreement and decreases our patience. Neither of these can be good things. It also hurts our social emotional skill development if we don’t interact with others in real time, face-to-face. It is like this form of communication will make an entire world of people with Asperger’s Syndrome. As a result, it is the team athlete who will have more and more shared experiences. It is the athlete who will learn social interaction, interpersonal skills, and leadership skills, while the rest of the world is overly plugged in. Eventually, we will have many lonely people who can’t reach out to others because they have never learned to connect in any way other than digitally. We are losing our intimacy with the human condition.”

A public relations professional wrote, “This is a pretty monumental question. Since the Internet is still so young (in terms of widespread global access), we can’t really predict where it goes from here, except to say that we know it will never disappear. I can’t imagine what my child’s life will look like when she’s 15. Will it look reasonably the same as it does now? Take my childhood, and just add a cellphone into every picture? Or, will there be flying cars and so many more modern conveniences? The next generation will be so reliant on these types of technologies that they will have difficulty dealing with real-life physical difficulties.”

A technology innovator with two master’s degrees wrote, “What is marketable? What will people find most beneficial to their everyday life: Convenience, ease-of-use, a standardized format across multiple similar devices—i.e., OSs? People need to walk up to an ATM, hold a tablet, turn on their TV, use Internet radio, etc.—whatever the users need—and not have to relearn how to use the device or access the Internet. Making devices usable for elderly with larger, more legible buttons, simple interfaces, etc., is also key. Yes, we can have all the bells and whistles, but are they needed? For example, do I need three ways (a button, a dial, and a touch screen) to turn up the heat in my car? Keep It simple! Yes, they know how to design and build it, but I don’t need that.  The greatest impact of the Internet will always be access to information on an ‘as needed’ basis, as well as connecting with other people. However, keep it simple! People also need face-to-face human contact for their psychological and social needs. Don’t go overboard providing new technology that takes that away. Kids don’t need screen time; they need playground time.”

A person who is self-described as “just another citizen of the Internet” wrote, “People will be able to educate and train themselves more easily and more inexpensively. This means that even in lower-income areas, there will be more possibilities for people to succeed. Hopefully this will help allow for greater efficiency by allowing robotic automation to take over some workplace tasks and allow humans to work on higher-level tasks instead. So, instead of taking jobs, I believe more computerized workers will help allow people to move on to higher-thinking jobs. This is the first time we’ve had children grow up thinking that access to all information ever is a keyboard stroke away. All of our children’s children will be much better off. They will be able to fact-check, learn, and be more empathetic by connecting with people across the globe.”

A information science director in the state of Washington wrote, “Retail and commerce will move almost entirely online between now and 2025. People are always looking for ways to get more for their money, so online commerce will drive the marketplace. Even storefront retail businesses will have to get in to the online commerce world.”

Attorney working on digital and library issues for the federal government wrote, “It will be even more ubiquitous than it is today, as the Digital Natives come of age. Now, we make a concrete decision to go online—by 2025, it will be a seamless part of the way we work and play.”

A person who describes him/herself as “simply a user” responded, “Many years ago, I read a book called Mockingbird by Daniel Keyes. He posited the end of a literate world, one where governments didn’t want people to read. One person changed that. The Internet, if we are lucky, will help keep people connected when their governments don’t want that and will keep humanity alive.”

A fund-raiser and webmaster for a public non-profit organization responded, “Access to information and more open government will be the greatest impact on people through the Internet. Social media will continue to be important. I am concerned about the level of incivility and violence that seems to be increasing on social media. I hope the social side of the Internet does not devolve into a virtual mob activity. I believe more of the physical activities of government will be handled online. E-books and Cloud computing will continue to grow and allow people to work on a more mobile basis.”

An information science professional wrote, “There is going to be a huge impact on politics. The Internet makes information and misinformation more accessible on a global scale. It will be more difficult to hide truths and easier to disseminate falsehoods. I think more transparency on the part of our representatives will be good for the people they represent.”

An information-resources professional in a small Midwestern town wrote, “We will have truly become a global village, as location will matter less and less. A rule of law that protects property owners will be adopted by more and more countries in order to compete in this market. While we will see some instability as the more authoritarian regimes begin to fall, eventually (if not propped up by the first world countries), they will, too, find a moderate stability. The Internet has already changed society, but the changes will continue. Mass group communication, easier and cheaper ways to interact, and a society that is becoming wise to the new technology will bring about a renaissance of thought. People will find others who think like them faster and they will be more able to work together. The evolution of a stable society will speed up. It may look a little rocky now, but new ways to have discourse with many voices will be the saving grace.”

A public policy consultant responded, “The Internet is just part of life, and it will remain so. I don’t think there will really be any bad impacts. Perhaps education will be more equitable as more people have the opportunity to learn things online for free.”

The director of operations for MetaFilter.com wrote, “The Internet will help the rich get richer and become a tool to further marginalize people who are already living with poverty, mental illness, and other serious challenges.”

An information-resources professional at a large US Research I university responded, “It will be a mixture of good and bad. Traditional polling data collection will evolve and change. We will continue to get more goods shipped to us, rather than going into stores. We as consumers will have more choices. However, the divide between the haves and have-nots will be exacerbated with new technology.”

A freelance writer responded, “Remember how drugs were huge in the 1992 election, and by 2000, America was choosing between two men who had both done drugs (and by 2008, had elected a man who has done Coke?) That’s going to be the same because no one has a perfect Internet record. These huge downfalls over a poorly chosen picture will fade as everyone starts to have them.”

A self-described advocate and voice of the people wrote, “There will be freedom of information for all. Accessibility issues for those unable to gain access need to be strengthened. Face-to-face interactions need to accompany technological advances at all levels, so that people remember how to interact with others and to value the opinions of others. The size of storage will continue to expand exponentially within the next decade, but many social issues will arise, along with including jobs that support this technology, understanding of the need to teach people how to use the new technologies, social implications of usage and/or non-usage, communication between and among all segments of the population, and securing input from all demographics on what technology means to them and how they plan to use it.”

A professional who works for a state government agency wrote, “There is going to be a huge underclass of people in the United States without connectivity or the skills. There will also be a divide between countries that have the same issues. In a dystopian vision, I could see an uprising if a demagogue can rally those without.”

A strategic intelligence analyst on digital, tech and telecom issues responded, “There will be reduced time spent offline, away from screens and sensors. We will need to wear devices to keep us from walking out into the street or off piers, etc. There will be increased cluelessness, shorter attention spans, and reduced literacy and critical thinking skills among the masses due to reliance on computing devices.”

An information science professional who works for a municipal resource center wrote,  “There will be continued loss of privacy, with additional conveniences continuing for consumption. I would hope that greater access would lead to a more educated and informed citizenry who are active in their communities. I fear that there will continue to be greater social isolation, but my hope would be that hyper-local social networking would grow more sophisticated and be a way to build community, rather than making people more isolated.”

A researcher at Georgia Highlands College wrote, “I could see data mining being used by everyone, not just companies trying to sell things—especially in the health industry.”

An anonymous respondent who did not share any identifying details wrote, “The Internet will only continue to be more and more of a factor in our day to day lives. It’s already difficult for the older generation to be in touch, stay informed, and have the best quality of life—simply because they didn’t take the time to learn the technology. Technology has just passed them by. It will only continue to grow, and the gaps will only become wider. There are many older adults who can’t get a job, can’t get insurance, and/or can’t do normal day-to-day activities because they can’t (or won’t) use the Internet.”

An inner-city middle school English teacher responded, “People will continue to not think for themselves and use the Internet to replace their general background knowledge. I expect that it will compromise security in countries and with families as well. There are many benefits to the Internet, but I think, generally speaking, it will help to continue a path of decline in our society as a whole.”

A technology developer and administrator for the New York University School of Medicine wrote, “The Internet will continue to have a great influence, but I’m not sure that it is for the better. I see people eating out and hanging out with everyone on a device. What about actual in-person communication? I already see this as getting worse.”

