Elon University

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

This page contains only the for-credit 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 for-credit respondents’ written elaborations 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.

Credited responses by those who answered this survey question

Full Link to 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 anonymous responses to the report, please click here.

Following is a large sample including a majority of the responses from survey participants who chose to take credit for their remarks in the survey; some are the longer versions of expert responses that are contained in the official survey report. About half of respondents chose to take credit for their elaboration on the question (anonymous 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?”

danah boyd, a research scientist for Microsoft, responded, “People will continue to connect to people and information, and it will become more seamless and integrated into every aspect of daily life. We’re there in certain populations already, but it will be more widespread in 12 years.”

John Wooten, founder of ConsultED LLC, wrote, “The Internet will become the singular human voice and driver for socio-economic/political changes, in some instances much more powerful and pervasive than military force.”

Anoop Ghanwani, a distinguished engineer at Dell, said, “Most significant impacts of connecting people have already happened. The others are incremental and driven by more precise use of the technology—for example medical consultations, etc. Regulation will always stand in the way of anything significant happening.”

Geoff Arnold, a Cisco principal engineer, predicted, “Over the next 11 years, the major political and social changes will be the result of macroeconomic developments. The Internet will affect the ‘how’ of these changes but will only play a minor role in the ‘what.’”

Vint Cerf, Google vice president and chief Internet evangelist, responded, “There will be increased franchise and information sharing. There will be changes to business models to adapt to the economics of digital communication and storage. We may finally get to Internet voting, but only if we have really strong authentication methods available. Privacy must be improved but transparency about what information is retained about users also has to increase. More business will be born online with a global market from the beginning. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) will become important revenue streams.”

David Weinberger, senior researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, responded, “The impact depends on many imponderables, including whether the Internet gets sold to the access and content providers.”

Barbara Simons, a former president of ACM who worked at IBM and is currently board chair for Verified Voting, wrote, “I expect the Internet to have both good and bad impacts on people’s lives. The Internet currently is a wonderful source of information and an excellent tool for communication. The question is, first, will the same open access to information still exist in 2025 and, second, to what kind of surveillance will Internet users be subjected? It’s difficult to know how the Internet will develop, now that aspects of it have become significantly politicized. I suspect that policy decisions will have at least as much impact on the development of the Internet as technology.”

Jonathan Grudin, principal researcher for Microsoft Research, responded, “The most significant impact of the Internet is that, by making so much activity visible, it exposes the gap between the way we think people behave, the way we think they ought to behave, the laws and regulations and policies and processes and conventions we have developed to guide behavior—and the way they really behave. This is happening in families, in organizations, in communities, and in society more broadly. Adjusting to this will be an unending, difficult task. We often or usually formulate rules knowing they won’t always apply, and ignore inconsequential violations, but now that is more difficult—the violations are visible, selective enforcement is visible, yet formulating more nuanced rules would leave us with little time to do anything else. Exposing violations can be good, when the behavior is reprehensible. Exposing harmless violations can impede efficiency. Behavior observed digitally, without the full context, can be misunderstood. Are we built to function without some illusions that technology strips away? Are we better off and happier when all of our leaders are revealed to have flaws or feet of clay? Human beings are flexible, yet we have some fundamental social and emotional responses; how technology will affect these must be worked out.”

Bob Briscoe, chief researcher in networking and infrastructure for British Telecom, wrote, “The whole point of the way the Internet was designed was to enable innovations that were not conceived of when it was designed. The greatest impacts of the Internet will continue to be the side-effects that tower so high that we do not notice they are continuing to grow far above us: 1) More people will lose their grounding in the realities of life and work, instead considering those aspects of the world amenable to expression as information as if they were the whole world. 2) The scale of the interactions possible over the Internet will tempt more and more people into more interactions than they are capable of sustaining, which on average will continue to lead each interaction to be more superficial. 3) Given there is strong evidence that people are much more willing to commit petty crimes against people and organisations when they have no face-to-face interaction, the increasing proportion of human interactions mediated by the Internet will continue the trend towards less respect and less integrity in our relations.”

David Clark, a senior research scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, noted, “One important trend is the use of networks to hook devices together that communicate without the active participation of people. What is called machine-to-machine, or M2M, is a natural consequence of the increasing computerization of all the devices around us. Today, most of the interactions on the Internet still involve an active person, whether using the Web, using Facebook, or sending message or mail. Devices will more and more have their own patterns of communication, their own ‘social networks’, which they use to share and aggregate information, and undertake automatic control and activation.  More and more, humans will be in a world in which decisions are being made by an active set of cooperating devices. The Internet (and computer-mediated communication in general) will become more pervasive but less explicit and visible. It will, to some extent, blend into the background of all we do. Another important trend will be the increasingly diverse character of the Internet experience in different regions of the world. While the Internet is a force for globalization, it will become increasingly localized.”

Jari Arkko, Internet expert for Ericsson and chair of the Internet Engineering Task Force, wrote, “The loss of distance and place continues to accelerate, as Internet integrates even more deeply into our lives, from everyday objects to everywhere, all the time, real-time communication and media. The world becomes smaller, and physical borders have less significance. Those with ideas and platforms to connect people will continue to grow in importance (in good and bad).”

Randy Kluver, an associate professor of communication at Texas A&M University, responded, “The most neglected aspect of the impact is in the geopolitics of the Internet. There are very few experts focused on this, and yet the rise of digital media promises significant disruption to relations between and among states. Some of the really important dimensions include the development of transnational political actors/movements, the rise of the virtual state, the impact of digital diplomacy efforts, the role of information in undermining state privilege (think Wikileaks), and as noted earlier, the development of cyber-conflict (in both symmetric and asymmetric forms). Although this might not seem to affect the ‘daily life’ of individuals, it promises to significantly impact the relations between states.”

Mike Liebhold, senior researcher and distinguished fellow at the Institute for the Future, wrote, “The Internet is morphing from the global library into the global supercomputer. By 2025, almost every application or service we can imagine will be enhanced by the application of enormous computation enabling wide spread applications of capabilities like mining, inference, recognition, sense-making, rendering modeling as well as proactive contextual computing.”

Andrew Nachison, co-founder of We Media, said, “There will be more communication, more education, more media, more economic activity, more dissent, more entertainment, more convenience, more angst, more inequality and more conflict. Ideas will spread everywhere, but people will continue to clash over beliefs and values. China will inevitably face an uprising—the only question is whether it will be led and managed through a period of transition, like the breakup of The Soviet Union; or if it will be cataclysmic, violent, and destructive.”

Alex Halavais, an associate professor of social and behavioral sciences at Arizona State University, predicted, “The effects on learning will have the most impact, and I suspect these will be mostly for the better. I suspect we will start to see some really extraordinary changes in the way people learn over the next decade that will continue beyond that. Especially in higher education, the current institutional structures are at a breaking point, The Internet is both a large part of the problem and a part of the solution. Already, it is possible to learn in new ways using network resources, and this will continue. The larger change will be in the ways in which this learning is measured and communicated. As the diploma (high school and college) is joined by other forms of accepted credentials, traditional institutions of education will be joined by a range of alternatives. Like other institutions, the degree to which they can support and interact with these new alternatives, rather than compete with them, will determine their success.”

Alan Clark, CEO of a software technology company, and active participant in Internet standards development, responded, “There is increased interest in government’s use of the Internet to monitor citizens—the NSA is the most expert but far from being the most aggressive in this area. There have been moves within the UN’s International Telecommunications Union to try to wrest control of the Internet away from the US, and to foster the development of technology such as DPI [deep packet inspection] that can be used to monitor usage. It is likely that more people will be disadvantaged (arrested, compromised, blackmailed) due to the authorized and unauthorized use of monitored activity data. There will be a large increase in the degree to which things are networked and Internet accessible, however no improvement in people’s awareness of Internet security, which means that hackers will be able to do more damage to more people and services. I’d like to say something positive, however I am concerned that the greatest impact areas will be a reduced level of privacy and security.”

Andrew Chen, associate professor of computer science at Minnesota State University Moorhead (MN), responded, “The Internet is a dangerous place—it spreads vice easily. The Internet is a powerful place—it enables oppressed peoples to gather together and achieve power through a shared voice. The Internet is a seductive place—it provides multiple opportunities for people to ignore the rest of their lives. The Internet is a chimera—it starts out seeming powerful, then it becomes seductive, and then it becomes dangerous. The Internet is the fullest expression of human nature—and how you see it reflects you more than anything else. The Internet has already impacted too much. The seductive aspects are the worst. As people forsake the rest of their lives, it becomes a drain on humanity that transforms humans into just small parts of the Internet, whereas it should be that the Internet is a small part of human life.

Bill Woodcock, executive director for the Packet Clearing House, responded, “By far the largest impact of the Internet is the ability it gives people to inform themselves. In that sense, the most important service on the Internet is Wikipedia, followed by things like eBay and TradeMe, and even Amazon, not for the ability they give people to buy things in low-friction ways (which is also important), but for the ability they give people to see what things cost, and what people think about them. People complain about the Internet making scams possible, but those scams have always been possible; what wasn’t easy before was for people to educate themselves, take advantage of the accumulation of the world’s knowledge, to protect themselves against scams, duplicitous middlemen, bad actors, and faulty products. It’s also important that the Internet facilitates communities of interest, rather than communities of coincidental geographic proximity. People who would in prior generations have assumed themselves to be abnormal now find themselves at the centers of thriving communities. It really takes the bite out of some forms of survival-of-the-fittest, but maybe those are outmoded anyway.”

Tapio Varis, chair in global e-learning for UNESCO, wrote, “The future will bring a creation of global knowledge centres for the benefit of global development and regional and local services in education, healthcare and business. There will be an implementation of a global university system (GUS), utilizing broadband Internet and creating global knowledge centres for multiple services.”

Gary Kreps, director of the Center for Health and Risk Communication at George Mason University, wrote, “There will be greater and easier access to information in the future. Many common tasks will be automated. The channels for communication will be faster, richer, and more vivid in the future. Advances in information technologies will enhance our abilities to conduct business, communicate with others, access education and entertainment, and make informed health decisions.”

Fred Hapgood, a self-employed science and technology writer, wrote, “One significant impact of the Internet will be in allowing the global economy to become a lot more efficient. Some people think that our economies will not grow much in the future, either because we are unlikely to discover technologies with the leveraging power of electricity and networking and the internal combustion engine, or because we not going to find new increases in labor factors like the disemployment and education of agricultural workers and the jump in female participation. In many countries, the working population will actually decline. But it seems obvious that the global economy operates at a tiny fraction of its potential efficiency. Over the next twenty years, the Internet will allow this potential to be tapped, and that will lead to real increases in wealth, regardless of what happens with technology. An example might be crowdfunding or crowdinvesting. These Internet-based innovations make it much cheaper for startups to raise their investment capital. But there are a million examples.”

Dan Lynch, founder of Interop and former director of computing facilities at SRI International, wrote, “The most useful impact is the ability to connect people. From that everything flows.”

Paul Saffo, the managing director of Discern Analytics and consulting associate professor at Stanford, wrote, “The pressures to balkanize the global Internet will continue and create new uncertainties. Governments will become more skilled at blocking access to unwelcome sites.”

Oscar Gandy, an emeritus professor, Annenberg School, University of Pennsylvania, explained, “I’ve certainly been influenced by the futuristic visions of thinkers, like Ray Kurzweil, who underscore the importance of information systems in our lives. At the same time, I have taken note of the rather dramatic changes in the levels of inequality within and between nations. It seems likely to me that the distribution of the benefits and harms that will be generated in part as a function of changes in the network and the systems connected through it are likely to be mal-distributed. The anger, hostility, and resentment that will be generated in response to this inequality seem likely to be expressed in ways that will cause great and lasting harm. We have to think seriously about the kinds of conflicts that will arise in response to the growing inequality enabled and amplified by means of networked transactions that benefit smaller and smaller segments of the global population. Social media will facilitate and amplify the feelings of loss and abuse. They will also facilitate the sharing of examples and instructions about how to challenge, resist, and/or punish what will increasingly come to be seen as unjust. The network infrastructure and key service providers are likely to become targets of actions meant to punish this misbehavior.”

Henning Schulzrinne, a technology developer and professor at Columbia University observed, “Generally, I see the Internet as a 10% solution—i.e., it can make things (very roughly) 10% more efficient or less costly. This is quite helpful in many situations, but is unlikely to reduce income inequality significantly, fundamentally change access to education or reduce carbon dioxide levels dramatically. The largest beneficial impact of networks, not just the Internet, may be in reducing traffic accidents, just as simple aircraft-to-aircraft communications has dramatically reduced the occurrence of mid-air collisions.”

Niels Ole Finnemann, a professor and director of Netlab, DigHumLab Denmark, wrote, “In the 21st century, an increasingly significant part of social, cultural, and political life—public and private—will be articulated in digital genres performed on networked digital media platforms. Internet materials, however, are rapidly changing or disappearing except for those parts, which are archived. These parts are primarily Web archives, because the Web has been the most dominant platform for the public use of the Internet. Archived Web materials will become a significant source of documentation, and such materials will often be the only source available for those who might want to analyze or write the history of contemporary and near past society. This is generally valid. All other issues relate to particular interests whether economical, political or relate to cultural diversity and digital divides. The Internet has become the center of the global communicative infrastructure to which all other institutions, media and citizens have to accommodate. It is likely to stay so, and the Internet will spread into still more areas of life, excerpt that we will see other private and semiprivate networks alongside. The underlying protocols may also be changed, and it is unclear to what extent the Internet will remain open and freely accessible for everybody.”

Bright Simons, president of Psynthax Corporation, wrote, “The Internet’s underlying protocols would have evolved by 2025 towards a more secure framework as more citizens begin to understand the notions of digital rights and assert them fiercely within a more regional perspective. The greatest impact of the Internet would be in its impact on the service industry and the supply-chain for hyper-specialised components for manufacturing. Buying components to augment and prolong the life cycle of durable products will be seen as environmentally sound, economically superior and stylistically smarter. This, coupled with the re-organisation of the service sectors around logistics, transport, nutrition (instead of ‘agric’), well-being (instead of ‘health’), self-improvement (instead of ‘education’) etc. and the ultimate reform of civic institutions and public policy to finally accommodate the new realities, should lead to a generally improved climate for digital innovation.”

Internet pioneer Steve Goldstein wrote, “I have been retired from the National Science Foundation since 2003. In the 1990s, my job description, in a nutshell, was to spread Internet around the world. Gee, it worked! I was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in August 2013. In 1995, a technician at the US Embassy, Manila, forecast that CGI would allow us to talk back to the Web—i.e., fill in order forms. I was incredulous. Well, look at it now. So, there is no way that I would even begin to blue-sky this for 2025.”