An author and journalist wrote, “Necessity being the mother of invention, the most significant impacts will be those that allow humans to adapt most effectively to the consequences of global climate change. Survival will become a much more important topic than security by 2025. For instance, where you live in terms of climate impacts will be a priority in the choice of residence. The Internet—via predictive climate modeling and mitigation of climate effects information—will be used to choose residences. The real estate market throughout the world will be driven by this modeling and information. Tiny islands and oceanfront properties that today sell for millions of dollars will become valueless. And the 1% will be very interested in those areas where climate impacts are least intrusive.”

A higher education professional wrote, “It will be in our lives from soup to nuts (literally): in how we work, play, learn, shop, recreate, travel, interact, etc. Congress will stop looking at technology/the Internet as a topic on the side to be discussed; it will be a part of every conversation about everything (from soldiers abroad to healthcare to monopolies to entertainment to gun control). But the world will still be recognizably very much like it is now. We’ll see increased gains in all areas and a general increased use of the Internet in all areas by ‘everyone’ (those with good access). We’ll see increased abuses in all areas too (to randomly pick examples: medical fraud, identity theft, illegal business practices, outright theft, increased ‘stimulation’—violence, sex, etc.—online). So, it will be more ‘more’ than more different than it is today. By 2025, the generations will shift enough that those in college in the 1980s (me) will be in our 50s. Those who’ll be in their 70s and 80s are now in their 60s and 70s. The Internet, for those with access, won’t be something that needs explaining, an optional tool for, say, those who are past retirement. It will be the means by which we do at least some part of everything we do. We will continue to pay for the convenience the Internet provides us. That will either free up more time for other things (like taking a walk?), or we’ll let that ‘new’ time be sucked up by other technologies because they’re everywhere and appealing in all their bell-and-whistle glory. It will be difficult to measure the ‘impact’ the Internet has on us in 2025 because that will be like asking us to contemplate the air we breathe (how much air do you think you’re breathing a month?). By the way: we’ll all be so survey-fatigued that you’ll have to use eye-scanning techniques to get this data!”

A futurist and consultant wrote, “My fear is that people will become so reliant on the data on the Internet that they will be unable to judge the difference between good data or false, limited, possibly-slanted information. People may be surrendering their ability to think and judge.”

A senior systems administrator at a US university wrote, “Privacy issues will be outweighed by the perceived benefits of being online and interacting with others all the time. I see wearable, or even embedded, technology managing even the most mundane aspects of our daily lives, from what we need at the grocery store to when it’s time to change A/C filters to scheduling routine medical appointments and tests.”

A self-employed writer and editor responded, “The Internet will be everywhere by 2025—the question is, who will control it, and for what end?”

An information science professional predicted, “The global marketplace will be smaller than ever. We can already order goods from China, Britain, etc., and have them shipped overnight. Also, a large portion of public education will be online—it’s already making serious inroads. My own children took ‘virtual school’ classes each semester in high school. I expect that there will be a great move toward virtual education for the vast majority of students, probably precipitated by slashed education budgets—online means cheaper physical plant costs.”

A quality analyst for Google responded, “Privacy issues will continue to nag us, as it will take decades for legal structures to adapt to a world where privacy could no longer exist. But hopefully sex won’t change too much.”

An anonymous survey participant wrote, “Face it: people use the Internet for pleasure, recreation, and shopping. That’s all it’s good for. I’m in favor of all three of those things, which is why I continue to use it. But let’s not kid ourselves that the Internet is going to save us all, transform the world, or make us better somehow. It’s a tool. How it goes will depend on how we use it. You give it too much power, and you treat it indiscriminately, as if every social problem were a nail, and the Internet is the hammer that’s going to bang everything into shape. It’s already happened: the new Sherlock and the new Downton Abbey airing on the same day? Genius. Congratulations Internet, you’ve jumped the shark.”

A post-doctoral researcher in mechanical engineering responded, “I would guess the social impact would be no real change from now, except the addition of holographic capabilities. Economically, the Internet will continue to flatten the world and democratize knowledge. There is still a serious question as to how education will adapt with or without the Internet, and that depends more on people than the technology. Politically, it will also help to keep governments accountable. The only real damage I think I can elaborate on is on the political front. The Internet makes it so much easier to spread lies and disinformation, as well as information. If people don’t have the skills to question and understand the motives of their sources, then the Internet could be a position to do some serious damage.”

The CEO of a technology company wrote, “The most significant overall impacts will be in national security challenges, cyber attacks, and theft. On the other hand, more people will have the opportunity to connect, share, collaborate, and create economic growth. The greatest impact will be in teleworking, increased productivity, education/information access, transportation, healthcare, and housing advancements.”

An instructional systems design professional wrote, “Elites in power will leverage their influence to control the thoughts of people. It will lead to a creation of a new set up of pious generalities that replace religion and will likely eliminate dissent and debate around a range of issues. People may technically have a right to free speech, but dissenting voices will be drowned out by a sea of conformity to social norms. Looking at the recent presidential election, one can easily see that that the re-election of Barack Obama was not a referendum on his dismal job performance. Rather, his highly paid political team was able to trash the opposition and divide its support via high-tech propaganda. Corrupt and inadequate leaders will be able to maintain their hold on power via sophisticated campaigns that, on the bright side, will not involve violence or arrest. Power will go to those best able to manipulate the masses.”

A self-employed data journalist and FullStack developer responded, “The Internet will continue to greatly impact how people live their lives from now to 2025 and beyond. The Internet will continue to change how people consume and share video and digital content, will influence how people receive local and global news, will impact how people participate in the political system, and will help influence people’s political viewpoints and ideology. The greatest impact the Internet will have between now and 2025 will be in how people consume ‘television’ series and video content. Many people are watching television series online, as well as original video content not available on traditional television and cable networks. The Internet will become the primary method that people use to watch ‘television’ series and video content. The use and importance of television and cable networks will decline significantly by 2025.”

The executive director of a futures coalition responded, “Information technologies warp our minds. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Ever since the first information technology—the alphabet—came along, our species has experienced psychological, if not physiological, paradigm shifts that have enabled us to grope our way towards the future. Often, the new way of relating is awkward. Even the most willing participants in technology may not comprehend the full meaning and scope of a shift as it is occurring. Our inability to grasp the significance of these developments hampers our abilities through policy and practice to mitigate the worst effects of disruption while missing the true opportunities for human development and social betterment that may be aided by these shifts. In 2005, prominent Internet evangelist John Perry Barlow seemed to have a flash of insight regarding how the network may diverge from its Elysian ideals: ‘This system—permission computing—is supposed to be designed to help control digital rights management. By its nature, it will be great for political rights management because it’s an enormously penetrative surveillance tool, and it makes it hard to do anything anonymously involving a computer. Here is a monopoly in essence, the Wintel monopoly ‘Windows/Intel,’ which has enormous global power and which no government is willing to stand up to, at least effectively, so far…The multinationals have reached the point where they are essentially replacing the nation-state. I look at a multinational as an organism. It is not a human being and doesn’t have any characteristics of a human being. It is as much unlike a human being as a coral reef is unlike a coral polyp or an anthill unlike an ant. It is an extremely advanced piece of evolutionary design that is capable of having its way in the world and competing with human beings for the world’s resources. From a multinational’s standpoint, the best thing that can happen is the best thing that can happen right now. They have to deliver maximum shareholder value today, next quarter, which means that they don’t worry about whether there are going to be resources for them to exploit in ten years.’ In my view, the hybrid information commons/commercial zone that is the Internet is not sustainable as we know it, and therefore destined to change. Whether it’s towards a more locked-down corporate/security panopticon or an asymmetric ecosystem, where digital freedoms depend on where the user is based, remains to be seen.”

An information science professional wrote, “We have a golden opportunity to increase our capabilities to be creative, develop our natural personal capabilities, and enhance human relationships. Any improvement should genuinely increase these without detriment to person-to-person contact and our ability to communicate our thoughts.”

An information consultant/developer responded, “The Internet will simply be ubiquitous by 2025. We won’t think about it—we won’t expect to pay extra for access to it—it will be a utility like electricity and running water that nearly everyone has and that no one questions the usefulness of. Bandwidth will vary, largely along economically stratified lines. But the Internet and humanity will be one, for better or worse. The Internet of Things will be the most useful innovation, and the one that will catch most people unawares. In the same way that the Web caught on in the 1990s and then so quickly became just what every business used to communicate by the mid- to late-2000s, the Internet of Things will cause a sea change in the way people relate to products and the world around them. For example, in shopping, people will walk around store aisles and pull things off the shelf that will be purchased as they are added to the shopping cart, via interactions between embedded price tags, IR credit/debit cards, and mobile devices. There may be no such thing as a grocery checkout by 2025.”

An information resources professional observed, “While the Internet will continue to have a significant role in our lives, corporate attempts to profit from the Internet, fears of privacy, and fears of the misuse of personal information will reduce the role of the Internet in our lives by 2025.”

The manager of a non-profit organization wrote, “Time savings can be good and bad in the use of the Internet. It can speed things up that should be more carefully considered, which could adversely affect humanity, lessening the development of critical thinking skills and more.”

A self-employed digital consultant responded, “The most significant impact could be in the health field, cancer treatments, food growth and production optimization, education, and travel. However, any and all of this can be thwarted by individuals and politicians who make these things impossible, or too expensive, for the average person. I would think that the greatest impact could be in the medicine/cancer field. But this may not be realized with some of the challenges facing our country between now and then. Also, there is a real potential for hackers to disarm, or dismantle, our country.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “It seems to be becoming the be-all and end-all of people’s lives. I think the Internet had the potential for some good uses, but it has devolved into a supreme selling machine and a supreme time-waster, and it seems likely to continue detaching people more and more from the real people, community, and environments surrounding them, as younger people who have grown up with it become the majority.”

An information science professional who works in California wrote, “The Internet has already flattened the world in terms of globalizing information availability. The next step will be overcoming political and religious differences. Scarcer resources and unchecked population growth can exacerbate the differences. The availability of Internet tools for those who can benefit will depend on energy and monetary resources, too. Will that mean that richer countries will prevent poorer countries from advancement?  There will be more information overload. There will be those who want to control the flow and content more. Technology has gone beyond that now. It’s time for the more human touch.”

A Red Cross disaster volunteer who formerly held management positions in several small businesses responded, “There will be more awareness of other cultures and ways of thinking, leading to more tolerance. We will always have the extremists with us—fear of the new breeds and nurtures them. I’ve recently been reading about the intolerance of the early New England settlers—who, of course, came to the new world for their own freedom and then subjugated and virtually exterminated the native population and drove away those who did not fit their new norms. Well, now we have the Tea Party and the fundamentalists. However, we also celebrate our diversity in so very many ways. I was born in 1938—I saw the Civil Rights movement, the feminist movement, and much more. My mother was not allowed to go to college (in the 1910s)—there was no reason for a woman to be educated, but I have an MBA. As a divorced mother in the 1960s, I was not allowed to get a mortgage—my daughter is a mortgage loan professional. The Arab Spring could not have happened without the Internet. Thankfully, the United States survived its first fifty years without the rest of the world looking over its shoulder—remember the Alien and Sedition Acts?”

A volunteer and artist wrote, “I worry about my grandson, who is eleven. We don’t have much money. He is already behind his friends because he does not have his own phone or iPad. We have a computer but cant afford a DSL Internet connection. I worry about the children like him. I worry about ‘equal’ opportunities for him and others. On the other side of the coin—children who can afford the gadgets are open to so much information—it is amazing. But will they use the opportunity, or just play games? The greatest impact between now and 2025 will be in education. It is how politicians are justifying the broadband issues. They even have teachers (who are not paying attention) buying into it—not realising they are helping to let go of teachers and shut down schools. Technology is exciting because it is dangerous. It is also expensive, and it is not sustainable; once you open the package on a new gadget, its life is very short. But for now, it will win. There is big money to be made.”

A director for materials management for a company responded, “Among the results by 2025: there will be a lack of humanity—the ability to be completely disconnected from real people and still feel like you are part of a group. There will be a lack of scholarship—the cut-and-paste techniques currently used by college students will have a great impact on us all when they are the policy makers in 2025. The way research is done now relies on quick bites of information and never requires anyone to follow and carefully consider a thread.”

An information science professional wrote, “There will still be a problem with people finding misinformation and assuming that it is true, and then acting on that misinformation. While the Internet can foster international connections, the world will continue to splinter, with most people only seeking and finding what confirms their own views.”

A freelance marketing and communications professional responded, “Hopefully, the Internet will reach out into rural areas of the world and allow people to help, learn and grow. Education will allow people to empathize with other people who are different from them. International news, video feeds, etc., will help us know what is going on in the world around us and not just in our state or community. But again, 2025 is not so far away as to change the entire fabric of civilization.”

A technology educator responded, “The Internet is like any other tool—it increases productivity when used. It has a huge, still mostly untapped, potential for economic growth for smaller entrepreneurial businesses and individuals, particularly with the current generation not ever having lived without the Internet. We will continue to see companies that exist primarily online. People will be come more and more comfortable with doing all their transactions online.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “There will be more beneficial information being shared on the Internet such as medical information. People will have more applications to help them with their daily lives. More information will be available to help people make decisions about the future. People will have to be able to tell what is accurate information and what is hype and advertising. On the down side, not all people will have technology, and people most likely will have their privacy invaded. Crimes like identity theft will be common. And maybe by then, we will learn how to transport ourselves like on Star Trek. Medical technologies will be more available to save lives. Let’s hope the Internet will remain open for sharing and not come under some umbrella where information has a price.”

The CEO of a business responded, “It is like the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Bible: so many good things and so much danger and possibility of misuse. Basic human rights worldwide will have to be redefined.”

An information science professional wrote, “There is both good and bad—on the good side, the role of the Internet could make life easier, and simplify daily tasks and activities. The Internet could make basic life activities easier—you could have appliances on the Internet set to automatically order food when you are about to run out of something and arrange for automatic delivery, so that you don’t have to spend time physically going to a store. I can see car accidents reduced and travel times decreased because the freeways and cars are talking to each other, and this change would reduce stress and strain on all of us. On the bad side, the lack of down time and time to simply be in the moment could be significantly reduced, and people could become seriously detached from what is going on around them. Disconnection would be easy, creating people who don’t know how to effectively engage each other. I also can see potential hazards with privacy, digital rights management, etc. If we can balance things, protect basic human rights, and ensure that we are all engaged, then our lives could be marvelous. But there are many potential hazards and potholes to navigate.  The greatest impact will be to expand and enhance communication and the possibilities for connection—across boundaries of all kinds. Borders could fall; more people will be able to be engaged and contribute to the world.”

A librarian for the City of Oakland predicted, “There will be more transparency of people’s lives, cultivated by corporations and other consumer-driven businesses. Also, we are moving toward a ‘hive mind’ with the Internet. Everyone can know everything at the same time.”

A health sciences librarian from California wrote, “The vast majority of the world will continue to put more of everything online. This will lead to some countries losing all control of their public, as government won’t be able to keep up with the three-second attention span, and people won’t care about doing anything that takes more than 20 minutes. The government and corporations will see everything through not only cameras and satellites, but also through the very technology we carry around with us. As computers get smarter, they will be able to predict. The Internet will be a connector. Whether it connects thieves with money, sick people with the care they need, or fat couch-dwellers with delivered processed food, it will remove the need for people to interact with other people. The connections will all be online, over the Internet. Human connection will be very limited. The Internet will become, in a sense, our hivemind. With it sending all that information to corporations and possibly the government, the Internet will allow people to become ever less caring and ever less human. There will also be a backlash, and I imagine a fair number of people will go Luddite and possibly try to overthrow things. They will fail.”

A public-information professional wrote, “The Internet has brought together people from all over the globe into communities based on their interests, and that can be seen as a force for change, depending on how it is used. But it has also meant that we might know more about our online community of like-minded thinkers than we do about our next-door neighbors, and that can create an echo chamber. I hope it will mean the rise of a greater variety of political discussions as groups find ways to organize and debate separate from mass media.”

The digital editor for a very large media organization observed, “Many more education/classrooms will be virtual. Travel and cultural experiences will be more readily available, making us more globally connected. I think—hope—want to believe—that there will be less conflict as we communicate more because we are given a better opportunity to know and understand each other better and find we are not so different, no matter where we live.”

A media agency strategist predicted, “It will be all-pervasive, so there will be more access but less privacy.”