Jonathan Sterne, a professor in the department of art history and communication studies at McGill University, responded, “Right now, it is headed toward a highly commercialized, profit-driven, opaque and privatized domain, much like the mass media of the 1980s that net boosters of the 1990s claimed to displace. Its main guardians seem to treat it as an agent of the commercialization of life, and other benefits are at best seen as side effects. The best possible outcome for the Internet would be if its major functions came to be understood as public utilities like water or power, or better, as resources, like clean air. If this were the case, companies would have much more real and material responsibilities to their users, and commercial uses wouldn’t necessarily be privileged over all others. Free public broadband; strong international non-corporate governance; cheap, forward-compatible devices rather than disposable consumer electronics; data-use transparency; and high levels of hackability and interoperability would all need to subtend such an arrangement for the Internet to play any meaningful role in real social, political, economic or environmental progress. Examples of progress include: reduced poverty, illness and hunger; accountable representative governments; slowing down environmental catastrophe; greater range of life chances for people that are not determined by the circumstances of their birth; greater equality across social differences; flourishing cultural diversity and access to different points of view and cultural practices; better public support for education and the arts; greater life-expectancy and quality of life; fewer working hours and higher real average income for households; higher happiness indices. All of these are measurable outcomes.”

Adrian Schofield, manager of applied research for the Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering, wrote, “The Internet will be the core means of creating, analysing, storing, and sharing information in any form that can be digitised. Whether we choose to use it as such, it will enable us to better manage our role on the planet, the resources of our planet and our understanding of the place our planet occupies in the greater universe. Education will be changed. Learning will no longer be dependent on the quality of parents and teachers in person. Scholars and students will have access to the best materials and content available globally.”

Ali Carr-Chellman, head of learning and performance systems at Pennsylvania State University, responded, “We will continue to utilize gaming for social betterment. Gaming will be a way that we see significant improvements in human conditions through competition and even through functional shedding of violent tendencies.”

Isaac Mao, chief architect of Sharism Lab, wrote, “Connectivity will be anywhere and anytime. People will choose it for free and with different levels of choices. New media programs will be designed to target different-scale devices but never be disconnected.”

Jeremy Epstein, senior computer scientist at SRI International, currently working with the National Science Foundation as lead program director for Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace, responded, “Combined with mass media, the Internet will increase the impact of English worldwide, and by doing so, increase Westernization. At the same time, it will increase pushback against perceptions of Westernization, and will make it easier for groups opposed to homogenization to communicate. The influence of the Internet in the Arab Spring (although ultimately unsuccessful) is the harbinger of the future. Countries that cut themselves off (e.g., Cuba, North Korea) or significantly limit speech (e.g., China) will risk putting themselves at significant economic disadvantage. On the other hand, necessity is the mother of invention, and such countries will find significant innovation among their populations to getting around controls. If that innovation can be harnessed, it may help them in the long run.”

Joe Touch, director of the USC/ISI Postel Center, responded, “The Internet will become more of an expected resource and less of a curiosity. The Internet will shift from the place we find cat videos to a background capability that will be a seamless part of how we live our everyday lives. We won’t think about ‘going online’ or ‘looking on the Internet’ for something—we’ll just be online, and just look. Author William Gibson was wrong—there’s no cyberspace; it’s all just ‘space.’ I don’t think you’ll be asking this kind of question in the future. We don’t ask people how electricity or the internal combustion engine will change their lives a decade from now—they’re ubiquitous, seamless parts of everyday life. Arthur Clarke said that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, but that’s just during the start of its adoption. Ultimately, any sufficiently useful technology fades into the background if it’s done right.”

Hong Xue, director of the Institute for Internet Policy of Law at Beijing Normal University, wrote, “People will be living in a 1984-like, transparent world.”

John Markoff, senior writer for the Science section of the New York Times, wrote, “For the vast majority of people, the Internet of 2025 will be an entirely wireless and mobile phenomenon. It will be immersive, and it will have begun to chip away at the boundaries between reality and cyberspace. AIs will be with us by then—they won’t be conscious and self aware, but they will be convincing enough that we won’t know the difference between interacting with other humans electronically and these new cyber creatures. I have no idea what that world will look like in terms of sociological and economic consequences. A simple example: what happens the first time you answer the phone and hear from your mother or a close friend, but it’s actually not, and instead, it’s a piece of malware that is designed to social engineer you. What kind of a world will we have crossed over into? I basically began as an Internet utopian (think John Perry Barlow), but I have since realized that the technical and social forces that have been unleashed by the microprocessor hold out the potential of a very dystopian world that is also profoundly inegalitarian. I often find myself thinking, ‘Who said it would get better?’”

Glenn Edens, research scientist at PARC and IETF area chair in networking, distributed systems and security, wrote, “We have many opportunities to solve significant problems of education, health care, democracy, and promoting freedom throughout the world. At the same time, the Internet is fragmenting into many ‘private Internets’ with different policies and business motivations. It could go either way at this point.”

Tiffany Shlain, creator of the AOL series, The Future Starts Here, and founder of The Webby Awards, responded, “Access to the Internet will be a international human right. The diversity of perspectives from all different parts of the globe tackling some of our biggest problems will lead to breakthroughs we can’t imagine on issues such as poverty, inequality, and the environment. The bad impact is that I worry this emerging global brain will get global ADD. I hope people evolve to understand to take regular breaks from the 24/7, always-on reality we are creating.”

Olivier Crepin-Leblond, managing director of Global Information Highway Ltd. in London, UK, predicted, “The Internet will bring a paradigm shift to every aspect of everybody’s life. This is why we need to be extra careful in maximising positive impacts and minimising negative impacts. Only a multi-stakeholder system of governance will ensure the global public interest is served. The biggest impact of the Internet will be on freedom. In some countries, it will enable freedom. In others, it will kill it by being used as a tool to brainwash populations.”

Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said, “I hope there will be greater openness, more democratic participation, less centralized control, and greater freedom. But there is nothing predetermined about that outcome. Economic and political forces in the United States are pulling in the opposite direction. So, we are left with a central challenge: will the Internet of 2025 be—a network of freedom and opportunity or the infrastructure of social control? In the words of Thomas Edison, ‘What man creates with his hand, he should control with his head.’”

Chris Uwaje, president of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria, wrote, “Building and sustaining a global peace architecture for independence of knowledge as the dynamic platform for the World Knowledge Olympiad: this is what the Cloud should deliver. It should lead to refocusing our world from hate to peace and from Earth to outer space to open up a new frontier for knowledge and world peace through a Global University System (GUS), Global Health System (GHS) and Global Early Warning System for mankind.”

Paul M.A. Baker, associate director, Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) at the Georgia Institute of Technology, predicted, “By 2025, we will continue to see incremental change in the way in which information is changed and used. This relates to enhanced technology interfaces, display, and manipulation of data and social changes in the way we interact with others based on an ubiquitous presence of information and background overlays informing our interactions.”

Justin Reich, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, said, “I will make one education-specific prediction: that the predictions about the transformation of the educational sector will prove far, far overblown. Especially in the K-12 system, schools in 2025 will look an awful lot like schools in 2013.”

Bob Frankston, Internet pioneer and technology innovator, responded, “Once we get past the gatekeeper-based model of funding our ability to communicate, we’ll start to rethink how we create systems. We’ll just assume, for example, that a medical monitor will just work wherever we are and if we show symptoms of a heart attack in the next hour an ambulance will be there to meet us. We’ll continue to define new topologies for social relationships and trust that they are less tied to geography. We’ll also see the rise of metadevices and understandings, some of which is latent in the term big data and Internet of Things—terms that will fade away because reality will be far more interesting. And PEW may start to ask questions that show more understanding.”

Hal Varian, chief economist for Google, wrote, “The biggest impact on the world will be universal access to all human knowledge. The smartest person in the world currently could well be stuck behind a plow in India or China. Enabling that person—and the millions like him or her—will have a profound impact on the development of the human race. Cheap mobile devices will be available worldwide, and educational tools like the Khan Academy will be available to everyone. This will have a huge impact on literacy and numeracy and will lead to a more informed and more educated world population.”

Stowe Boyd, lead researcher for GigaOM Research, said, “The Web will be the single most foundational aspect of people’s lives in 2025. People’s companion devices—the 2025 equivalent of today’s phones and tablets—will be the first thing they touch in the morning and the last thing they put down to sleep. In fact, some people will go so far as to have elements of their devices embedded. The AI-mediated, goggle-channeled social interactions of the near future will be as unlike what we are doing today, as today’s social Web is to what came before. The ephemeralization of work by AI and bots will signal the outer boundary of the industrial age, when we first harnessed the power of steam and electricity to amplify and displace human labor, and now we see that culminating in a possible near-zero workforce. We have already entered the post-normal, where the economics of the late industrial era have turned inside out, where the complexity of interconnected globalism has led to uncertainty of such a degree that it is increasing impossible to find low-risk paths forward, or to even determine if they exist. A new set of principles is needed to operate in the world that the Web made, and we’d better figure them out damn fast. My bet is that the cure is more Web: a more connected world. But one connected in different ways, for different ends, and not as a way to prop up the mistakes and inequities of the past, but instead as a means to answer the key question of the new age we are barreling into: What are people for?”

Jeff Jarvis, director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism, wrote, “You give me no choice but to raise the ghost of Gutenberg and point out that, according to the greatest scholar on the topic, Elizabeth Eisenstein, the impact of the book on society was not fully realized until 100 years after the invention of the press. The book itself did not take on its own shape in form, content, and business model, departing from its scribal roots, until half a century after Gutenberg. The impact of the press—the physical impression of ink on paper—is only now, 600 years later, diminishing.  In the development of the Net and its impact on society, we are at 1472 in Gutenberg years. John Naughton, a columnist for London’s Observer, asks us to imagine the good citizens of Gutenberg’s hometown, Mainz, using Gutenberg’s folly to predict the undermining of the authority of the Catholic Church; the birth of the Reformation and scientific revolution; the transformation of education, changing our sense even of childhood; and, I would add, upheaval in our notion of nations. Today, we wouldn’t know our Martin Luther if he hammered on our door. Consider the change brought by the Web its first twenty years, and now you ask us to predict the next dozen? Sorry.”

David Cohn, director of news for Circa, responded, “Something that will happen between now and 2025 is the ‘screenularity’—it is the moment in time when the television screen and the computer screen become indistinguishable from each other (in a functional sense). The mobile ‘phone’ no longer resembles a phone. That we make calls on it is happenstance. We use it for so many other things and we can also make phone calls on our computers (VoIP). And we have stopped thinking of mobile phones as ‘phones’ but more like mobile devices. A similar shift will happen to the screens in our living rooms. Currently they are ‘televisions’—but that we use them to watch shows will become less defining a characteristic. More here: http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2012/04/how-screenularity-will-destroy-television-as-we-know-it115/ “

Christopher Wilkinson, a retired European Union official, board member for EURid.eu, and Internet Society leader said, “The multilingual Internet will be an impacting force, along with the survival of the multistakeholder model, particularly with respect to the voice of the users and civil society. Informed governmental oversight, protecting the open Internet and innovation will also be a factor. Most of what will happen between now and 2025 has already happened somewhere. The question is how long will it take for best (and worst) practice to diffuse from the leading 10% to the active 80%.”

Bob Hinden, chair of Check Point Software and chair of the Board of Trustees of the Internet Society, responded, “There will be more impact on everyone’s lives around the world. Everyone on the planet will be using the Internet and vastly more things will be attached. Everything!”

Marti Hearst, a professor at the University of California-Berkeley, wrote, “Let’s start with what it’s biggest impacts are today: intellectual (accessing and sharing information of all kinds); economic (buying, selling, and information about same); entertainment (music, video, sports); social (connecting with others); scientific (data sharing, increased productivity); and to some extent supporting democracy and government. In future these will continue and will become even more pronounced. The question is: Will something significantly new and different become dominant? More-realistic telepresence will become a major force. Additionally, remote healthcare, such as remote surgery, will likely become more common. Internet access to the wider world’s population should happen by 2025, although the technology probably will not be physical wires. More generally, the technology itself will probably differ radically from the current fiber optics and other cables, and be less reliant on a few huge cables to transfer information between continents.”

Mike Roberts, Internet pioneer and longtime leader with ICANN and the Internet Society, responded, “Many of us are melancholy about the mess in Washington, which leads to reflections on the primitive state of human affairs. The gap between the best human performance—in any field—and the average seems to be widening. We desperately need social and political mechanisms that will accelerate the transmission of knowledge and technique to everyone. Addressing these challenges, we’ve come a long way with the Internet since the heady days of the mid-1980s in DC, but still have such a long way to go! I suppose if you want to hold me to a short list, the two biggest impacts are creating instantaneous global marketplaces that have materially improved daily lives and creating global social interaction mechanisms that are reaching across cultural, political and religious barriers to improve human relations. This additional one is easy, if not encouraging to purists: Measured by the greatest use by the greatest number, the winner is: entertainment—i.e., conventional TV will fall by the wayside, and so forth.”

Jim Hendler, a professor of Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, wrote,  “Three forces will continue to interact, weaving a braid that will be evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. These are the increasing ease of sharing information (and the threat that makes to privacy); the increasing needs of business, and desires of individuals, to interact with people outside ones own physical locale; and the increasing change in the use of AI/robotics in the workplace displacing more and more workers. 2025 will be around the time that the intersections of these, and other forces, will be starting to cause major changes in where people live, what they do with their time (and what work is), and how they interact beyond the local situation. It won’t look all that different from today, but major forces will be starting to well. The biggest change in the next decade will be in the area of privacy—the current model of what it means, and the laws and rules that govern it are all under constant change. We will see an evolving model of what personal information is, who owns it, and how it is controlled as a major change agent in the next decade. Notions of privacy are very culturally dependent, and as ‘Internet culture,’ rather than cultures driven by place, evolve, we will see a new generation starting to seriously rethink what is and isn’t, important with respect to the control of their own information and image.”

Paul Jones, a professor at the University of North Carolina and founder of ibiblio.org, responded, “By far the most significant impact of the Internet is our increased and sustained global connectivity and awareness. Television let us see the Global Village, but the Internet let us be actual Villagers—knowing people in disaster areas, trading tips on things as mundane as cooking, music and pets, preparing us to know each other as villagers do. Before, friends came and went, but now, if we choose, friendships can be kept living and lively although physically distant. For a long time, we’ve all touted Moore’s Law about faster processing and Metcalfe’s Law about meshed connectivity, but the real impact of the Internet is better explained by David Reed’s Law the assertion of David P. Reed that the utility of large networks, particularly social networks, can scale exponentially with the size of the network, or, as Reed himself says, ‘Even Metcalfe’s law understates the value created by a group-forming network as it grows. Let’s say you have a GFN with n members. If you add up all the potential two-person groups, three-person groups, and so on that those members could form, the number of possible groups equals 2n. So the value of a GFN increases exponentially, in proportion to 2n. I call that Reed’s Law. And its implications are profound.’ In other words, our social connectivity, the fabric we weave with lessening communications obstacles, is our mission and our future.”