A public library director from Delaware wrote, “It will have its greatest impact socially, followed by economically. The Facebook phenomenon is worldwide, as are dating sites and other social networking companies. The companies may change, but the ‘electronic’ friendship creation is going nowhere. Businesses do a good portion of their work and sales online as well, and this only gets larger too. Look at music stores—they are almost non-existent, or very poorly stocked, and cannot win the economic fight against being able to order any album on Amazon, cheaper and delivered quickly.”

A student at the University of Washington responded, “Information will continue to get out (as in Wikileaks) and people will be able to spread it faster (Twitter, Facebook, blogging). There will be a more level playing field for education and personal advancement. The overall impact of the Internet will be, I am sure, a positive one.”

A director of communications for a large organization wrote, “Electronic tools allow us to avoid good and less good interactions—for work, personal finance, family, and friends. Oh, we’re in constant contact, but we can’t tell you the color of their eyes. In many ways we will look to tools that give voice and video—such as Skype, which is marginal at best, so far. We will continue to see advances in the Internet functionality that are more naturally-literally, human, less connected, remotely-figuratively.”

An information science professional responded, “We will live a land of data—from our home appliances to stores to our own health. Slogging through and not being overwhelmed by the data will be the trick to keeping sane and healthy in all aspects.”

A public librarian from Virginia responded, “If you don’t have it, you will be out of luck. Technology has become a norm, a way of life, it is not going anywhere and those who cannot afford it will rely heavily on public free services such as public libraries and cybercafes with minimal fees. We would behoove ourselves to not only invest heavily in our public free libraries, but also in making sure every person has access to the services that some of us take for granted. More and more schools and companies are making the work and resumés they require online-only; assignments that once could be hand written are now turned in on thumb drives, and applications for employment are only accessible online. What the public libraries can offer to those who cannot afford to own the technology, or even have Internet capability in their homes, is and must remain a free service.”

A US law school professor who teaches research and analysis wrote, “Nothing will be hidden any more. Everything will be in the open. Spin will be on everything. Everyone will have his or her own personal agenda and bias to process the information available. Without careful analyzed thought, a few controlling information providers will be able to sway the minds of many. Think back to the open days of early TV advertising. New products were in constant development, and ‘new and improved’ became the slogan of many manufacturers, even if the product remained the same. Too much of anything causes a pull-back reaction. If the public cannot make that pull-back on their own, the controller wins.”

The manager for a consumer finance company predicted, “People in politically/socially repressive countries will continue to network, and information dissemination will bring about increased freedom.”

A digital content advisor who helped pioneer the process for libraries to use downloadable e-books wrote, “The most significant impact has been, and will continue to be, the ability to work and handle life remotely. For people to be able to obtain information, sign up for Medicare and health insurance, check out library books, order any kind of item that they want to buy online, is huge. Another huge impact will be the ability for people all over the world to obtain an education in whatever they’re interested in—free—due to sites like Khan Academy.”

A vice president for a public park facility wrote, “The Internet will be pervasive, and for those who are not Digital Natives, will be intrusive. We will have a new definition of what freedom means as it is applied to social class, economics, and politics.”

An anonymous respondent from New Jersey responded, “The Internet will be the school, library, news source, bank, post office, lawyer, doctor, media center, mall, telephone, television, radio, publisher, and the friend we go to for advice. Our lives and humanity will be dependent on this invisible cord, which few of us will be able to control. We will be more dependent and vulnerable and be caught in a situation where we feel we have everything at our fingertips, but we will be living in a world of virtual reality.  Education will be the most impacted by the Internet. The change is already a reality, where in wealthy school districts students are issued individual iPads, and prep students are tech-savvy. The problem is an erosion of content. Where will you actually go to find information? What databases will you rely on? I am thankful for Wikipedia and use it often to get a quick understanding or a topic I am unfamiliar with or a person I don’t know. However, I then go out and find more sources. Too many people will stop too soon. People seem less willing to click further and dig deeper.”

A human factors and information professional and educator responded, “Internet communication will become available to a broader audience, particularly in the developing world. I hope that it will help support educational and social advances in areas that are currently severely disadvantaged.”

An attorney at a private law firm predicted, “We will be moving toward a greater merger between the body and technology. There will be more ‘meatware,’ as some authors have termed it, and, as with every technology, we will have a difficult time managing it, and privacy and other personal protections will lag behind the technology.”

A community information resources manager wrote, “I expect the world to grow smaller and more tightly knit via the Internet, but humankind can be very willfully divisive and aggressive, so I don’t know if it will be enough to offset that stupidity that we too often indulge in. I want to have faith in Gene Roddenberry’s vision of mankind’s future of cooperation and scientific advancement, but it can be difficult to keep that faith on a worldwide scale.”

An anonymous respondent from Milwaukee wrote, “The fields of medicine and healthcare will be the segments most significantly impacted by the Internet by 2025. Whether data is aggregated to track the cause of illness or mined individually to deny coverage, we will all be affected by the Internet as it touches our health and well-being. We will all die, but what it costs before we get to that point will be big money, and where there is big money, there is an opening for it to be controlled by the Internet. Google is doing research on death, but how that information will be used and monetized is a significant question.”

The director of a public information resource predicted, “Elections will take place online. Medical diagnosis will initially take place in a Skype-type interchange between patient and doctor with only face-to-face contact occurring in severe cases. Education will be done more through the Internet. There will be less of a need for large buildings. There will be a negative impact, as people won’t be able to interact when they are face-to-face with real people. I see a greater trend toward isolationism. We will need to create social get-togethers so that people have an opportunity to interact with each other in-person. With the way the Internet is today, we can do almost everything we need to do with the Internet.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Being publicly available will have a potential to affect individuals in the most dramatic (be it positive or negative) way. It means that, as a community, we will have to learn to live with such contingency and the idea that letters cannot be burned any longer. Politically, the Internet will have an impact on community, on the ways people talk among themselves and to the authorities, as well as participate in politics. Governments (and this is especially true for the non-democratic ones) will make serious efforts to intervene with the freedom of communication on the Internet including the crudest technological interventions in the network.”

The CEO of Wyoming.com, an ISP serving Wyoming since 1994, wrote, “I expect to see some really cool developments in specialized areas like health care and marketing. I also see an exponential increase in the amount of meaningless tripe that is shared among users.”

A self-identified advocate and activist user wrote, “I’m feeling optimistic today, so I’m going to say that getting populations in the Global South onto the Internet for commercial purposes may have the greatest positive influence. This is still going to depend on physical shipping and other services to places in Africa and South America, though.”

An attorney at a major law firm wrote, “By 2025, the Internet will have spread to the entire developed world and to much of the developing world, further exacerbating the rich/poor divide.”

An assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh wrote, “My goodness, it seems that every question in this survey defines the ‘future of the Internet’ in the ideologically loaded language of Silicon Valley. ‘Killer apps’? Really? I can’t answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to any of these questions because there is too much ideological baggage in their construction. Would answers to any of these questions be falsifiable?”

A futurist and consultant for Quinnovation responded, “Sharing is good and will continue. We need to find ways to connect the online and the real, so that people don’t compartmentalize the opportunity. We need to find ways to help people get out of their echo chamber and experience other viewpoints. We need to be explicit about digital skills and developing them, rather than taking them for granted. The most significant impact will be growing access from the developing world. I think someone should put an entire K-12 curriculum online for free (what the next US ‘man on the moon’ project should be, not putting a man on Mars). We can, and will, have contextualized coaching. The only thing we have to ensure is that our wisdom is developed at the same rate as our intelligence. The biggest impact of the Internet will come from contextualized coaching to develop people as they wish, when it can, and at the fastest rate they can absorb. We’ll have a global mental bootstrap.”

An Internet law student and human rights advocate wrote, “Very good impacts are to come. However, there will be a certain point where parents start to ‘shield’ their children from relying on the Internet too much. I sometimes feel this myself—that when I have children, I would not want them to spend all their time online. There is so much value in face-to-face communication and interaction that does not involve a screen. Call me old-fashioned, but whereas the Internet is impacting our development in a very positive way, it may be impacting our social skills in a more negative way. The greatest impact the Internet will have on our lives between now and 2025 is the facilitation of day-to-day life and communications. Convenience.”

A Columbia University doctoral student predicted, “The future could include immersive reality, embedded technologies, brains that are merged with computers, and infinite knowledge.”

An assistant professor at the University of Albany wrote, “The good is the increased ability of people to easily connect with each other, regardless of location. The bad outcome is less time devoted to non-Internet activities—i.e., outdoor recreation, traditional socializing, etc.”

An anonymous participant who works as a senior executive in the US government responded, “We will see the true rise of the entire planet—that the Internet is no longer a product of the West, but everyone on the planet can contribute.”

A former academic and private sector VP who is now an independent consultant wrote, “This was a very poorly conceptualized/operationalized questionnaire. It left no option to indicate a sincere and thoughtful ‘uncertain’ response, and instead forced a Yes/No reply among people who are truly undecided, of which I am one.”

A principle sampling statistician for the American Institutes for Research responded, “On the bad side, it is weakening capabilities in areas that require a long attention span—i.e., mathematics, writing a novel. The advantage will be the ability to get needed information quickly and to discover patterns in it.”

A research assistant at the Polytechnic University of Portugal predicted, “By 2025, the Internet will be people’s sixth sense. They will use it as they use electricity nowadays. It will be present in every device, home, car, and so on. It will be your third arm. The biggest impact will be the ability to control everything throughout the Internet. By 2025, your day will be like this: the blinds open at 7:10, because you have a meeting at 9, and usually take 30 minutes to get up and go to work. But there is traffic, so it woke you up earlier. As it knows your schedule, your bath is already running, the coffee machine is plugged in, and the car is downloading the latest update for fuel efficiency. You arrive at work, and in the meeting, you are being updated through dictation. Lunch is being selected based on your lunch menu from the last month, and when you arrive at the cafeteria, you just use your thumb to pay.”

The president and principal consultant for a product usability consulting firm wrote, “Today, people think about using the Internet. They access it with computers of various types: mainframes, timeshare, desktop PCs, tablets, phones, etc. There are situations in which Internet access is only implicit—i.e., a part of what they are doing—but only a few. In 2025, the Internet will be in the background, always present and constantly being accessed, and most of people’s access to it will be implicit, as part of whatever application, tool, or appliance they are using. Examples of apps that will use the Internet implicitly include: calling your dog from across the neighborhood, finding a lost object or child, reading the news, making a doctor’s appointment, archiving family photos, ordering ingredients for a meal. In 1994, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility published a special issue of its Newsletter that focused on future scenarios of the Internet (aka ‘Information Highway’). One article is this one: http://cpsr.org/prevsite/publications/newsletters/issues/1994/Fall1994/johnson2.html/”

A researcher and academic wrote, “The future has arrived, and folks simply haven’t prepared for it. It is continuing to expand in ways and in places that we cannot begin to fully map but are attempting to do so—the Internet-social sciences-journalism-film-medicine-management-scientific-nexus.”

A senior research director in an academic survey organization responded, “More appliances and activities will be connected to the Internet. The good impact will be more information. The bad: too much to manage.”

An educational technology broker predicted, “The Internet will be replaced by a new and powerful technology that relies on technology we have not yet considered.”

A data specialist for a public opinion research company wrote, “This survey is seriously making me depressed.”

A research professor at the University of California-Berkeley, wrote, “There will be a much greater flow of information that will make the marketplace more competitive. But it will have a detrimental effect on local consumption and businesses unless there can be better links made between brick and mortar and online. Political processes also have the potential to be more informed, but only if the news media can bring back a profitable model with news bureaus of some sort. Otherwise, it’ll be the dumbing down. In terms of social impacts, outsourcing face-to-face contact is, in my opinion, a bad trend, but we’ll know more about this as time goes on. One impact is simply tremendous risk of knowledge and security, either from terrorism, criminality, military threats, or even sunspots. I suspect there will be at least one very large event.”

A research scientist wrote, “The most significant impact of the Internet will be effect of digital natives on society. Growing up communicating, researching, educating, socializing, and interacting online will be the most significant change in human relations since the invention of the telegraph. And it will be much farther-reaching, because it not only touches on commerce, politics, and education, but also in the way humans interact with the world. Whether it is for good or ill, this generation of Digital Natives will impact almost every way humanity functions.”

An assistant professor of communication who researches new-media effects responded,  “The digital divide will persist, citizen engagement will come in new forms (but the impact of these shifts may not be meaningful), privacy concerns will be more important to ordinary citizens, the way people are informed about issues will continue to change.  While there are many concerns, the greatest may be the most easily overlooked. This is the change in how ordinary citizens gather information (i.e., receive news) about any issue/topic. As ‘news’ and information are increasingly gathered from a variety of outlets (i.e., traditional, new, interpersonal, networked, and not), and outlets are increasingly polarized, it is obvious that the Internet is not the ‘great equalizer’ that we once thought it was. There is a dark side, which is seen as people increasingly link to like-minded others/information and disassociate with dissimilar others/information. The need to foster media literacy education will increase (and we should be greatly concerned if nothing is done about it).”

An active scholar of online communications wrote, “The Internet will be our main way of connecting, working, and acquiring. It already is that way, but big-box retailers will turn into pickup stations for goods, and small shops will be novelties for travelers and tourists. No longer will we come into offices to see our coworkers, but hear their voices over conferencing apps and see their ideas drawn on an electronic whiteboard while sitting in our home offices. We will be more connected than ever, and at all times. This will allow people greater freedom of movement and employment (if you can work for a company in Pittsburgh while living in San Francisco, say), but might reduce our face-to-face interactions (for good or for bad). We will be always connected, no matter where we are or what we’re doing: always reachable, never unavailable. This will impact our work lives and personal lives immensely. What will happen to alone time? Solitude? Thought? This is what I worry about.”

A researcher who works at the University of New Hampshire responded, “There will be improved economic efficiencies, but a loss of privacy. There will be more boredom as more will easily be known.”

A researcher from Pennsylvania wrote, “One of the largest impacts of the Internet will be the way it interacts with individuals’ professional lives. It’s hard to imagine the Internet will not impact labor in a variety of ways: from hiring to scheduling to professional profile management and on.”

A research scientist and educator from Oxford, England, wrote, “There will be a potential erosion of freedom of expression online as policy is oriented to protecting security, privacy, and other values.”

A University of St. Gallen research associate and doctoral student predicted, “The Internet will be the key technology and permeate all levels of society in different ways.  Following the Networked Individualism approach, more flexible and fluid forms of working, learning, loving, and being will lead to more satisfaction and well being. People will be very social and include the new forms of the technology to primarily match their social and communication needs (not their information needs). On the other hand, many people will be addicted to the new forms of the Internet. Thus, both upsides and downsides will occur. The upsides will win.”

A professor from The New School in New York wrote, “Who said, ‘The best way to predict the future is to create it’? The thing to do is go out after finishing this survey and use the Internet to make a change, perhaps starting with yourself. I’ll do this by re-reading The Brothers Karamazov, and the wisdom of Father Zosima, starting with: ‘Each one of us is guilty before everybody for everything, and I am more guilty than anybody else,’ and moving on to, ‘Everything is good and magnificent, because everything is true.’”

A PhD at a university in Europe responded, “The good will come in the exchange of important information, which helps everyone develop a more sustainable way of life, increased world identification, more information about people somewhere else, great exchanges of ideas. The bad will emerge from fewer exchanges in real life.”

An Internet and society academic researcher wrote, “Greater levels of global connectivity and a narrowing of the digital divide will be beneficial. However, if current trends in the control and shaping of Internet activities continue, there will be a considerable online democratic deficit. The greatest impact will be felt by increasing Internet access to populations that as yet do not have reliable access.”

An associate director and assistant research professor at a university center for survey research wrote, “The shift in the nature of most commercial transactions, from face-to-face, to virtual.”

An adjunct professor and research fellow in Finland wrote, “The most important challenge for the Internet is how it will be used: will it be used to promote some privileged groups, and will that happen at the expense of others, and are some social groups completely ignored? To serve humanity and social equality, the public measures will be required, too.”

A company webmaster wrote, “The most significant impact of the Internet will continue to be the ready dissemination of knowledge to those in need.”