Tim Bray, an active participant in the IETF and technology industry veteran, wrote, “There will be greater access to information in general, in particular Wikipedia, and lower friction in human communication. The cultural impact of Wikipedia is underestimated. Everyone now has instant free access to a huge repository of basic factual information about everything. I expect the miasma of myth and ignorance and conspiracy theory to recede to dark corners of the discourse of civilization, where nice people don’t go. The change in the emotional landscape conferred by people being able to communicate very cheaply irrespective of geography is still only dimly understood.”

Andrew Bridges, partner and Internet law litigator/counselor/policy analyst at Fenwick & West LLP, responded, “Acceleration of delivery and processing of all types of information will continue, with more real-time processing that does not require human attention, creating global thinking machines of extraordinary complexity. It will continue to accelerate the gap between the haves and the have-nots even as billions more persons become connected. The potential for pervasive government surveillance and control will be the most significant overall impact of our uses of the Internet. The Internet will facilitate the fundamental threat of governmental control—the threats to free speech, free association and assembly resulting from governmental surveillance and control; the loss of any sense of a private sphere of conduct as a result, with psychological, social, and political consequences; and the division of citizen bodies into the watchers and the watched. It will happen because of the power of governments to hide their actions while exposing the actions of all others to their own scrutiny; the abandonment of the rule of law, which should but will not apply impartially to all sectors of society, politics, and the economy; and the willing sacrifice of Constitutional values by those who unpatriotically value their own short-term physical security over our long-term bedrock political principles.”

Rob Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, responded, “The biggest impact will be the hundreds of millions of people who become Internet users between now and 2025. The other big impact will be the ability to harness and analyze data—i.e., data innovation—to develop new actionable insights. However, overall, the rate of Internet innovation of the next decade will likely be slower than the rate of Internet innovation of the past decade.”

Ian Peter, pioneer Internet activist and Internet rights advocate, wrote, “There is some significant literature now on the effects of automation on learning. We are likely to become reliant on Internet in several areas so that, should a breakdown occur, we will not know how to do common tasks that we used to do without computer automated assistance. In cases such as travel (we may have forgotten how to drive cars safely) this could cause significant problems. The Internet will fragment. Global connectivity will continue to exist, but through a series of separate channels controlled by a series of separate protocols. Our use of separate channels for separate applications will be necessitated by security problems, cyber policy of nations and corporations, and our continued attempts to find better ways to do things.”
Author David Brin wrote, “There will be many Internets. Mesh networks will self-form and we’ll deputize sub-selves to dwell in many places.”

Jerry Michalski, founder of REX, the Relationship Economy eXpedition, wrote, “The Internet gives us Persistence—the ability to leave things for one another in Cyberspace, freely. This is a big deal we haven’t yet comprehended. Right now, we are obsessed with flow, with the immediate, with the evanescent. Persistence lets us collaborate for the long term, which is what we’ll slowly learn to do. Plenty of forces could take us off this path, from privacy freak-outs to the victory of consumer mass marketing. Yet, I’m optimistic that we’ll begin to sort things out together, sharing what we’ve figured out and designing things that are more and more useful for humanity. We will begin to design institutions from a basis of trust of the average person, instead of mistrust, the way we’ve been designing for a few centuries. This will let us build very different institutions for learning, culture, creativity and more.”

Fred Baker, Internet pioneer and Cisco Systems Fellow, responded, “A century ago, one might have asked a similar question about the impact of the telephone, and two centuries back, about advances in sail and steam locomotion. I see no reason to believe that the Internet will not be a primary communication vehicle in 2025, in its prime. The issues in security and privacy will have been improved in important ways, but will remain threats, primarily because human nature will not have changed, and there is always a percentage of people who seek to harm others.”

Robert Cannon, Internet law and policy expert, wrote, “The greatest challenges, I think, will be labor and employment. The Internet, automation, and robotics will disrupt the economy as we know it. How will we provide for the humans who can no longer earn money through labor? The opportunities are simply tremendous. Information, the ability to understand that information, and the ability to act on that information will be available ubiquitously. Washer broken? Here are instructions on how to fix it and the diagrams for your 3D printer (and instructions for your house robot on how to do the work). Want to take care of normal household legal matters, wills, real estate, and so on? Automated. Want to travel? Advances in technology will make travel extremely affordable with new materials and fuels. Want to learn to dance? Here’s how to do it: a hologram will show you in 3D, and you can be connected to your local community that has the same interests. Or we could become a brave new world were the government (or corporate power) knows everything about everyone everywhere and every move can be foreseen, and society is taken over by the elite with control of the technology. The world that our children will grow up in and have families in will be entirely different than ours. We are teaching them how to grow up in our world and not preparing them for the future they are about to meet. Most of what we perceive will be disrupted—and we old folk will be obsolete. The good news is that the technology that promises to turn our world on its head is also the technology with which we can build our new world. It offers an unbridled ability to collaborate, share, and interact. ‘The best way to predict the future is to invent it.’ It is a very good time to start inventing the future.”

Brian Behlendorf, Internet pioneer and board member of several non-profits and for-profits, wrote, “By 2025, it will become more apparent that personal digital devices have become the uncredited third lobe of our brain, and network connections more like an extension of our own nervous system, a new sense, like seeing and hearing. Questions about our rights over our own devices and connections will treat them more like parts of our bodies and beings than some third party thing that is a privilege to own or something we merely rent. It will force us to redefine what being human means—and what personhood means, in terms of the law, representative government, and every other issue.”

Stewart Baker, a partner at Steptoe & Johnson, a Washington law firm, wrote, “The Internet will bring us all much more intimately into contact with the world’s knowledge—and its criminals. In the long run, criminal activity will swamp us if we do not find a better way to identify and then punish antisocial action on the Internet. The Chinese will realize this first, because doing so does not challenge their ideology the way it challenges ours. But some time close to 2025, we’ll give up on anonymity and begin building attribution into the fabric of the Web.”

Raymond Plzak, former CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers, and current member of the Board of Directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, wrote, “It will continue to have an impact in the way people live that is to a certain extent unpredictable just as previous technological ‘revolutions’ have been. One can foresee a way of living that is based upon the way people perceive the future today based upon their current experiences and environment. What is important is to keep the three sciences in balance: physical science, biological science, and social science. When they get out of balance the areas of concern of the other two suffer. The consequences in some cases can be catastrophic. The greatest impact that the Internet continues to have is that the three sciences and their accompanying disciplines have not learned how to manage and control the communications infrastructure that is the Internet.”

Tom Standage, digital editor for The Economist, wrote, “We will see augmented reality as the new interface for information. Overlaying it on the real world will come to be seen as an enormous shift; historically, there will be a period before and after the advent of the ‘aug,’ as some sci-fi writers call it. In retrospect, telephony and smartphones and social media and Wikipedia will be seen as mere steps towards this larger goal.”

JP Rangaswami, chief scientist for Salesforce.com, wrote, “The problems that humanity now faces are problems that can’t be contained by political borders or economic systems. Traditional structures of government and governance are therefore ill-equipped to create the sensors, the flows, the ability to recognise patterns, the ability to identify root causes, the ability to act on the insights gained, the ability to do any or all of this at speed, while working collaboratively across borders and time zones and sociopolitical systems and cultures. From climate change to disease control, from water conservation to nutrition, from the resolution of immune-system-weakness conditions to solving the growing obesity problem, the answer lies in what the Internet will be in decades to come. By 2025, we will have a good idea of its foundations. Society as a whole, in government, in the public sector, in the private sector, in the voluntary sector, in academia, in NGOs, and as the common man and woman, will come to recognise that behind the Internet is a connected world of people. People who route round obstacles to solve problems in ways that people could not before. With that realisation, we will see people elect to solve problems that have hitherto been the domain of interminable conferences and committees who, for no fault of their own bar their very architecture, could not make any real impact.”

Jason Pontin, editor in chief and Publisher of MIT Technology Review, responded, “The most significant impact of the Internet by 2025 will be that it will force the reform of the party-rule Communist Party of China. I hesitate to say that China will not be ruled by the CCP in 2025; but the CCP will be a more democratic, transparent, and modern party if it is the ruling party. And those changes will be forced by the antiseptic powers of information transfer.”

Pamela Rutledge, PhD and director of the Media Psychology Research Center, responded, “The Internet will continue to shift control of information flow from the producers to the users. This change creates a new psychology—an increasing sense of agency and the right to find, to know, and to be heard. This change challenges institutional and organizational structures that are built on hierarchies and top-down control. People have already been complaining that Millennials are hard to hire and manage because they expect to have their opinions heard. By 2025, this generation will be coming of age and will demand to see a logic and transparency, which will create a severe challenge to ineffective government systems, the cost and delivery of education, and how we think about job creation. By 2025, Internet access will be considered a right and will replace the ‘universal access’ currently reserved for phone lines. Increased access and greater capabilities will change the digital divide from access to quality of tools and the skills required for digital participation.”

John E. Savage, the An Wang Chair in Computer Science at Brown University and a fellow of the IEEE, the ACM, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, wrote, “High-speed global communications, embodied largely in the Internet, and rapid air travel have reduced distances and exposed the citizens of the world to developments all over the planet. Gradually, we are coming to realize that we are one interdependent people. For example, pollution in one country negatively impacts another. In this climate, the Westphalian concept of sovereignty is weakening. Nations are recognizing that they cannot act independently and do have responsibilities to other nations. Also, models of national governance are being challenged by the highly successful but diffuse participatory nature of Internet governance as it has been practiced up to this point. Young people who have been exposed to this culture find it attractive and would like to see local politics handled the same way. At the same time, the responsiveness, ease of use, and low cost of Internet connectivity has enticed governments, industry and individuals to become dependent upon it. This has increased the fragility of critical infrastructures and economies. The unanticipated consequences of this purposive activity need to be studied and steps taken to reduce the risk of unwanted calamities. The Internet needs to be studied as a medium. It deserves the kind of treatment that Marshall McLuhan gave to modern communications during its infancy. Nations around the world need to understand its potential and its pitfalls so that we can collectively improve our cultures and economies while avoiding unnecessary disagreements and conflicts. For example, we are all very much aware that modernization is creating great stresses in nations that have lived by a religious code that is at odds with the prevailing cultures in other nations. These stresses need to be understood and, if possible, mediated so that nations can learn to respect differences in their cultures while not insisting that all adhere to one culture.”

Jim Kennedy, senior vice president for strategy for the Associated Press, responded, “Never being without a direct, immediate connection to information and other human beings will be the great boon of the advanced Internet age. Every sensory or intellectual experience that we know today could be extended to some degree. The great risk is that we will fail to harness that power in ways that are more useful than useless and more beneficial to our world than harmful. Enabling the flow of information to be constant and contextual at the same time will unleash opportunity in almost every realm of our experience. For news, it will mean never being out of touch, being able to participate as never before and understanding what it all means to you, faster and better than you can today. Why will it happen? You only have to look at the rapid adoption of everything from search to sharing to mobile to get a sense of the fast track we are on to the future information age.”

Mícheál Ó Foghlú, CTO of FeedHenry, wrote, “The Internet will continue to impact by standardising inter-machine communications protocols, removing areas where proprietary protocols currently exist. Telcos will be further undermined by a move to IP. Home security will standardise on IP. Home automation will standardise on IP. IPv6 will start to gain traction, as the Internet of Things drives the need for a larger address space. (If it doesn’t use IPv4 or IPv6 or some successor then it isn’t really the Internet). The main impact drives up from the bottom by making is cheaper to produce solutions comprising hardware and software that communicate in a network. A post-PC world will emerge where the majority users use touch screen tablet and phone devices rather than desktop or laptop computers. These devices will communicate with services using TCP/IP protocols. The Web will continue to be the most effective cross-platform technology for these services, with HTML5 and JavaScript gaining further traction in the developer community.”

Bambi Francisco, CEO and entrepreneur with Vator, said, “If we look back at the last 10 years, the Internet has essentially allowed information to be distributed without restriction. The impact has been a greater level of social equity and the empowerment of individuals, including those marginalized and in the minority. If we look toward the next 10 years, we will likely see the same, but more pronounced in different parts of the world.”

Garland McCoy, president and founder of the Technology Education Institute, said, “Where corrupt leaders can use this technology for evil they will do so, but for most humans the Internet will be a glass much more than half full.”

Jillian C. York, director for international freedom of expression for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, responded, “The most significant impact of the Internet on humanity will be its enabling effect for global communication, business, and travel. The most fascinating and greatest impact of the Internet is on people’s ability to organize and communicate across borders. We’re seeing the strong development of cross-cultural ‘affinity’ communities community based around political, social, and cultural beliefs, rather than national and religious ones, and this, as well as the Internet’s enabling effect on political organizing, will have a major impact on global political systems.”

Evan Michelson, a researcher exploring the societal and policy implications of emerging technologies, wrote, “The biggest impact of the Internet is that will no longer allow for reasoned consideration of complex social challenges. What the Internet will do is make it more difficult to contemplate the longer-term implications of decisions made today. The future will, unfortunately, suffer in service of the present.”

Richard Forno, director of the UMBC Graduate Cybersecurity Program and affiliate at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, wrote, “The continued benefit of the Internet in fostering global, transborder, and deeply resilient communication and information flows likely will remain the Internet’s dominant impact on the world. It can, and likely will continue, fostering (or forcing!) transparency and/or public discussion about the centers of social authority—i.e., governments and corporations—and help equalise both the level and quality of shared human knowledge. I do worry that increasing concern about Internet control, privacy, and surveillance may lead to the much-feared ‘Balkanization’ of the Internet along regional or national boundaries, thus fracturing the global Internet and its benefits, thereby making it easier for information and interaction to be censored, constrained, or controlled by the traditional centers of social authority.”

Judith Donath, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, responded, “Enormous amounts of information about people will be available online. Not necessarily publicly, but within broad circles of connection. We will expect to see a detailed data history: years of photographs, comments, postings, assessments by others, etc. We’ll have a picture of how someone has spent their time, the depth of their commitment to their hobbies, causes, friends, and family. This will change how we think about people, how we establish trust, how we negotiate change, failure, and success.”

Andrew K. Przybylski, University of Oxford research fellow, wrote, “User-focused government services will have the largest positive impact on life online in the middle of the next decade. This could empower civic participation on the local, state, and national levels and help people understand and take advantage of the positive aspects of government. I am hopeful that augmented intelligences may also help people to fact-check for everyday issues and challenges. This would really empower people in general.”

Brough Turner, founder and CTO of netBlazr Inc., wrote, “Like the advent of printing, the Internet provides an enormous increase in communications between people across both space and time. And like the advent of mobile phones, this form of communications is extending to every corner of the earth and, by 2025, to 7+ billion people. Individual nations and cultures will move forward by fits and starts, but overall we should see a vast increase in innovation, substantial and accelerating economic progress (e.g. increase per capita GDP across the majority of the developing world), and at least some significant increases in individual freedom. The most significant impact is likely to be on education. Exactly how this plays out is the subject of extended worry and debate in academic circles, but it seems clear education is ripe for revolution and the Internet makes that possible, even inevitable. Giving 7-plus billion people access to information and education on any and all possible topics will trigger the biggest revolution since the Renaissance.”