A usability engineer responded, “The most significant impact of the Internet will be on public education. There will be an investment in technology that will eventually reduce costs and improve public education. There will be less money spent on real estate and teacher salaries. This advance in online education will also hopefully reduce the education gaps based on income levels.”

A self-described “geek with decades of survey research experience across government, academic and commercial organizations,” predicted, “People will return to keeping handwritten journals on acid-free paper, writing poetry, composing songs, playing parlor music, gardening, and knitting. Or, they will be locked in La-Z-Boy loungers on life support, streaming movies directly to a chip in their head. We will have dozens of flu vaccines tailored to geography based on passive reporting of flu strains. Pesticides/herbicides will be replaced by natural aleopathy bred into plant genomes: aleopathy made possible by crowdsourcing data collection on plant/weed relationships across the globe.”

An associate professor of IT management who is based in California responded, “Regarding the social—the ability to stay connected at a relatively low cost is generally good, but we need to get better at deciding how to spend our time. Clicking ‘like’ and posting about relatively inane things just doesn’t add much value to the world.  Regarding the economic—the net positive is allowing access to information, knowledge, and education to have a much greater reach than before. Regarding the political—there is an opportunity for a net positive, and we already have had some success (i.e., Arab Spring). But it doesn’t come without costs or risks (i.e., Egypt, Libya, and the turmoil in the region after ejecting dictators).”

A professor at the University of Delaware wrote, “It will become part of the background—part of the fabric of society and life. There are certainly risks to consider and problems to deal with.”

A PhD candidate at a major California public university responded, “I expect increased political polarization. I don’t see the Internet as inherently good or bad in this regard. Instead, people interested in a more ideological, less pragmatic/compromising form of politics have found the Internet to be extremely useful in furthering their goals and connecting with like-minded individuals. Since the most politically active tend to be the most ideological, this is hardly a surprise. The Internet allows political ideologues to invest more of their daily experience in to extremist politics, just like it lets sports fans dive in to minutia about their favorite teams. (This prediction is only for Western societies.) Since people can use the Internet in myriad ways, I suspect we will see a major change in attitudes towards people who use their online social networks solely to promote political ideas. I do not expect this group of people to change much between 2013 and 2025. Some of the underlying issues may change, but the fundamentals of people using social networking sites as a venue to promote their own identity politics and ideological preferences will persist. Most importantly, ideologues on the left and right will continue to express their identity by directing outrage towards the other side. Because most people are more moderate in their political views and less interested in politics, the online ideologue will become an increasingly pejorative caricature for other Internet users. These ideologues will still have considerable sway over political parties, since they are the grassroots activists. However, I suspect they will become deeply unpopular among their friends and family, just as Congress has become increasingly unpopular for the American public.”

An associate professor at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign wrote, “The most significant overall impacts of our uses of the Internet on humanity between now and 2025 will be privacy, education, realization of the negative impacts of social media, and how the information that people post can be used to profile various aspects of an individuals behaviors and beliefs. The biggest impact is the profiling that will be used to market products and control what you do, how you do it, and when you do it. People are perfect lab rats who are controlled by media. Think about how people line up outside of stores on Black Friday to get bargains. The Internet will be sure to profile people more and control behaviors in the future.”

A university lecturer and researcher in media and journalism at an Australian public university wrote, “There will be less privacy and less individualism, even though individualism will be hyped, or proposed as the reason for doing and being—hence more homogeneity in the world: a less interesting place in general, since it will not have many unknowns. All places on earth will be monitored, taped, available to view at will. The world will be physically safer in some ways and frightening in other ways.”

A postdoctoral researcher based in Europe wrote, “If I’d have to take one guess, I’d say the Internet of the future is going to be more proprietary in every way—i.e., at the physical, logical, and content layers.”

A PhD candidate at the University of Oslo responded, “The bad will be surveillance. The good will be policies protecting individuals’ rights and important civic tools.”

A graduate student at Pepperdine University predicted, “There will be greater transparency in regard to how large organizations such as governments and multi-national corporations behave. This will promote a more egalitarian political process, resulting in a fairer share of global resources for the poor and under-served populations.”

A lecturer in a graduate program responded, “People will gain in convenience and lose control in terms of privacy and monitoring their own affairs. I also foresee the Internet having an effect on the human brain and the way people learn. My hope is that, with more access to resources of substance (books, archives, art work, musical works, tours of museums, etc.) on the Internet and the cost of the technology reduced, that youngsters and students will be encouraged to use the Web for in-depth projects, not just for homework or posting assignments. It will be interesting to see what replaces traditional communication tools such as TV and newspapers. Politics and news reports are already transitioning to social media forums. This will continue. Possibly, a digital divide—not just between rich and poor, but also between generations. People working into their 60s and 70s is more common now. People in power in governments and corporations are also in the older age ranges. The Internet-savvy younger generations view work and play and love (the three things many psychologists believe relate to happiness) differently than people who entered the workforce and fell in love pre-Internet. The ‘play’ aspect of happiness could also be affected. An addiction to devices isn’t healthy, no matter how entertaining or sexy they may seem.”

The executive director for a non-profit community service organization observed, “People will continue to use the Internet and use it just as the yellow pages were used in previous times. The most significant overall impact is that the divide between those with resources and those without resources will increase. The Internet may be less developed if current US administration influencers continue to erode liberty, privacy and goodwill.”

A database configuration specialist and risk assessment analyst wrote, “By 2025 use of the Internet will be as routine as breathing. It will change from something you decide to use to something you simply use.”

An individual who is self-employed in a non-technology field responded, “The biggest impact I believe the Internet will have by 2025 is the decentralization of business. Some people telecommute now but the number who work at home, Starbuck’s, or wherever will increase exponentially for office jobs. This is positive for decreasing traffic and pollution, increasing efficiency, and making workers happy, but the lack of social interaction with others that one isn’t related to or friends with will be a big negative.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Increased numbers of telecommuters will happen because people already want it to happen. Non-standard work schedules can increase efficiency, both for the company and the worker. There is already a movement away from standard schedules, and robotics and automation can speed the transition. This will cause both increased opportunity as time and resources are freed for other uses and hardships as workers are displaced and forced to transition.”

A department manager for a library in a large US metropolitan area wrote, “Human interaction is moving online. Jobs that used to require a person to intermediate are now handled by software. We participate less and less, and the trend is continuing. We also treat the people who perform services as if they were robots, while we stare into our phones and pads, communicating with other people who are not there. We cut ourselves off from real people in order to communicate with virtual people. And the trend is increasing as the Net becomes more pervasive. iPads as entertainment for children are taking the place that TV did twenty to thirty years ago. We’ve also lost cultural cohesiveness, as the Net encourages increasing narrowcasting. We’re becoming more divided and isolated. I also don’t think we’re becoming more productive. Multitasking does not make a person more productive; it just makes them more stressed. Some device is always on, so no one ever shuts down. I love my iPad and my computers (I have three), but being always connected means never letting go for a second.”

An information science professional specializing in healthcare responded, “A good impact will be sharing of knowledge, information, and resources for good purposes; health, education, social advancement, etc. A bad impact will be the threat to personal and governmental security, perpetrated by terrorist groups yielding enormous power and threats and governments not being able to find ways to thwart them. Unfortunately, the greatest impact of the Internet will be a negative impact. Security threats being carried out by terrorist groups will have the greatest impact. This will happen because governments are not willing to commit the resources needed to stop the terrorists.”

A business owner focused on legislative and regulatory issues for non-profit entities and trade associations wrote, “The Internet will continue to enhance activities of daily living, potentially freeing up time from paid work for personal interaction, potentially altering the way in which we elect leaders and govern the country, and potentially having a profoundly positive impact on our society.”

A librarian at a private, non-profit university wrote, “Ultimately, it all depends on the politics and ethics of those who are backing these initiatives through their financing and power. I wish I knew.”

The Web marketing manager at major Chicago academic medical center predicted, “In 2025, people will no longer be able to live without using the Internet—unless you really want to drop out of society. We won’t be talking about the Internet like it’s a thing because it will just be the center infrastructure for how we go about life, how we purchase, exchange information, plan travel, conduct business, measure health, everything. But it’ll be wireless. It’s my sincere hope that there will be a way for the Internet to help unmask fraud, rather than to cause more of it. The Internet will fundamentally change our educational structure, at least for higher education. Going to class and listening to lecture won’t be how it’s done anymore. Or, maybe your lecturer will be half way around the world, rather than across campus.”

A digital writer for a financial services company wrote, “We’ll be almost constantly connected to the Internet by smart devices. I think the type of smart devices is not likely to change, but I think these devices will work better and smarter by 2025. Socially, I think the Internet will continue to expand to less-developed countries and spread free thoughts and provide access to resources that were once unobtainable. The world will be a smaller place due to spread of technology.”

An academic administrator and former foundation executive with responsibility for information technology responded, “People will have more autonomy, I hope. Driverless cars will have the greatest impact. Better secure sharing of medical information would be helpful and achievable. Streaming video will change the structure of the communications industry. A major cyberattack might speed up corporate and military defense efforts. Privacy will continue to be at risk. Everything from advertisements to medicines will be more personalized. Be it corporate or governmental, Big Brother will be watching. And we may spend more time at home online than we already do. Barring cyberattack, I think change will be gradual, given the drag of policy makers and the law.”

A master’s student in political science at Binghamton University predicted, “The Internet by 2025 will play an even greater role than it does now. Most parts of people’s lives and of society will be stored on the Internet. Large amounts of communication already take place through the Internet, and this will only increase throughout the years. Banking, shopping, and other everyday activities will be done primarily on the Internet.”

A graduate student at Gonzaga University responded, “Due to job losses that are already occurring, as well as the lack of meaningful employment and work/family balance, I think there will be a major shift in people’s perceptions about what is important and meaningful in their lives. This may mean taking a step back from technology and rebuilding relationships with family, friends, and communities for a purposeful existence that is self-sustaining.”

A business leader wrote, “Social media will have totally evolved. I believe Facebook will either have morphed or be gone. This goes for others as well. If ads continue to become more invasive on social media, as they are now, people will start to leave. Facebook and others may migrate to a model where you can forego ads if you pay to play.”

A reference librarian responded, “People will rely on the Internet for their information, which, since there is no policing of facts and things on the Internet, they may get faulty information. This will impact on education and on libraries, which are struggling to stay alive as people further rely on the Internet. Communication has also broken down, since people rely on texts and use anonymous names to harass others on the Internet. Everything you do will be public knowledge that will affect people who are running for office. Also, fraud will increase due to the easy way people are able to create false stories and spread them on the Internet. The only good is that people who live far away from each other are able to communicate with loved ones easier on the Internet through social networks, cameras, etc.”

A retired educator with a PhD wrote, “The mundane will be even more mundane. Much of the impact of the Net will be behind the scenes, and otherwise individual to most folk. The weaknesses of the Net’s design will become more embedded, with many claims as to the advancements of the Net. The Net is a handy tool for advancing the agendas of those who hide behind anonymity. Until more is done to remove anonymity, the growth/improvement of the Net will be moderated. Thus, great changes [will happen] by 2025, with even more change being possible if the Net was improved. The biggest impact of the Net will be to lead people to think that they have more control over their lives, with a plethora of bells and whistles that they can activate and pretend are important. Data that can be translated into numbers will appear to be of utmost importance, allowing for a greater control of the Net by those who are driven by various rapacious motives. If major failures of the design of the Net are exposed, then there is a chance that a dialogue will follow, leading to citizens exercising more control over the Net.”

A webmaster for a history website and archives digitization consultant predicted, “Privacy issues will prevail in the United States —electronic health records and other data collected by private and governmental organizations, or hackers. As the extent of NSA surveillance is revealed, people will begin to realize just how much internet-enabled intrusion is present in their lives. Consumers may not feel so secure about banking or shopping online when they realize how much personal information can be transmitted and stored in an instant. We’ve just begun to see the negative trends and large unemployment issues of today’s young college grads who have expensive diplomas but no job skills. Higher education will undergo drastic changes by 2025, and a lot of it will be online. Digital Natives will demand more workforce preparedness as part of their training. One of the greatest cultural impacts of the Internet will be the digitization and preservation of historical documents, film, video, and sound archives, and photographs, with increased public access to them. This, to me, is the most exciting possibility of all.”

An information sciences professional wrote, “We will essentially be living online by 2025—our shopping, entertainment, financial, and creative activities will be fully online. The most significant impact will be the complete and utter loss of privacy.”

A social scientist and college faculty member who investigates empowerment rhetoric around technology wrote, “As more and more data are collected, our civil liberties are potentially threatened. However, pooling information can contribute to value information that can develop technologies to map things, ranging from subway trains in real-time to identifying disease outbreaks.”

A professor from Texas State University responded, “People will deal with more differences—new ideas, different people—than today. However, by 2025, the limits will begin to emerge. For example, the standard deviation on the range in personal social networks will start to shrink.”

A leading editor of communication technology textbooks wrote, “There will be widespread grassroots warfare with social control institutions. Advances in technology will make this resistance more effective. As control organizations improve their methods, ways around them will continue to be developed by the activist segment of the population. There will be healthcare delivery through Internet-linked devices, with greater in-home deployment to reduce cost. The failures of Obamacare, Medicaid, and Medicare to be cost-effective in their current forms will force changes of this kind.”

A research scientist responded, “With the proliferation of the Internet, people will have better access to participate in society, and democracy will be either in crisis or in power. That will be the kind of impact the Internet will have on our humanity.”

The publisher for a large scholarly society specializing in digital communication, responded, “I suspect that the Internet we know today will soon seem quaint and oh-so-naive (wasn’t it cute how all those people posted on Facebook every day!), but regarding why, I am at a loss to say. I wish I could imagine it.”

A college professor at Grand Valley State University wrote, “Significant impacts by 2025 include: further distance between the super-wealthy and the impoverished, a further digital divide, increased emotional illness among the ‘wired,’ the undermining of sensitive childrearing, increased image-consciousness egoism and social envy, the further distancing of people from the air/water/earth that they need in order to function, and loss of sensuality and aesthetics associated with skill. The Internet is turning people into machines.”

A retired information science professional responded, “People expect, and rely on, readily available information. People also expect to receive rapid responses when doing business and personal tasks. Globally, this interconnection and interaction can lead to great things. Advances in all of the sciences will grow and be shared. Doctors will help diagnose diseases and suggest protocols for treatment in remote areas of the world. The Internet will help third world countries develop their businesses, health care, and education. Right now in many of these countries, access to information through the Internet is only available through mobile phone usage, but eventually, as the economic and social impact becomes greater, the infrastructure for greater access to the Internet will develop. My favorite example is a story about a group of women in a rural village in Africa who were friends and fellow artisans. They wove fabric for their village and later began selling their fabric to other villages around. One of the ladies had a relative who lived in a city nearby who went to visit and saw that the quality of her village weavers’ fabric was a better quality and possessed unique patterning than what she saw in stores and markets in the city. She met with sellers in the city and struck a deal to sell them fabric. She purchased two cell phones and began her business. There wasn’t electricity in the village, so someone would take one of the phones into the city to be charged and left the second phone in the village. Business was conducted using the phones, and the business grew quickly. The long and short of the tale is that the ladies brought solar cells to generate electricity and then extended their network so that they could power laptops. Apparently, their business has become international, and their small enterprise has morphed into a co-op involving several villages now. That is the kind of impact I envision.”

A college librarian from the Bahamas wrote, “The lowest common denominator wins. Things are being dumbed down and will continue to be. Will people/users really have access to all the information to make the wisest choices—I wonder. Presently, corporations like Amazon allow people to review their products—this is good. The power of choice might go to the people, but that is a double-edged sword.”

A library director from New Jersey responded, “The pervasive presence of the Internet will continue to expand. I have offered some examples in other parts of this survey but haven’t addressed the economic or political processes. I am stumped in trying to imagine what the workforce (and work life) of 2025 will look like or do. My career is both high-tech and high-touch; the human contact is a critical part of success, and I’m not savvy enough to anticipate how that might be replaced. I could imagine that this pervasiveness could greatly expand participation in the political processes to the average American. But do they want that? Less research, less natural curiosity, less original thought—more reliance on “assistance” from devices, AI, and so forth.”