Jefsey Morfin wrote, “The most significant impacts of the Internet will come from its disappearance—i.e., that it has become so common and neutral that no one will think about it as something special, as we think of the streets and roads or electricity. The Internet as we know it—i.e., a TCP/IP network of network—should only be the neutral and ubiquitous value-added data bandwidth, over the basic electrical bandwidth, to support the intelligent extended services bandwidth (interintellition) for intercomprehension. This will be a very long story that we engaged 4000 years ago—it will be to teach the networked machines the human universal context and thoughts, so they may be able to perform. This means that the real industry is with personal and relational space metadata referential frameworks and systems.”

Bryan Alexander, senior fellow at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education, wrote, “2025 will bring a new era of storytelling. People will have more ways to make and share stories than ever before. New forms will appear, from digital storytelling to gaming. It will be a golden age of learning. It will be the best time in history for those who want to study. We will have more access to more material, more teachers, and more peers in more ways than ever before. It will bring a new age of work, as we face growing underemployment and unemployment due to automation. We will need to be rethinking what old models mean, like careers, meaningful work, and avocations. It will be a world more integrated than ever before. We will see more planetary friendships, rivalries, romances, work teams, study groups, and collaborations.”

Ed Lyell, a professor of business and economics and technology consultant, wrote, “Direct democracy has the potential to overcome the oppressive gridlock of US government. A congress and local governments controlled by the rich and powerful have made representative government a negative force. Corporations have become more powerful than government at all levels. They focus on their own profit-making objectives and have managed to reduce or eliminate government oversight that used to limit their ability to exploit consumers, employees, and others. We are in a lose-lose game that is driving all business to exploitation of the masses for the gain of the few. Perhaps individuals linked up to one another will create the countervailing force necessary to fix this. Linking more people, beyond boundaries of geography, age, religion and skill sets has the potential to enhance the quality of life for the masses. Historically, the control of information has always empowered only those at the top. Perhaps we can reverse this with people-to-people connections, as the Arab Spring demonstrated when people could work around negative governments.”

Brad Berens, a research fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future, wrote, “Barring a catastrophic event, by 2025, we’ll see a new commitment to personal, social, commercial, and political balance, both enabled by and in reaction to the Internet. The Internet’s greatest strength is its ability to remove friction of all sorts, both negative business friction but also positive interpersonal friction. (Just think about your first slow dance.) Today, we have families ignoring each other at the dinner table as each member looks at his or her own screen, but at the same time a growing concern for our health has led to a rapid decrease in smoking, drinking soda, eating junk food and an increase in exercise. By 2025 we’ll start to see more commitment to intellectual, digital and interpersonal wellness.”

Josh Calder, a futurist with the Foresight Alliance, responded, “Globally, the biggest change will be a vast increase in available information to people coming online in the developing world, enabled by essentially universal mobile phones, which will be shifting strongly to smart phones from 2013 to 2025. This information access will have mostly positive economic, political, and social impacts.”

Jim Harper, director of information policy studies for The Cato Institute, responded, “Though the last two decades provide contrary evidence, I still believe the Internet will revitalize democracy. More and more, governments will take their place as servants of the people, and the people will take their place as overseers of government. Right now, it’s the other way around, and that’s very bad.”

Author and speaker Marc Prensky, noted, “The Internet changes everything. We are all just learning to all become active world network nodes, and we are at the very, very beginnings of this. Facebook, with its billion users, is the world’s first major experiment in learning to do this: trivial today, perhaps, but incredibly powerful tomorrow. The best prediction one can make at this point is that things will change dramatically. The best attitude to maintain going forward is to stay open to being surprised, to not be too quick to judge, and to be adaptable to doing both new things and old things in very new ways. The biggest impact will come from something we don’t currently foresee. Stay alert!”

Larry Gell, director-general of the International Agency for Economic Development, wrote, “There are plenty of little examples, like a citizens Early Warning System of trouble or war buildups. Maybe the United Nations can finally do some meaningful work in countries instead of spending vast amounts on staff and repetitive annual meetings ‘talking’ about the global problems over and over again. The sharing of collaborative brain power worldwide could solve some of our unsolved problems.”

Mikey O’Connor, an elected representative to ICANN’s GNSO Council, representing the ISP and Connectivity Provider Constituency, wrote, “The Internet will be used as the most effective force of mind control the planet has ever seen, leaving the Madison Avenue revolution as a piddling, small thing by comparison.”

Zach Braiker, CEO, refine+focus strategy and consulting, said, “I envision complete, seemly integration between devices, experiences, location, and even moods—total personalization of routine and an increase intuitiveness from the services we use to cater to our experiences.”

Micha Benoliel, CEO co-founder of Open Garden, responded, “In 2025, access to the Internet will have transformed the economic shape of the planet, enabling every human being to have access to global knowledge and economic exchange. Mobile smartphones, which are wireless, connected computers and routers, will be accessible to all, as their costs are getting marginal. Corporations will be offering free smartphones, and free connectivity makes mobile Internet and access to knowledge ubiquitous.”

Kevin Jones, convener of the Social Capital Markets conference and founder of Good Capital, wrote, “The Internet will enable us to manage a post-peak oil, ongoing climate change future, so we can better manage shared and pooled resources. This is, once again a technology-focused question, without any assumptions about whether we either solve our problems together using these tools or exist in warring siloed bunkers of the haves and have-nots. The survey lacks sufficient anthropological emphasis.”

Dave Kissoondoyal, CEO of KMP Global Ltd. and an active member in Internet governance organizations, wrote, “As the Internet has evolved to what it is today, it has been thanks to the technical community, which has been working hard to make it happen. The Internet has also been through the influence of the supply and demand process, where there has been the involvement of the private sector. Governments and International organisations have started to get involved, where it concerns the Governance of the Internet and Civil Societies, where rights, privacy, and security is concerned. The Internet will continue to be evolving, but this time, there will be a common influence of all the multi-stakeholders. This Internet will have an impact on the social, economic, and political processes. The greatest impact on the Internet will be the safeguards for the privacy rights, security of individual data, and cyber security. After the Snowden case, there will be influence from governments to tackle the above.”

William Schrader, co-founder and CEO of PSINet, the first commercial ISP, said, “The Internet will help everyone understand, without government or the wealthy interfering with transmission, the challenges facing mankind. Global warming is real, and the Internet will help to reverse it. At least some low coastal lands will be under seawater by 2025. The Internet will publish these harsh realities as people lose their homes, history, and, for some, their lives. Only when the people demand it will the governments make the right decisions to reduce the world’s carbon footprint and reverse the global warming disaster we face this century. Warfare will be further reduced by continued Internet growth. The benefits of war have always been related to politics—to pull a population together using fear and back some leadership team’s efforts to accomplish their personal goals, whether to take over the oil supply of Iran, move the border of a country to include a nearby island owned by another country, or something else. The only justifiable war is one of defense fought to defend the country’s right to survive. The problem in times before the Internet was the government could easily manipulate the news that went out to its population—lies and secrets. Now, the Internet tells everything about the government’s manipulations, even if it is considered illegal to do so (witness Edward Snowden’s actions). The end result will be fewer and smaller military conflicts, all of which will violate that truly great poem and song by Gil Scott-Heron, because inverse will become true: ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ by the Internet. Globalization will be supported by the Internet. Governments’ attempt to isolate themselves and their populations from the influence of global economic impact will be stopped by the Internet. Protectionists will be overpowered in politics and in economic debate from realists. There is no place to hide on the planet once the Internet is everywhere. This means a device made in a foreign country will be made available in all countries, eventually. Finally, the driving motive of one of actor Robert Redford’s poignant films, Sneakers, will be almost achieved worldwide in that there will be ‘No More Secrets’ possible by any government for very long. The world might almost be a pleasant place to exist. Stop global warming. Reduce war. Increase globalization.”

George Lessard, information curator and media specialist for MediaMentor, wrote, “The most significant impact of the Internet is its impact on the dissemination of knowledge and information. We have only seen the smallest real impact of this process. It is greater than the invention of the university, the printing press, and the electronic media. The battle between those who wish to control it and those who wish to have it as open as possible has only just begun and will intensify for many years. The only way that the Internet can continue to have an ongoing and significant impact is if there is a worldwide recognition of the individual’s access to and use of the Internet as part of one’s basic human right to communicate. Access to and use of the Internet as a basic human right (or not) will be the biggest change to human society.”

Lee McKnight, a professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at the iSchool at Syracuse University, wrote, “The Internet economy is already the core of the world economy. There are no unaffected corners of the globe. When ‘selfie’ is the word of the year, you know it is game over. Whether that is seen as good or bad in 2025 depends upon one’s point of view. Political and social movements between now and 2025 will all have a social media strategy. Advertising and marketing similarly will work with social media, or not succeed. I expect there will be some collective mental breakthrough as the public begins to understand that we are all part of a dynamic digital ecosystem. There will be discomfort and anxiety about the ‘Borg’ or machines taking over, or the realization that you should be paranoid, because everything you do and touch and say—in viewing and listening range of a thing or device—can/is being monitored. (Please let’s stop using that ‘surveillance’ word, it is too creepy.) When there will be an abortive ‘war against the machines’ or a new social movement for off-grid living, I can’t see precisely in my crystal ball, but looks like 2020 is a safe bet to be a time when counter-forces could be pushing back against the smart machines. Especially if economic cycles and technical change lead to labor force disruptions and further social spreads between the information-rich, the really-rich, and those divided from all that except from what they see in their minds (assuming very embedded systems).”

David Hughes, an Internet pioneer, who from 1972 worked in individual to/from digital telecommunications, responded, “All 7-plus billion humans on this planet will sooner or later be ‘connected’ to each other and fixed destinations, via the Uber(not inter)Net.  That can lead to the diminished power over people’s lives within nation-states. When every person on this planet can reach, and communicate two-way, with every other person on this planet, the power of nation-states to control every human inside its geographic boundaries may start to diminish. Being replaced—over another 50 or more years—by self-organizing, trans-border people-groups. Nations will still have military and police forces, but increasingly these will become less capable of controlling populations. This assumes, of course, that no entity will detonate large nuclear devices capable of destroying large populations or cause global deadly irradiation.”

Patrick Tucker, author of The Naked Future: What Happens In a World That Anticipates Your Every Move? wrote, “By 2025, the data that we create through our every action will help us live safer (more freely), learn better, and even be better friends and lovers. When the cost of collecting information on virtually every interaction falls to zero, the insights that we gain from our activity, in the context of the activity of others, will fundamentally change the way we relate to one another, to institutions, and with the future itself. We will become far more knowledgeable about the consequences of our actions; we will edit our behavior more quickly and intelligently, both individually and collectively.”

Kalev Leetaru, a Yahoo Fellow at Georgetown University, wrote, “The greatest impacts will come from the use of all of the data exhaust of people’s daily lives, as they become more intertwined with the digital heartbeat as a way of rendering society increasingly computable.”

Deborah Lupton, a research professor on the faculty at the University of Canberra, Australia, responded, “Big data and predictive analytics will continue to have a major role in structuring people’s knowledge about themselves and others’ knowledge of them. While big data offer some benefits in terms of producing certain types of information about individuals and populations, there are major concerns about the use of predictive analytics to restrict the access of some individuals to social services, opportunities to travel to different countries, access insurance, gain entry to certain universities and to fields of employment, and so on. The potential for exacerbating discrimination and marginalisation of already disadvantaged groups is great. We need to continue to cast a critical eye on the practices and claims of big data. Not only do we need more data scientists, as some are contending, we need more social scientists and philosophers and even artists to challenge and provoke big data claims and practices. As the dominance of the use of big data increases, we need to expose its weaknesses and biases.”

Riel Miller, the head of foresight for UNESCO, based in Paris, responded, “Like laws, markets, libraries, behavioral norms—all attributes of living in a community—the Net will just be part of daily life. This isn’t a prediction: many things could happen to produce different outcomes, but if we try to imagine a different kind of world in 2025, this is one way of imagining how it could function.”

Nishant Shah, visiting professor at the Centre for Digital Cultures at Leuphana University, Germany, wrote, “It is going to systemically change our understandings of being human, being social, and being political. It is not merely a tool of enforcing existing systems; it is a structural change in the systems that we are used to. And this means that we are truly going through a paradigm shift—which is celebratory for what it brings, but it also produces great precariousness because existing structures lose meaning and valence, and hence, a new world order needs to be produced in order to accommodate for these new modes of being and operation. The greatest impact of the Internet is what we are already witnessing, but it is going to accelerate. It is going to fundamentally change the way in which we think of being human and the ways in which we dislocate our sense of self from the body. The distancing between the two is going to define the new realms of emotionality, sociality, governance, and production in new and unprecedented ways.”

Sophia Bekele of DotConnectAfrica responded, “The Internet is self-generating as well as rejuvenating. Its increasing importance in daily interactions makes it close to a basic need. It has shifted to being an enabling platform where everything else thrives. Academia, commerce, health, science, and all other facets are continually dependent on this resource. Issues and concerns that have to now be properly governed include privacy, digital gap reduction, green technology, digital waste management, and data proliferation.”

Sonigitu Asibong Ekpe, a consultant with the AgeCare Foundation, a non-profit organization, wrote, “Web-accessible mobile devices have proliferated in Africa, where text messaging and social networking are giving low-income residents more opportunities to watch their governments. Increased transparency and accountability, such as improving public access to spending on expensive infrastructure projects, could help reduce corruption and poverty. The most significant impact of the Internet is getting us to imagine different paths that the future may take. These paths help us to be better prepared for long-term contingencies; by identifying key indicators, and amplifying signals of change, they help us ensure that our decisions along the way are flexible enough to accommodate change. Just as the architects of the ARPANET never anticipated the Internet of today, it is equally hard for us to predict the Internet’s evolution—its future and its impact. ¬That billions more people are poised to come online in the emerging economies seems certain. Yet much remains uncertain: from who will have access, how, when, and at what price to the Internet’s role as an engine for innovation and the creation of commercial, social, and human value. As users, industry players, and policymakers, the interplay of decisions that we make today and in the near future will determine the evolution of the Internet and the shape it takes by 2025, in both intended and unintended ways. Regardless of how the future unfolds, the Internet will evolve in ways we can only begin to imagine. By allowing ourselves to explore and rehearse divergent and plausible futures for the Internet, not only do we and ourselves more prepared for any future, we can also help shape it for the better.”

Rui Correa, director of Netday Namibia, a non-profit supporting information and communications technologies for education and development innovations, wrote, “There will be improved access to information resources, where such opportunity has largely been delayed by political miscreants; conspiracy theory aside, it is a plain and simple fact that the majority of voters in developing countries remain illiterate, sans access to liberating information resources provided by the Internet. With mobile technologies and information-sharing apps becoming ubiquitous, we can expect some significant improvement in the awareness of otherwise illiterate and ill-informed rural populations to opportunities missed out by manipulative and corrupt governments. Like the Arab Spring, we can expect more and more uprisings to take place as people become more informed and able to communicate their concerns.”