A retired professor of education wrote, “There will be a further deterioration of culture, taste, and values. This kind of survey obtains the opinions of enthusiasts, but mere majority opinion has little value. Our culture is already dumbed down to the lower common denominators.”

A library services association executive director responded, “A negative trend we’re already seeing is that people are compartmenting themselves. For example, they can pick and choose which news source they listen to. So, a liberal can just get news from liberal leaning sources. This can have a serious impact in that people aren’t being exposed to a variety of viewpoints, perspectives, etc. The Internet, if everyone does get high-speed access, can break down barriers and connect people with resources that they would not have access to in their own community.”

A real estate marketing communications specialist responded, “Third-world and developing countries (including those with dictatorships or juntas) becoming completely connected will be a big impact globally, and across the United States’ economy especially. People still have to think critically and come to well thought-out conclusions on their own. We cannot just take the Internet at face value all the time. Credible fact-based, certified sources will need to be present.”

A manager of media and government relations for a large church wrote, “It will inevitably be the preferred way to communicate, to learn, to research, to shop, to bank, and to work.”

A pastor and TEA Party leader predicted, “People will be more connected. However, that will not lead to a greater quality of life. Thirty years ago, we perceived those whose jobs issued them with pocket pagers were very important. In the future, those without cell phones and without pocket pagers will be the really important people.”

A retiree wrote, “It is my hope that the changes in how we can access health care through the technology in 2025, and in education and how we learn, will bring another ‘technology revolution’ such as coming out of the dark ages eventually led us to where we can think today and in the future to 2025.”

A director of regional and rural library services in Australia wrote, “The Internet will significantly change how governments and businesses interact with people, as the organisations adopt Web-based processes and communication. However, by 2025, in Australia, at least, many people will still not have access to decent broadband, and so will be unable to participate in the way that government and business prefers, leading to a loss of civic engagement for the less affluent, less educated, and less powerful.”

A library director active in the Maker movement wrote, “The only bad impact would be if people become more isolated from each other. I do believe strongly that, as the song says, people who need people are the luckiest people in the world. People need human contact, physically and mentally. I hope the explosion of the Internet will not separate us more. The Internet will be a part of everyday life. It will be intuitive, easy to use, and all-pervasive.”

A manager of electronic services for a public facility wrote, “Virtually all of your day-to-day transactions will be done on the Internet. Government will take a greater role in the regulation of connectivity, as they did with the telephone companies. All your government transactions will be done online.”

The executive director of a public information resource responded, “The most significant impact of the Internet is the way in which it serves to equalize knowledge among all people and nations.”

An information science professional at a Texas community college responded, “One of the greatest areas of impact will be in education. With so much information available at very fast speeds, students and teachers will be able to quickly learn, make connections, and synthesize different information. However, the need for critical evaluation of resources, paired with the massive amount of information and misinformation available, means that education will need to shift as well to try to equip students with the appropriate skills and experience to navigate in that type of world. The greatest impact of the Internet will be its ability to bring resources and information to all parts of the world. Global projects (like Loon) that allow more people to connect to the Internet for free or for cheap will fuel more cost-effective technologies that can be owned by anyone, anywhere.”

A writer, website operator, and technical consultant for local and wide area networking wrote, “The Internet will be less and less evident as an entity as it becomes more pervasive. Reliability, accessibility, and security will improve. It will be more of a public utility that is taken for granted. Communication will be turned inside out. Rather than phone companies, cable companies, satellite companies, and such providing access to the Internet, the Internet will be the infrastructure that current ‘providers’ will hang onto.”

An anonymous respondent from Florida said, “I hope the Internet will make people’s lives simpler by making transactions easier. Already, things can be done online that used to require a trip somewhere, like shopping, buying postage, interacting with the government, searching the library catalog, and even downloading library materials. I hope this trend continues so that the Internet makes life easier. The bandwidth will need to be there.”

A librarian for a small private college wrote, “Economically speaking, more and more commerce will be conducted online, even to the point where small neighborhood businesses will have to adopt programs like Seamless, or get left behind. Credit card companies will have to up their security in response to increased use of accounts online, or they will have hell to pay. Socially, education will be the most influenced. Politically, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is an effort to move voting (only speaking for the United States) online, but I suspect there will be too many privacy issues to make it practical. Education will be the most drastically changed element; more and more students will do their lessons and work asynchronously. Those who are unable to self-discipline will be left behind, unfortunately. Hopefully, the lesson types will also diversify to embrace all kinds of learning (kinetic, visual, etc.).”

The manager of a county information-resources system responded, “There will be an alienation of individuals, or at least a new definition of community. Sometimes, I think the term ‘online community’ is just a feel-good effort by disconnected people to claim they are not really isolated. Truly successful communities need deeper knowledge of the membership.”

A librarian shared a quote from Albert Einstein: “It has become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity.”

A digital information specialist for a non-profit organization wrote, “The world will be even smaller by 2025, more interconnected. I don’t think it will be an insane change, but instead a continued, gradual evolution of what we have now.”

An anonymous respondent who teaches technology to those with no access responded, “People will have fewer and fewer physical connections but will develop even stronger online relationships.”

The director of a major local public information resource wrote, “As more is time spent on anything that goes through the Internet, less time is spent face-to-face. It is not a rare sight now to see what I did recently: four young women sitting in a booth at a restaurant, all four of them, heads down, staring into their phones and typing quickly. The perception I had is that there is always something better for them to do and something/someone else more important than where and whom that individual was with in the moment. It can only increase as the options of how we use the Internet increase.”

An anonymous survey participant said, “More use will further isolate people-to-people contact, while increasing only screen-to-screen, etc., contact. The economic impact will continue to change the way we do business, again with less people-to-people contact. Political usage may either be helped or hindered by the ‘now’ of the Internet—there are so many variances in the people of the world. As more people are raised on the Internet, the older ways of people-to-people contact will be lost. There will be no more local community with differences—the Internet will cause all to be the same. It may not occur by 2025, but it will be on track and developing.”

The director of a public information system wrote, “Socially, people will spend less time together in person and more time communicating online. As one person I work with said, ‘Facebook is to women what porn is to teenager boys.’ While somewhat sexist in nature, the comment illuminates that each demographic has their addictive side of the Internet. Future development will lead to new addictions and fewer real-time, in-person interactions between people. On the positive side, improved translation programs will allow people from different cultures to communicate in real-time, and cultural barriers should become less of an issue, hopefully leading to more understanding and less conflict.”

A designer, writer, and Web developer wrote, “The Internet will be so embedded in our life and culture that it will seem invisible and ubiquitous. Our interfaces will be much more seamless and transparent. There will be some very wealthy people/groups who have figured put how to capitalize the transitions to this state. And partly because of that, but mostly because of the nature of electronic information and technology, countries with borders will be less important, or may cease to exist as anything more than infrastructure providers.”

A retired entrepreneur wrote, “It will facilitate a post-racial society in favor of a culturally-based society, where culture/education is more important than skin color. But that may have a devastating impact on laggard minorities.”

An information science professional at a public facility in the US Southwest wrote, “It’s nice to think that there will be more positive impact from the presence of the Internet. I think the Internet will increasingly become a sole source for rallying groups, connecting people, and starting change.”

A graduate school research instructor wrote, “The healthcare field is just starting to use technology and the Internet, and there will be some significant developments here by 2025.”
An online services librarian wrote, “There will be greater invasions of privacy, societal bullying, and a move away from local concerns to global-interest stories.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “The Internet will allow people to wear a ‘second brain’ in the form of devices that can analyze and break down data on the go. People who can afford these luxuries will not have to think for themselves as much as previous generations, while those who already do not think for themselves will indulge their narcissism more easily than ever.”

A youth librarian from Oregon responded, “The Internet will be everywhere, and in some places, it will be strictly controlled, including enforcement of religious law and social/racial/class prejudices that will significantly restrict access to many. Keeping the Internet available to all and preventing global monopoly will be a fight we will all have to accept if we want our online world to remain democratic. We are already beginning to see the greatest impact, and that is complete and fundamental change in how we perceive privacy. Soon, any kind of information about us will be up for collection and easy for companies to access. The challenge will be for us to maintain our ability to access it as well.”

To read full official survey analysis, please click here.

To read credited responses to the report, please click here.