Steffen Schilke, a research scientist who works for a government in Europe, predicted, “There will be no Internet anymore as we know it as of today—it will be woven right into everything, like the air and the gravity surrounding us, not distinguishable from the environment—always there and always on if you want it to be there. Do not forget, there shall be always an ‘off’ switch (developed first by Farnsworth in the 1920s, as far as I remember). As I said, there will be no more Internet; it will be more like a Borg conglomerate on a voluntary and (hopefully) free basis.”

Marcel Bullinga, futurist and author of author of Welcome to the Future Cloud—2025 in 100 Predictions, responded, “The future will be cheap—due to the fact we can print everything, know almost everything, and share everything: knowledge, innovation, infrastructure. The future will also be highly competitive, raising much social distress, and we will suffer from a massive lack of focus and mindfulness. The key to the future is not ownership but access. We need trendhouses: houses that we do not own, but that we are subscribed to. We need a subscription to health-, living-, and energy services. Spotify-houses and Ikea-homes in one.”

Vytautas Butrimas, a chief adviser for a government ministry with 23 years of experience in ICTs and defense policy, responded, “A great impact will be the decline of ‘fundamentalism.’ Many irrational/extremist beliefs will be openly discredited as the ability of people to find information and evaluate these beliefs increases. One caveat: education needs to be improved. People cannot be brought up to be just consumers of content. People with critical thinking skills who can make rational judgments based on that information and learn to pick out the pearls from the pebbles are key to fulfilling the promise of the Internet. The Internet is a tool to be used in fostering and preserving respect for human rights and promoting democratic processes. Tools are needed to govern a peaceful progression toward a higher level of civilization.”

Robert E. McGrath, a retired software engineer who participated in critical developments of the World Wide Web, wrote, “In the age of multiple, non-free networks, we will remember the global Internet with nostalgia, just as we remember other great eras of romantic freebooting. The odds are 50/50 that the Internet will be effectively destroyed by cyberattacks by 2025. If the Net goes down, there will be terrible costs as we reboot the economy.”

David Orban, CEO of Dotsub, wrote, “The most significant impacts by 2025 will be: extending human communication, building bridges of understanding that go across the language and cultural barriers of today; setting standards of excellence and opportunity for achievement that are globally visible and available as rich and varied role models for self-guided individuals and organizations; lowering the barriers to access of knowledge and tools, making actionable information available for local adaptation and experimentation; eliminating obsolete rules and regulations that shackle individuals and societies.”

Gary Marchionini, professor and dean of the School of Library and Information Science at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, responded, “The most significant impacts are in global exchange. As long as there is access to Internet, people around the world will see alternatives to their current lives. The chaos of choice will overwhelm and confuse some but will enable others to celebrate diversity of thought. My optimism about the human spirit makes me believe that the latter will dominate the former.”

Barry Chudakov, principal with Sertain research, responded, “The most significant overall impacts of our uses of the Internet on humanity between now and 2025 will entail ever-expanding awareness and managing what we know and the truth of what we think we know. The greatest good to come from this will be an enhanced empathy for all living creatures. The greatest harm will come from distortions of what we know, or think we know, to demonize and entrap those we perceive to be our enemies. The product of the Internet is knowledge, and as the changing nature of information and knowledge becomes ‘too big to know,’ in Weinberger’s phrase, we will be challenged to maintain our compassion, humanity, and perspective. While we will be dazzled by the capabilities and functions of our gadgets and tools, and connectivity will ‘unite and embroil’ all of humanity in endless information expansions, the greatest impact of the Internet between now and 2025 will be on our identity. In human history, identity has been tribal and collective; as we moved from hunter-gatherers to culture builders, that identity evolved in ways that Erving Goffman, among others, described as presenting ourselves in a series of masks. In other words, we presented versions of ourselves, different masks, in different situations. But our roles and identities were circumscribed by older institutions such as family, church, school, and workplace, where we watched others determine our own role and behaviors. Those norms will not disappear in the next decade, but moving from the technology of the book to the lens, image, and the Internet, we will realize how our tools and technologies alter, merge, and expand our identities as we create deeper and richer identities online. Identity theft is just the gateway to larger distortions. We will be able to watch anyone doing anything; we will be able to assume virtually any mask on the Internet, and some of us will do that regularly, changing masks on a whim. Today, adolescents learn more about sex from the Internet than from parents or school. Researchers at the University of Washington recently managed to set up the first noninvasive human-to-human brain interface, pointing to the prospect of remote control of the mind over the Internet. Soon, as information swirls around us everywhere, and we watch and are watched everywhere, our sense of self and self-learning will expand into environments and into behaviors that previously we would have ignored or not considered. So, knowing who we are, and being integrated with that knowing, will be at a premium for maintaining a healthy sense of self. This is not new, but the staged show surrounding us will become ever more seductive and real. Social, marital, sexual, and cultural norms will all be affected by this show (and the knowledge it brings), and our formerly fixed sense of identity will be revealed, as V.S. Ramachandran described it, as a total ‘fiction.’ While this will bring us closer to the truth of who we are, it will also bring a host of quandaries to established institutions of family, church, school, and workplace.”

Takeshi Utsumi, founder and VP for technology and coordination of the Global University System, explained, “In our GKCN project, the simulation models of a socio-economic-energy-environmental simulation system and a climate simulation system will be developed in parallel in each country and will be interconnected through entire Internet to act as a single global model in a virtual global scale supercomputer for solving national, regional or global problems as directly addressing fundamental issues of human well-being. Each of the GKCN in various countries will consist of regional hubs, each with its own supercomputer. These will receive data on matters such as land use, water use, agriculture, energy sources and use, health systems, commercial marketplaces, and other matters of everyday living. It will assemble the data into models and peace games—i.e., a what-ifs-type policy analysis as similar to war games at the Pentagon). By seeing the models, leaders can consider rational choices; by playing the games, they can also project the consequences of alternate choices. The dynamic simulation tool will support comprehensive, integrated long-term national development planning. This is because it will provide comparative analysis of different policy options and help users to identify policies that lead to a desired goal. This will expand insight into how different indicators of development interact, as well as deepen the understanding of development challenges. The simulation model is built on the philosophy that national planning is an integrated process: that economic, social and environmental variables must be considered to achieve sustainable development. This is especially useful for preparing Poverty Reduction Strategies that emphasize the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and monitoring their progress. These simulations would also be very useful to generate post 2015 development agenda. The dynamic simulation tool promotes long-term national development planning. It will allow users to identify the set of policies that lead towards a desired goal. Our system is to become a simulator/trainer on a global socio-economic-energy-environmental system for bureaucrats and future leaders at various government levels. Hub facilities will appear similar to those simulator/trainer for nuclear power plants or large oil tankers, with a hands-on experiential learning apparatus. This will allow them to learn by playing simulation games. Our distributed simulation approach, along with our patent pending procedure, may enable such computations to be performed by computers located at any desired locations around the world, but interlinked through Internet. Namely, our project is to enable performing distributed simulation with massively parallel processing simultaneously in global scale. Those dispersed computing facilities scattered around the globe are utilizing the entire Internet resemble electronic elements connected by electrical circuitries on the motherboard in a personal computer, or patch-board of analog computer. In a sense, we are now in the stage of proof-of-concept for creating the electronic United. Our GKCN project will coordinate minds that will gradually promote problem solving and critical thinking. Active citizens and communities will have sustainable paths, overcoming conflicts as transforming adversaries into collaborators, and promoting intercultural understanding and peace in this world. The GKCN will be especially suited for fostering camaraderie around the globe, leading to the next stage of human development. This will promote trustful friendship among youngsters around the world to realize the Knowledge Society of the 21st century, and their globally collaborative creativity will enlarge the size of pie for stakeholders to reach peaceful win-win consequences. Senator Fulbright once said that learning together and working together are the first steps toward world peace.”

Caroline Haythornthwaite, director and professor at The iSchool at The University of British Columbia, wrote, “The most significant impact will be on the ability to maintain work, socialize, family connections across distances. Open access will also be an impact, with continued reshuffling of publication and dissemination practices (scholarly communication, music, film, news.) There will also be a rejuggling of economic infrastructure—i.e., news business as a key example, but higher education coming right behind. Big data—its generation, management, use, and consequences—will also be a point of contention. Participatory culture will also hold influence. I was asked to speak about trends at a recent European Union meeting, and I noted this mosaic of trends: The Net Generation, immersed in electronic access; the digitization of everything, with e-resources, e-journals, e-books, digitization of non-e sources, which include open-access, creative commons, ethical collection, creation, and use; ubiquitous e-access, influencing wireless, mobiles, Internet, and the ‘always on’ practices supported through social media, social networking sites, etc.; and e-learning, to progress from virtual learning environments to online communities (blended, distributed), from online tutorials to MOOCs. Participatory culture and peer production umbrella social networking, crowdsourcing, online communities, and the perpetual beta of knowledge and practice—i.e., the trend to continuous change and emergent practices. Big data and analytics—data production, data sources, analytic tools, new literacies of data collection, organization, curation, analysis, and visualization—are also within this realm. The blending of virtual and physical—supporting in online-offline, multi-channel, multi-modal practices—will also be an influencing factor. I concentrated the short talk on these four interconnected trends: 1) An increasing orientation to social organization through social networks—technology enabled, socially maintained, media-facilitated, practices familiar on a social level to the Net generations, but well familiar on the work level to all those crossing borders, maintaining alliances, interdisciplinary teams, sharing resources, etc. 2) The rise of e-learning, a new practice encompassing the many forms and purposes for learning on and through the Internet: not just a VLE/LMS, but practices giving rise to new literacy/ies, distributed and contributed knowledge, driven by a need for new learning practices by both educators and learners, and to meet the needs of a world where, as John Seely Brown has remarked, the I-life of a skill is approximately five years. 3) The development of participatory practices that create online sources for learning but also generate opportunities for data collection and further use, built on collaborative practices and open source/open access practices, including contribution in crowds and communities, and also in a time of entrepreneurial learners, whose constant learning needs are, as described by John Seely Brown, like being in a canoe in the rapids in the turbulence of learning and reacting on the go, or as my former colleague Chip Bruce describes it for groups, it is like building an airplane in the air. 4) The rise of big data in science and society, and the analytic opportunities and ethical considerations that follow for data collection, storage, preservation, and use; for privacy and security.”

Leigh Estabrook, a dean and professor emerita at the University of Illinois, responded, “The most significant positive impact is the ability to communicate and collaborate globally across political and economic boundaries. Also very significant is the positive impact of the Edward Snowdens to come, who are able—through the Internet—to share all kinds of information globally.”

Marsali Hancock, president and CEO of the Internet Keep Safe Coalition, wrote, “In terms of future gains: public health, safety, and education gains will be significant and provide opportunities for large global populations to live better and enjoy a higher quality of life. The losses will be when governments, organizations, or malicious individuals use the Internet with the intent to harm or to restrict rights or opportunities from individuals or groups of populations.”

Jan Schaffer, executive director of J-Lab, wrote, “The cleverness of people developing new uses for the Internet, for apps, for data, for biometrics and wearable technologies, for retailing, for health, for education, knows no bounds. But in the wrong people’s hands, they can be disabling rather than capacity-building. I hope for the positive, but I also hope the ingenuity around Internet developments addresses the negative.”

Vanda Scartezini, a partner with Polo Consultores Associados, responded, “The Internet and its improvements will dominate life ten years from now. The Internet of Things will control the home, pets, relationships with operational facts for the kids, and all interactions with companies, workplaces, education, government, the legal structure, and so forth. It will be the new normal way of life. We will see impact on the quality of life and time availability in general to enjoy life, even if enjoying life will be the use of the Internet itself. After a short period of some paranoia related to security, the growth of the Internet of Things will, step-by-step, bring more interest for people to react against excessive restrictions and have a more open mind to interact in a positive way. With the Internet generation taking the lead, comprehension about the Internet will aid in the development of correct uses result in the extraction of more beneficial opportunities from the technology.”

Jean Paul Nkurunziza, a self-employed digital consultant, responded, “The Internet in 2025 will be an open source of knowledge accessible to every human being of the world. Then, each citizen of the world will have access to the knowledge he needs for awakening his full potential. Economic prosperity will then be more distributed. Human rights will be more respected. Sustainable peace will be installed, as people will be aware of ways to work together for overall wellness.”

Elizabeth Albrycht, a senior lecturer in marketing and communications at the Paris School of Business, wrote, “By 2025, we are likely not going to be bothering to ask these types of questions. We’ll be connected all the time. Our lives will be lived in a combination of virtual and physical spaces, and it will feel completely normal for most of us. As with all human endeavor, there will be positive results and unintended consequences, which we will deal with in a messy, sometimes violent fashion. We’ll avoid apocalypse. I am not sure about the biggest impact. Can there really be a singular thing? The Internet is us and we are it. The Internet becomes the extension of the human mind and body. It is multiple, as are we. There will not be any big ‘event’ of adoption—we’ll just naturally move there. Many of us are already close. The benefits are too big, too obvious to think otherwise. These include the ability to stay alive longer as healthy people. Who would say no to that?”

Pamela Wright, chief innovation officer for the US National Archives, predicted, “The opportunities for the American public to easily interact with their government will improve. This will have a ripple impact on our economy and political processes. People will expect to be able to easily participate in their government at all levels, from the DMV to federal legislation, and new standards for interaction will be set. On a global level, huge political movements will be able to organize quickly, the outcome of which will not be perceived prior to it unfolding.”

Marcus Foth, principal research fellow at the Urban Informatics Research Lab, Queensland University of Technology, responded, “This commentary on our blog somewhat gets at the question posed here: http://blogs.qut.edu.au/creative-cluster/2013/06/18/a-kind-of-magic-interaction-design-for-participatory-and-civic-innovation/”

Lillie Coney, a legislative director specializing in technology policy in the US House of Representatives, responded, “The Internet is breaking down walls that divided people on the most basic level—geography, language, history, culture and religion. These things still exist, but now there is opportunity for context and discourse, not just among scholars, business leaders, and political leaders, but anyone. The future will see a continuing the establishment of the global village, with billions of people finding things that they hold in common and beliefs that are very different. This newfound spirit of offering opinions on the most mundane to the most critical moments of our lives will continue. We will see an increase in tolerance for those who are different, a reduction in tension, as more communication that allows for an expanded view of the dimensions that comprise a life emerge. People become more connected as individuals and not as groups or stereotypes. Lives will become more connected, and the threads that began in youth will remain intact as people’s lives grow and change.”

Kevin Carson, a senior fellow and chair of social theory at the Center for a Stateless Society, responded, “I expect a shift towards networked, open-source information production and direct marketing to users online without the intermediation of gatekeeper institutions. This will be true of journalism, publishing, music, movies, and software. I also expect network communications to facilitate the rapid sharing of open-source industrial designs, as well as the horizontal coordination of supply chains among networked garage shops serving local communities. I expect the Internet of Things, with virtual mapping tech and ties to the physical world via RFID chips and GPS coordinates, to facilitate the rise of networked economic platforms for collaboration and trade. We’ll be headed for a world where everything that can be virtualized or localized will be, where the flow of information is free and universal, and most physical production is local.”

David Crowley, lecturer/researcher at the Institute of Technology in Tralee and Insight Centre, Galway, Ireland, said, “Connections between people will not be bounded by geographic position. There will be free movement of usable information, whether it is commerce, government, or shared personal information. This will open up new revenue streams for companies, governments, and people.”

Peter S. Vogel, Internet law expert at Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, VogelITLawblog.com, wrote, “The greater availability of high-speed Internet will foster great social and economic change, and since many countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, and Japan, all have agendas to increase access to high-speed Internet access to 99% of their populations, this could happen. Politically, however, there are reasons to believe that certain governments do not want their people to have free Internet access, which is a serious impediment to the Internet truly helping make great change. The greatest social change between now and 2025 will be to raise the educational standards for people, regardless of their locale. The Internet has already proven to be a great educational tool, and such wonderful bodies of information, such as Wikipedia, allow individuals to share their collective wisdom with other people. Also, the increased use of massive open online courses will allow brilliant educators to share their messages to global audiences.”

Jim Leonick, director of new product development for Ipsos, wrote, “Technology will inevitably be integrated into the human body/mind in ways we cannot fathom today. There is an immediacy of the knowledge we need to survive today, which makes things like smartphones so critical and the only way to stay in line with Moore’s Law. We will have to go down this path.”

John Saguto, an executive decision support analyst in the implementation of geospatial information systems for disaster response, wrote, “Truth and accuracy will be the challenge. The bad impacts include purposeful misinformation and nanosecond attention spans. Immediate satisfaction and ADD-type mentalities will be accepted as being normal. We will see mental illness from overwhelming information access, as well as degenerative body fitness. As our minds expand, our bodies and stress seem to increase as well. Lethargic lifestyles are becoming socially ‘understood.’ If we are able to better communicate internationally, our ‘local village’ heritage will be replaced with massive media dilution of concerns that might otherwise cause a call-to-action. The good impacts include rapidly expanding international communications that will permit a much better understanding of global issues. Positive trends are crowdsourcing and peer-level discussions for truth. There is a desperate need for critical thinkers to help filter out the white noise. Immediate gratification will become normal. Creativity will expand, and the golden age of communications will flourish!”

Stuart Osnow, a partner with Prime New York, wrote, “The good will include providing voter-based data for the political and government communities. We will use phones, cellular technology, emails, and live calls to move people. We will use the Internet to collect data, order data, deliver it, and distribute messages.”

Tuija Aalto, head of strategy for Yle, the Finnish Broadcasting Company, predicted, “Platforms for connecting people to each other in many regards will continue to develop. Social media is just a start, and connectivity and pooling of data will continue to spread in the realms of finance/money and health/medicine/biodata. What is now known as the quantified self will become more common as everyday applications emerge. Personal health and finance data will be shared and traded in exchange for interesting and compelling services.”

David Burstein, CEO of Run for America and author of Fast Future: How the Millennial Generation is Shaping Our World, wrote, “The Internet will never be able to solve our biggest complex problems, from fixing our education system to solving income inequality. But it will help make us happier, more productive, more social, and help to allow us to create more meaningful progress on these bigger issues. The two biggest systemic challenges that the Internet will help resolve in the next decade are around energy efficiency and healthcare. The Internet will not only enable us to come up with major solutions on these issues, but in the meantime, by using messaging, big data, and digitization processes, the Internet will help us help our planet and our own health. By gentle, nudging text message reminders and alerts that sound throughout our homes, the Internet will push our behaviors in the right new direction. By allowing our devices, apps, and accounts to know more about us, and learn more about our true selves, technology will increase our efficiency and productivity, freeing up our time to think, work on projects, and share ideas. Currently, we need to expend a great amount of effort on the Internet in order to do these things, often counteracting the potential activity. As this changes, the kinds of things we can do as individuals and how we can do them will greatly increase and improve.”

Michael Hauben, netizen and author of Welcome to the 21st Century, wrote, “I share an excerpt from my work, Netizens: On the History and Impact of Usenet and the Internet: ‘You are a Netizen—a Net citizen—and you exist as a citizen of the world thanks to the global connectivity that the Net makes possible. You consider everyone as your compatriot. You physically live in one country but you are in contact with much of the world via the global computer network. Virtually you live next door to every other single Netizen in the world. Geographical separation is replaced by existence in the same virtual space. The situation I describe is only a prediction of the future, but a large part of the necessary infrastructure currently exists. The Net—or the Internet, BITNET, FIDOnet, other physical networks. Every day more computers attach to the existing networks and every new computer adds to the user base—in China alone over 400 million people are connected. We are seeing a revitalization of society. The frameworks are being redesigned from the bottom up. A new more democratic world is becoming possible. As one user observed, the Net has immeasurably increased the quality of life. The Net seems to open a new lease on life for people. Social connections that never before were possible or were relatively hard to achieve are now facilitated by the Net. Geography and time are no longer boundaries. Social limitations and conventions no longer prevent potential friendships or partnerships. In this manner Netizens are meeting other Netizens from far away and close by that they might never have met without the Net. A new world of connections between people—either privately from individual to individual or publicly from individuals to the collective mass of many on the Net is possible. The old model of distribution of information from the central Network Broadcasting Company is being questioned and challenged. The top-down model of information being distributed by a few for mass consumption is no longer the only news. The Net brings the power of the reporter to the Netizen. People now have the ability to broadcast their observations or questions around the world and have other people respond. The computer networks form a new grassroots connection that allows the excluded sections of society to have a voice. This new medium is unprecedented. Previous grassroots media have existed for much smaller-sized selections of people. The model of the Net proves the old way does not have to be the only way of networking. The Net extends the idea of networking—of making connections with strangers that prove to be advantageous to one or both parties. The complete connection of the body of citizens of the world that the Net makes possible does not yet exist, and it will be a struggle to make access to the Net open and available to all. However, in the future we might be seeing the possible expansion of what it means to be a social animal. Practically every single individual on the Net today is available to every other person on the Net. International connection coexists on the same level with local connection. Also the computer networks allow a more advanced connection between the people who are communicating. With computer-communication systems, information or thoughts are connected to people’s names and electronic-mail addresses. On the Net, people can connect to others who have similar interests or whose thought processes they enjoy.’”

Valerie Bock, technical services lead for Q2 Learning, LLC, wrote, “Instant access to information will continue to make our interactions with one another better informed. As our societies begin to develop mature norms around the appropriate use of this sea of information, those interactions might become more peaceful. Care of the environment may become more effective as we better understand the impact of our choices on the systems within which we make them. Or not. We might do what we’ve often done and just choose to ignore the inconvenient. Information tech enables all kinds of wonderful things, but it is only used within the context of human nature, which doesn’t seem to be changing all that quickly!”

Paul Babbitt, an associate professor at Southern Arkansas University, noted, “The Internet will continue to spread throughout the developing world. Generally, though, information costs will be passed on to those who can afford them, and though there will be plenty of ‘free’ Internet, it will usually be of dubious quality. Another possibility is that areas of the Internet will be free but access will be restricted and participation will be monitored. Governments will become much more effective in using the Internet as an instrument of political and social control. That is, filters will be increasingly valuable and important, and effective and useful filters will be able to charge for their services. People will be more than happy to trade the free-wheeling aspect common to many Internet sites for more structured and regulated environments.”

Glenn Grossman, a consultant to a software provider for banks wrote, “In 2025, we may not even call it the Internet. The idea of data sharing via other mediums will be likely. We still use the IP-based model for the Internet. This might not be the case in 2025. So, we will see more interconnected elements, and people will just assume it. Convergence of information and every nation will feel a bit closer. So, our economies will be more tied together, and thus, we can see big political changes. It will continue to improve the lives of people via sharing information, commerce, and education. Human history has been impacted most by the transmission of ideas and education. The Internet, or whatever it is in the future, will make access to information simpler. Consider the case of thirty years ago, when where you went to school made a difference. In the future, things like this will have no impact. Access to quality information will be more universal. So, this can have big changes on social norms and economies everywhere.”

Kristie Helms, vice president and head of interactive and social media at State Street, wrote, “The websites as we know them will die. We’re increasingly moving to an environment that’s mobile, personalized, and highly customizable for each unique individual. Given those trends, I actually see the Internet as we know it—a collection of (for the most part) static Web pages connected by a series of links, shares, and likes—becoming less relevant. People will connect with minds rather than pages or sites through the cloud and within mobile apps that are interconnected rather than through pages on a Web site. Already in the past year we’ve seen the need for start pages disappear with the death of iGoogle and related homepages on some of the larger services such as Yahoo. Content will remain king—but increasingly that will be well-researched, highly-sourced content as a backlash against content farms as SEO enhancement continues. I also have a personal hope that opinion pieces begin to fall in relevance with an associated rise in researched, fact-based content—but I don’t know that we will fully be there by 2025.”

Jeanne Brittingham, an opinion research consultant, responded, “The impacts may divide social, economic, and political processes into smaller populations. The enhanced and finite data could create subcultures of common interests, whose goals are easily accomplished by sourcing exactly what they want. This would certainly be disruptive of the status quo. The greatest impact could be the disruption of the social, economic, and political status quos. Abundant information could feed individual goals, consequently driving current cohorts, based on more conceptual goals, to more specific needs and accomplishments.”

Sunil Gunderia, mobile strategist at an education startup, responded, “The world will become smaller as the Internet levels the playing field in terms of information access. Technology and software will make life easier, as digital agents will be able to perform many mundane tasks. Healthcare will significantly change as nanotech-based, real-time monitoring and predictive analytics will increase average lifespans. Life will become much easier for those with financial wherewithal and skills to compete in the new global economy.”

Manuel Landa, CEO of Urban360, a Mexican startup, responded, “By 2025, people will not think about political borders or cultural differences as we do now. The Internet would have erased those concepts by then. Currency will also lose its meaning as a state-controlled aspect. Very few universities will still be around, and they will morph into consultancy shops where students may go in case of support. People will be better connected with strangers and their families alike, developing a sense of responsibility for the human race.”

Melissa Wyers, president of Breakthrough Strategies, wrote, “Healthcare will become cheaper and more self-administered. We will be able to ‘know’ everything very early in our lives but struggle to understand how to make our lives. Tech perfection will make human imperfection harder to bear. We will be expected to optimize every aspect of life every second of life. It will exhaust us. Instant will be the norm.”

Bud Levin, a futurist and consultant and professor of psychology at Blue Ridge Community College (VA), responded, “It will be just another tool of days gone by, much like a more-recent version of clay tablets. As a tool to support the communications of and by innovative technologies (the Internet of Things and of people), it will be crucial. And then, like technologies before it, time will pass it by.”

Dale Richart, a marketing and advertising client liaison, responded, “The impact of the Internet on education and the value of education will be the most significant impact. It will happen because it must and it is inevitable.”

Dave Rusin, a digital entrepreneur and global corporate executive, wrote, “It’s what people make of the Internet: simple as that. The Internet is a network; it is all about how it gets applied, short of governments and politicians trying to protect their own interests. The greatest impact the enabling applications by the Internet on people will be profoundly the idea of privacy and having a simple but productive life. Today, we are on information overload; people want peace in their lives, predictability, media truth and delivered/accessed/trust, they want to go back to basics, family, simplicity, and a sense of tangible community.”

Llewellyn Kriel, CEO and editor in chief of TopEditor International Media Services, responded, “The Internet will become the central focus of all social interaction. Everything—every thing—will be available online—with price tags attached. Cyber-terrorism will become commonplace. Privacy and confidentiality of any and all personal will become a thing of the past. Online ‘diseases’—mental, physical, social, addictions (psycho-cyber drugs)—will affect families and communities and spread willy-nilly across borders. The digital divide will grow and worsen beyond the control of nations or global organisations such as the UN. This will increasingly polarise the planet between haves and have-nots. Global companies will exploit this polarisation. Digital criminal networks will become realities of the new frontiers. Terrorism, both by organisations and individuals, will be daily realities. The world will become less and less safe, and only personal skills and insights will protect individuals.”

Ian Lamont, founder of i30 Media, responded, “More data, new interfaces, new applications, new industries, and new understanding will change society in massive, often unpredictable ways. Closed systems and societies will suffer, but in the long term I believe it will make our global society better.”

Matthew Henry, chief information officer at a university, responded, “Eradication of disease, ubiquitous learning and education with cognitive science at it’s base, as well as understanding of each other across time, space, and cultures, will occur as ‘the Internet’ will become not a place you go to, but a part of how we live. The Internet will become a ‘world cloud’ for sharing, learning, and collaborating for the improvement of the human condition.”

Jack Hardy, principal for Niche Public Relations wrote, “The Internet will be the primary source of interaction on a global scale. It will drive economic prosperity. It will change human interaction (communication style and technique), leading to greater silos of communication, at the same time as enabling real-time communication in multiple languages. The greatest impact of the Internet will be its enabling ability to communicate with people globally in their language in real time.”

Buroshiva Dasgupta, a professor of communication at Kolkata International Management Institute, responded, “The Internet, electricity, water supply—it seems as if we depend on the essentials today, in that order. I am not worried when my kids skip school. Their knowledge is ahead of time.”

Vittorio Veltroni, CEO for Hyppo Corporation, a digital and customer knowledge consultancy, wrote, “The biggest impact will be individualization—starting from individually optimized devices and software for health and longevity, followed by a quantum jump in logistics and in the availability to deliver singularity in entertainment and information. There will be personalization of all consumption and lifestyle choices, with data allowing private sector company to save by selling optimized services, devices and solutions, on just about everything from retail to health care, from exercise to entertainment.”

Aaron Balick, a PhD, psychotherapist, and author of The Psychodynamics of Social Networking, wrote, “We are still at a stage where we are making a distinction between ‘the Internet’ and ‘people’s lives.’ My sense is that these two things will become more joined up than they are today and that the distinction between what is online and what is offline will begin to fade. I do not mean by this that people will not be able to tell the difference between what is virtual and what is real—the vast majority of the population certainly will. However, the ways in which we extend ourselves into what we understand as ‘digital’ will continue as the Internet enables global relating and sharing, in real-time, on a whole variety of different registers. We will become more joined up with our homes, workplaces, medical centres, politics, and the resources and peoples of our planet. This is not a utopian vision—the Internet remains a tool, and a tool can be used to help or to harm. The way in which our culture(s) grow(s) in relation to technology will be shaped relationally between the societies and the technologies they create—it can go either way, and will likely go both. My main concern is that no matter how much technology develops, it will remain at some remove from person-to-person, face-to-face interrelating. Interpersonal relating, being truly intimate, is a challenge to us all, and relying on a third party interface to do this job for us has the capacity to denude us of some foundational aspects of our humanity. So far, many have found that the Internet, particularly online social networks, have enabled a great deal more contact and communication with a great many more people; we have also found that it may have a deleterious effect on the relationships that are closest to us.”

John Senall, principal and founder of Mobile First Media, LLC, responded, “The most significant impact will be decreased social, live human interactions. This effect will pose related impacts flowing from it that fall into the sociology and psychology fields of research. Today’s 7-year-olds spend far too much time, on average with devices—typically alone, or sitting in a room with others, but distanced and separate mentally from the group. By 2025, these children will be 18 and going or not going to college. While today’s online higher education offerings only appeal to a smaller percentage of students, by 2025, the college demographic will be the generation of kids raised on devices, on social media with virtual friendships, and with books online and on tablet, games, and quizzes via apps. They will be ripe for online and hybrid higher education offerings and ‘in their space.’ The challenge, therefore, is a social-relationship one. Can we encourage regular or improved social relationships—both personal and in the workforce—collaboration and acceptance in a landscape of people raised on de-friending in a mouse click, extremely personalized scheduling of one’s own desired activities on-demand and virtual entertainment experiences? Time will tell I suppose.”

Kathryn Campbell, managing partner at Primitive Spark, predicted, “Just as the invention of the printing press democratized communications, and the automobile and plane democratized travel, the Internet has democratized information. Totalitarian states will be less and less able to insulate their citizens from outside views and influences. Formal education will become less meaningful as self-directed learning—the ability to learn from and share ideas with the best minds on the planet—becomes the norm. Long, isolated regions will gain access to knowledge and capital. In short, ready access to ideas will help level the playing field between countries and classes worldwide in a hugely transformative way.”

Warren Yoder, executive director for the public policy center of the state of Mississippi, observed, “The growth of the Internet and the need to construct a usable understanding of information justice will push public policy into a global arena in a way that no other issue has. Privacy, control of our individual data, security from Internet-based violence, and other issues not yet obvious will force us to move beyond our visceral sense of Internet injustice to construct the field of information justice. We will be forced to become an information citizen of a global information structure. What that justice will look like, what is expected of these citizens, even what we will be citizens of—none are at all clear.”

Sean Mead, senior director of strategy and analytics for Interbrand, wrote, “Internet access to AI tools will enable increased ease of life for those with the resources, while an increasing number of jobs will be reduced or eliminated through automation augmented with improved language skills. The greatest impact will be that the Internet will generate several new related networks. Some will require verified identification to access, while others will promise increased privacy.”

Frank Feather, CEO and chief trend tracker for Future-Trends.com, wrote, “The biggest impact will be full digitization of every aspect of our lives, of society, of commerce, and of politics and geo-politics. While the full impact will not be manifested by 2025, those who do not fully digitize by then will become almost irrelevant and will be ignored or over-ridden by upstarts or mass civilian movements. Digitization will permit democratization across boundaries and cultures and political systems in very significant ways. It is inevitable because digitization is a force in motion that cannot be stopped, and its benefits will daily become more manifest, leading to a rapid speed up.”

S. Rodriguez, COO for MC&S IB and digital consultant, responded, “The Internet plays a key role in the future of society; the world, as we know, is doomed to evolve rapidly. The Internet will be part of our lives, just as television, the mobile phone, or car are now. It will not only be ‘everyday’ but it will be necessary and essential so that people and societies can live their day-to-day. Practically everything will revolve around the Internet, It will be a means and not an end for the welfare of people. Social relations, communications, personal data, purchases, personal services, almost everything about the individual as a member of a social group, will be on the Internet, circulated on the Internet: things like political rallies, voting, relations with public administration, administrative and managerial actions, our political and social life, will use the Internet and will be online. Perhaps the worst is that the price to pay is the loss of part of our individualism and our intimacy, leaving to others the control and custody, as well as the management, of our personal data. There will always be a part that will not be necessary to overturn the Internet, but increasingly will be smaller and closer. This does not mean that we lose our personal communication skills but that we will restrict enough, basically to increasingly small, enclosed environments. It is even possible that there might arise an Internet within the Internet, so that each person creates his own Internet within the Internet, and in other words take the idea of Internet (interconnected networks) to its maximum expression. The Internet affects health, the economy, personal relationships, leisure, or satisfaction of the most basic needs such as feeding and personal care. This implies that society must develop systems to ensure the confidence to perform all of these activities on the Internet with the necessary tranquility. An example could be the development of Bitcoin. The next ten years will see the development of new and more effective tools and applications that allow us to use the Internet more effectively and safely. Perhaps most significant is the Cloud will be much more popular every day. It is very likely that in the very near future, every person has his or her cloud, and this is part of his or her daily work. The Internet is a means for society to evolve toward a new more just and more-free model. It will be the means by which it will be possible for people who belong to societies that, until now, had little or no opportunity to develop equal opportunities. Underdeveloped or developing nations will be able to more easily access to a global market, skipping the traditional artificial barriers created by large intermediaries that control the markets. Large amounts of knowledge and information, as well as cultural material, should be available to anyone—just a click away. This will allow anyone the ability and energy necessary to access them, which may thus facilitate their professional development. Basically, the Internet will make a smaller and more habitable, more equal and more just, more connected, and there will be much less in the realm of the unknown in the world. It also will create a more competitive and intelligent world.”

Karen Sulprizio, a marketing and business consultant, wrote, “As long as there aren’t continued security breaches, the Internet will be the mainstay of the average life for a variety of uses: information, shopping, browsing, and medical are the top four. Technology companies may produce a variety of Net-based and wireless products, but adoption will teeter on whether the security and integrity can be maintained. If security breaches and hacking take an upswing, adoption of all net devices, as well as information, will be reduced. By 2025, if integrity and security of technology can be maintained, the world will be a totally different place. Net-based wearable communication will be the ‘norm,’ and embedded ‘chips’ containing medical information will be the standard. Global adoption of environmental concerns will be acted upon in a higher level and this will affect all methods of transportation. Social media communication will be enhanced to the point of instantaneous interaction with friends and family, including shared data occurring at the moment.”

Beth Bush, senior vice president for a major healthcare professionals association, responded, “People will not think about the Internet as being ‘something’—rather it is a part of life. Expected. Ubiquitous. The challenge will be to capture individual thought. Innovation will build upon other innovations. We must ensure that the individual geniuses also thrive. Baby Boomers will continue to change and drive society. This means healthcare, longevity, and humanity will drive the economic and intellectual investments.”

Galen Panger, a PhD candidate in the University of California-Berkeley School of Information, responded, “The Internet will increase the extent to which business and government is customer- and citizen-oriented because of the greater power of citizens to aggregate their voices and engage in collective action. This has been a tough nut to crack, but many strides have been made and new breakthroughs are on the horizon.”
Patrick Stack, manager for the digital transformation group of Accenture Interactive, predicted, “The connection between physical and digital will define the next several decades. From the home to the kitchen to the car to the workplace and back, personal identifiers will allow for the rapid expansion of tailored experiences that are already being built into products. Like anything, this will have good and bad sides—the good will be the seamlessness of managing one’s life; the bad will be the potential for intrusion on an unprecedented scale by both relatively harmless marketers and more harmful actors in the harassment, criminal, and negative-government spheres. Either way, physical and digital existence will merge in new and exciting ways.”

Stuart Chittenden, founder of the conversation consultancy Squishtalks, wrote, “The Internet is both good and bad. Our role as a society is to find ways that we can, authentically, and with transparency (hard enough to do even that), can find ways to navigate the entwining of our existence with the potential of the Internet.”

Glen Farrelly, a self-employed digital media researcher and consultant, wrote, “Ubiquitous connectivity will make it difficult (or impossible) to ever be offline and to have downtime. The fragmentation of our lives between work and home, and other contexts, such as family and friends, will be blurred almost completely as a result.”

Ken Elmore, an audience research and development strategist, wrote, “While information on current events and world affairs are living in the social stream, there will be a greater need for edited information, or at least information that can be trusted. I can see trusted information as a more valuable commodity, and those that are in the business of control of public opinion will use it more aggressively to their advantage—i.e., politicians, world leaders, business, and public policy-making bodies.”

Jamal Cromity, UI/UX technical lead for Infosys Limited, responded, “The haves and have-nots of innovation will dominate the Internet. As time goes on, standardization will continue to settle in, and more businesses will move away from customization because of the cost factors associated. While differentiation will still exist, people will just be able to buy what they want, and less time will be spent on planning and development. The greatest impact will be standardization. Right now, there so many devices that provide Internet access in some way. While the protocol has stayed the same, the methods by which products and services are built are different. However, as each device enables the user to do or access more, so does the need for standard is how those designs are implemented.”

Karen Besprovan, research and analytics director for Omnicommedia Group, predicted, “The big evolution will be in the overall impact will be of real-time, the immediacy of everything, the reality show of everything, the biggest library of everything. It will be the central point, for either construction, evolution of life, or destruction, as you can learn what you need from there. It will be very important for how people engage in regulate and order inside the platform because as we increase the people empowerment, we decrease the public and organization powers. And as Max Weber said: we can move from democracy to chaos in one move, and probably, we will never realize which one.  E-learning will be important, and the Internet will close the gap between rich and poor through access to education and knowledge. There may be no more need for some people to know how to write and read. Through YouTube and the video culture, everybody will have the opportunity to learn.”

Rex Cornelius, a retired digital services professional, wrote, “Smaller and embedded devices with uninterrupted access will cause the Internet to become more of a transparent resource. Computers in the 20th century went from exotic, impractical machines to common devices taken for granted. The Internet is becoming more and more integrated into daily tasks and chores. I believe it will lose what remains of its special status and become more like older utilities such as water and electricity.”

Tim Mallory, an information resources professional wrote, “The Internet is serving to break down international boundaries between people, cultures, idea systems, spying, commerce, and governance. We will evolve toward a one-government, one-language, and one-value system as an establishment (the haves) and innumerable anarchies worldwide (the have-nots). Look for more oppression if you’re one of the haves and more freedom at the price of being hunted down as a villain if you’re a have-not. Growth in number of users and lower cost of participation will have the greatest impact on the Internet.”

Joan Neslund, an information resources professional, responded, “We won’t call it ‘the Internet’ anymore; it will simply be access. Cooperation will rise, and boundaries will decrease. Education will totally change with global classrooms. The United States will no longer rule the world; we will have a difficult time keeping our heads above water. Corporate greed has killed us. Students won’t think about the technology behind what they do; they will focus on the methods and collaboration that will happen. The United States will take a backseat to other countries. Poor education models, poverty, and corporate greed have knocked us back, and it will take three generations or so to come back if at all.”

Pietro Ciminelli, director of finance for BOCES, wrote, “Significant numbers of people will become structurally unemployed because they were unwilling to keep up their skills with the changing technology or unwilling to accept the changing technology. The Internet will be the primary communication device for society. The biggest concern is if it will increase the divide between the wealthy and the poor. Children whose parents are not versed into the use of the Internet will be the same as the children of today whose parents are illiterate. How do you level the playing field? Also, crime on the Internet is a concern.”

Bob Harootyan, the research manager for a national nonprofit organization helping unemployed low-income Americans expand their skills—including digital literacy—wrote, “The primary impact is already seen. It is the ability of tens of millions of individuals to access information, send and receive audiovisual content, and interact virtually. This ability allows individuals to be better informed (assuming they understand the ‘accuracy’ issues), to have more control over their lives, and to form all types of virtual or real alliances—for good or bad. It impacts all sectors. Simple personal example: weekend shopping for a car, where the sales manager essentially said that the Internet now provides the consumer with so much comparative information that the dealer is forced to show the ‘best price,’ allowing little room for traditional negotiation. The consumer has more info, and therefore, generally, more power. This also applies to politics, social interaction, work and leisure, personal relationships, financial issues, and most other aspects of life, whether it be the ‘Arab Spring…Summer…etc.’, business data, or competitive pricing for a laptop. At the risk of simplification, access to and the sharing of information—in an information age—is power, no matter the reason or the group. Managing, manipulating, controlling, creating, evaluating, using, etc. information—in its broadest sense—will be a major social, political, and economic driver during the next decade. It will produce more widgets and robots, more interaction of all types, political accord or discord, business growth and accountability, extended social networks that were previously unlikely, and a host of other impacts on one’s daily life. Much of it will be based on the extent to which people use the Internet and for what purposes. As noted earlier, the Internet is the vehicle, not the end in itself. It takes the place of Paul Revere’s horse and loud voice, and it exposes human atrocities such as the 1915 Turkish massacres of Armenians, the Holocaust, Rwanda, Bosnia, etc. Again, information is power. The Internet is truly making the world smaller—through the sharing of knowledge, information, real-time events, and all other forms of communication and connectivity.”

Meg Houston Maker, a digital engagement and analytics consultant, responded, “The term ‘social media’ will sound quaintly archaic. All media will be social, visual, and have a participatory component. When you say ‘newspaper,’ people will not think about paper; they’ll think only about news, thus the re-emergence of message over medium. World governments will continue to be panicked by citizen journalists, and we will likely have seen some truly ugly crackdowns as a result. I’d love to believe online voting could become prevalent, leading to far greater political engagement from those who can’t get themselves to the polls on a Tuesday, particularly hourly workers, the elderly, and those in gerrymandered districts or districts that place undue burdens on voters.”

Matthew Daniels, a PhD and founder of www.goodofall.org, responded, “The Internet will advance the ideal of universal human rights in the minds of a generation of global Netizens, who have never known life without the Internet. For centuries, the global map of human rights has been severely Balkanized by national origin, class, gender, race, and social status. In light of our common humanity, this tragic reality is both inherently unjust and irrational. But the seemingly unattainable legal dream of universal human rights was awaiting the rise of a globally-minded generation of ‘digital natives,’ who have never known life without the World Wide Web. Over the next decade, we will see progress towards a world in which human rights are as universal as the defining communications medium of our time.”

Mike Caprio, a software engineer for a consulting firm, responded, “The Internet is likely to follow the same path as radio and television for mass communications (and even the printing press when it first came out); it will become dominated by a small group of people that are backed by a government (a guild system), which will then continuously exert dominance and control over it. People who are licensed and who use it only in the allowed ways will be able to use it. The Internet’s greatest impact has already happened; it has opened up everyone’s eyes to what is possible, the same way that the initial achievement of the printing press ultimately led to the Protestant Reformation, mass literacy, democratization, and the ongoing Enlightenment.

Richard Rothenberg, a professor of public health at Georgia State University, responded,  “The good will be the availability of everything. The bad will be the change in reality, from touchable to virtual. However much the Internet contributes, it does not change a fundamental fact of human existence: we derive all our information from our five senses, and, like it or not, they form the basis for our judgment about everything. The main alteration is the transfer of sensory dominance to visual (for most sighted people) and the fact that we will observe things inside our head. The major impact of this is passivity. There will ultimately be a recoil, and people will attempt to reclaim the entire realm of sensory input, seeking ‘real,’ rather than ersatz, experiences. For some, this has already happened. Where it will go and where it will stop is anybody’s guess.”

O’Brien Uzoechi, a company CEO, predicted, “It will very much accelerate the development of our world because vital information for business development can easily be assessed. The greatest impact of the Internet will be significantly measured in terms of actuating business development, especially to the African continent, given the high level of technological awareness developing among the business class and the local communities’ eagerness to somewhat measure up to the developed world.”

Jason Husser, a pollster and professor at a teaching-focused US university, wrote, “[There will be] predictive technology, leading to better decision-making outside of the directions currently underway. One of the next big waves of benefits from interconnectedness will be devices, people, and institutions better able to anticipate individual behavior and preferences. By using better predictive information, astute leaders will gain a more complete information set and, ultimately, make better and more efficient decisions.”

Michel Grossetti, research director at the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, wrote, “Interactions between people will be more rapid and continuous. Social relations will be more hemophilic and segregating [people will choose to isolate their actions to remain true to their own type]. There will be a continuation of current trends.”

Jim Jansen, an associate professor at Pennsylvania State University, wrote, “The most important aspect will be not strictly technical, but related to technology. It will be the acceptance of technology into one’s life. People will just accept it, with ramifications on privacy, economics, and well-being.”

James Wisdom Jr., the owner of Wisdom Consulting and General Contracting LLC, wrote, “The good is that the Internet will be more open, less restrictive, and offer more financial commerce. The bad includes more control from big business and government—things we see in movies will be reality, especially too much corporate control.”

Thorlaug Agustsdottir, public relations manager for the Icelandic Pirate Party, responded, “Significant impacts will come with the creation of an online community beyond Facebook and when the United Nations declares the right to access the Internet as an independent right of its own, not just a derivative of freedom of speech. Once we establish ‘state and governance’ and emerge as a force to be reckoned with the interest of a free and fair Internet in mind, that movement will certainly change the ways of the Internet. The Internet will be used in war to a greater extent, but overall, it will bring knowledge, peace, and cooperation to those who connect. The largest social impact of the Internet in the years to come is its facilitation of a new political movement of enlightened netizens the whole world over.”

Liza Potts, an assistant professor and senior researcher at Michigan State University, responded, “The diversity of participants will be the most significant impact. The idea that as access and equipment spreads, our technology and the corporations who build it will change rapidly to support these changes (or lose out to their competitors). Mobile devices, as they become faster and cheaper, will be the big winners here. But we must then build for these technologies first, rather than how we build for desktops first right now. The results of the NSA fallout will also have a huge impact on us. Stay tuned… The greatest impact will be in how everyday people continue to support one another, demanding more participatory systems from the content producers and content owners. Let’s think of entertainment, instead of all of the darker aspects I have mentioned. When you can have fans funding the return of Veronica Mars, entire albums, and changing the XBox’s DRM scheme, we are obviously reaching a tipping point for the strength in the voices outside of corporate structures.”

Celia Pearce, an associate professor of digital media at the Georgia Institute of Technology, wrote a comprehensive list of pros and cons: “The Good: Human intelligence in the form of crowdsourcing will solve big problems. Crowdfunding will lead to greater innovation. Better tools will enable more people to harness the power of the Internet. Ubiquitous computing will have its biggest impact in the medical sphere. The Internet will continue to be difficult to control. The Bad: Corporations will continue to increase control and invade privacy while going entirely unregulated. The government will spy on us while failing to protect us from corporations. Cyber bullying and hate speech will continue to grow unfettered. The US education system will continue to decline; as a result, we will continue to see a poor match in labor demands and labor pool, along with a continued growth of economic disparity in this country, as well as outsourcing to tech-related jobs abroad.”

Tom Hood, CEO of the Maryland Association of CPAs, responded, “The Internet will connect more and more people and devices (Internet of Things), allowing more and more knowledge sharing and collaboration. This will allow even the poorest people in the world to participate in the global economy.”

Janet Salmons, an independent researcher with Vision2Lead, Inc., wrote, “I hope that the Internet allows for broad global exchange and positive contributions to education, health care, and other sectors of the culture and economy. User-controlled privacy protections and ability to restrict what is shared will allow people to feel free to communicate without having their data used for purposes they do not intend. Without such protections, we will see a chilling effect on social networking.”

Mark Johns, a professor of media studies at a liberal arts college in the US, said, “There is a diminishing middle class and an increasing divide between an educated, tech-savvy, and connected upper class versus the have-nots. Such divides can lead to political unrest, but I don’t see that coming in the next decade yet.”

Mark Nall, program manager at NASA, wrote, “The Internet will have an increasing impact on people’s lives. It is and will continue to be the go-to source for news and information. Greater knowledge and better decisions are to be expected. But there is a lot of crap out there too: for example, radicalizing propaganda that can serve as an echo chamber for reinforcing beliefs not based on fact. Unfortunately, that will increase as well. Internet-based AI analysis capabilities performing [investigative and explanatory] functions like what reporters used to do could help.”

Nicole Ellison, an associate professor in the School of Information at the University of Michigan, predicted, “As more of the global population comes online, there will be increased awareness of the massive disparities in access to health care, clear water, education, food, and human rights. I am hopeful that those of us in developed countries that have resources to spare will use them for good via new tools and technologies designed to help those in need. This may be via increased awareness and political action; it may be through micro-loans and other innovative economic mechanisms; it may be through crowd-sourced tutoring and educational practices; it may be via a mechanism that hasn’t been invented yet. But I am hopeful the power of connectivity will result in increased awareness and empathy leading to real and necessary action.”

David P. Collier-Brown, a system programmer and author, said the near future is bringing “first-world norms leaking into the third world, and the backwoods of my own country.”

Elena Kvochko, manager for IT Industry at an international organization based in New York, noted, “Currently, over 40% of the global population have access to the Internet. By 2025, the global penetration of the Internet will probably be closer to 100%. The widespread availability of mobile devices, including in developing countries, will greatly contribute to this trend. Similar to today, citizens and businesses will rely on the Internet for their daily lives, business operations, education, trade, and all major transaction. By 2025, many of the current monopolies driving the prices of connectivity up will probably no longer be sustainable and will no longer be able to limit the access to the Internet. Therefore, more and more people will be able to have access to the Internet. However, in order for the Internet and connectivity to have a positive impact on the economic developing, particularly in emerging economies, it will be important to provide the necessary education and training.”

Rex Troumbley, a research assistant at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, wrote, “Given the rapid changes the Internet has already undergone in the few short years it has existed, and the volatility of the networks it connects, attention should be focused on what comes after the Internet, rather than projecting the current iteration (even if slightly improved) into the future. The greatest impact of the Internet between now and 2025 will be its displacement, either by new technologies or by new policies, and its dispersion into multiple Internets.”

Laurel Papworth, social media educator, wrote, “The rise of peer-to-peer banking sees the breakdown of high street banks. Gamification sees the workplace change to microjobs, measured and monitored. Personal reputation is quantified by scoring systems and algorithms so complicated that only the bots that change them by the microsecond can understand them. The current walls that separate humanity (demographics, psychographics) will diminish, and after a massive trolling war, value systems will be re-established with people fearful to say what they really think, in case their personal reputation score—online, viewable, actionable—diminishes. X Factor 2025 continues to rate well.”

Liam Pomfret, a PhD Student in online consumer privacy at the University of Queensland, Australia, said, “I’m concerned that the biggest impact of our uses of the Internet may be the continuing erosion of privacy in the name of convenience, not just for the current generation, but also for children, even babies, whose parents are already over-sharing information about them on social networking sites. With people effectively losing control over any information about themselves that anyone shares online, I fear that many people will have already had their privacy permanently ruined before they even reach the age of majority. We are already seeing the greatest impact of the Internet happening right now, in the inability of governments to suppress information about their mass surveillance of average citizens, with any attempts to do so invoking the Streisand Effect. It is my hope that this will lead to greater global consciousness about these issues. While I’m pessimistic that this will lead to effective change by 2025, I believe it’s an important first step.”

Mattia Crespi, president of Qbit Technologies LLC, responded, “Good will come from the ability to share resources without boundaries, enabling new forms of well being and wealth. The advantage is total connection. The Internet is driving us to connect more, to adapt to its evolving structure. Our social system will have to follow and adapt to how the Internet is changing our society. How the system will adapt is the big question. It’s probably related to our ability to implement and evolve policies, our collective thinking, and a more balanced use of resources.”

Stephen Abram, a self-employed consultant with Lighthouse Consulting Inc. and CEO of the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries, wrote, “By 2025, we will have a more fully emerged digital print hybrid eco-system. There’s no one right plan and one right target. The pieces are emerging as we approach acceptance of digital money and digital contracts and court documents. The widespread adoption of smart devices (and the movement beyond smartphones) will only limit economic activity for those who put in too many barriers or fail to build rugged sustainable digital pathways for their countries, firms, and communities. The greatest impact will be on world health. Unfortunately, I don’t foresee the same impacts on the biggest causes of sadness—education, poverty, nutrition, etc. I pray that the political and global will will be there to solve the big problems and not just the digital ones—global warming, war, under-employment, etc.”

John Anderson, director of broadcast journalism at Brooklyn College, wrote, “The number of social interactions conducted online will increase, and that will continue to transform our interpersonal interactions, perhaps in ways that leave us more isolated as individuals. Our definition of ‘community’ has been irrevocably transformed by the Internet, and its reverberations will continue to work themselves out. Economically, the Internet represents the inexorable drive toward the frictionless capitalism that many market-thinkers aspire to. This is a double-edged sword, as life is not a marketplace, and the more we define online life through a market prism, the more detrimental this evolution might be. Politically, the Internet is the next battleground for electioneering. But as a tool of e-government, I can’t see that happening in the United States, where the infrastructure is so hobbled. I’d love for more of us to be like Iceland, open-sourcing our Constitution, but for that to happen in a decade is a pipedream.”

D.K. Sachdev, a consultant and adjunct professor in satellite systems, wrote, “Younger generations today often forget—or are ignorant of—that Internet by itself is only a software system; its capabilities depend entirely on the underlying telecommunication network’s growth. Therefore, for Internet to really grow, there should be a matching recognition of investment in telecommunication networks. Today’s stock evaluations appear to ignore this. It is no use having terabits reaching your street if the link to your office or home is still of 20th century vintage!”

Ian O’Byrne, an assistant professor at the University of New Haven, wrote, “I have a feeling (sadly), as is with all science fiction, that we’ll be much further behind where we think we could/should be in 2025. We’ll have the potential but could always do better. Wearables, robotics, AI, and the Internet of Things have the potential to significantly advance our notions about literacy, communication, and socialization. The challenge is with personal social norms, and legislative bodies to keep up.”

David Sarokin, president and researcher at xooxleanswers.com, wrote, “Bitcoin? Cybercurrency may revolutionize international finance, much as email revolutionized international communication.”

Rajnesh Singh, regional director in the Asia-Pacific region for the Internet Society, wrote, “We can already see the positive impact of the Internet. I have done a bit of work around bringing connectivity to rural and underserved communities, and the improvement it can be bring to people’s lives and their socio-economic development is nothing short of amazing. By 2025, it is my hope that we are able to say that all communities—wherever they may be around the world—have access to the empowering Internet. The need to bring people online has become a movement, and the movement will continue.”

Luis Hestres, a doctoral candidate and graduate research assistant at American University School of Communication, responded, “One of the most significant and negative impacts the Internet is having and will probably continue to have through 2025 is its ability to facilitate selective exposure to political information. Citizens with no interest in political information, who in the past might have inadvertently stumbled upon such information, now can almost completely screen out such information. Meanwhile, political motivated citizens can increasingly screen out information that challenges their ideological predispositions. The Internet has been a boon to motivated reasoning, and will probably continue to be so through 2025 and beyond.”

Dara Barlin, founder of A Big Project, responded, “Technology will play a part in the reduction of emphasis on governments—and the increased empowerment of individuals acting at the collective scale. People will start realizing that when we work together through technology (e.g. crowdsourcing) we can not only make decisions about where is the best restaurant to go to on a Thursday night, but we can also come up with the best ways to beautify our neighborhoods, create affordable structures for childcare, address persistent local crime, and even heal the environment. Zipcar, AirB&B, and lots of other technologies such as these are already empowering the individual to transform the way he/she engages with other people in various communities. Thanks to technology, by 2025 we will have a much higher level of inter-connectedness with, and inter-dependence on, people in our communities and around the world. It will enable us to see one another from an entirely new perspective. And because of the growing knowledge of our interdependence, it will support us in having greater empathy and understanding for one another. In spite of our longstanding differences, technology will take us one step closer to building a culture of peace.”

David Golumbia, an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, wrote, “Because of the deep integration of ‘the Internet’ (whatever that is), I don’t know how in the world one would begin to answer this question. ‘The Internet’ fits into almost every domain of ‘human communication.’ So, ask, ‘What do you expect to be the most significant overall impacts of our uses of human communication on humanity between now and 2025?’ It’s an absurd question and suggests a kind of what Morozov calls ‘Internet-centrism’ that is not helpful to clear thinking. Fantasies about what might happen are everywhere, some more and less realistic, but we can already see from technology existing today that our predictions are unhelpful in any number of ways.  That said, I see the benefits of ‘the Internet’ as much less interesting and compelling than most corporate and technology producers seem to, and I worry very much that we are heading toward one of those ‘soft totalitarian’ futures that thoughtful science fiction and theoretical writers and artists have been so repeatedly warning about, and yet whose warnings seem to be dismissed off-hand as ludicrous, even as we build technologies even more invasive than the ones Orwell, Huxley, and others imagined. What will the biggest political, global, environmental events between now and 2025? Who in the world knows? These will play vital roles in the function of technological and communicative changes. Fantasizing about the future might be useful for science fiction writers, and even for some kinds of technology development, but I was recruited to this survey via a list that discusses politics and the politics of technology (very generally), and I don’t find such fantastic questions (except within limited domains as thought-experiments regarding particular issues) to be useful.”

Phil Salem, professor of communications at Texas State University, wrote, “Although I envision a continuing flow of innovation by 2025, people will develop more definitive preferences for adoption and engagement. Instead of jumping to the next best thing, more people will reflect before interaction or communication. Our use will mature while maintaining our willingness for innovation and our acceptance of difference.
Beatrice Ligorio, an associate professor at the University of Bari in Italy, predicted, “There will be more access; even people from under-developed countries will have access to Internet. It will be the majority of people globally, and this will change the Internet culture. There will be easier business and interchange. There will be new markets—it is hard to say which ones. The Internet will invade everyday life more and more: news, purchases, friendships, traveling, education, jobs, and even culture.”

Linda Rogers, the founder of Music Island in Second Life and grant writer for Arts for Children and Youth in Toronto, wrote, “Political controls and government spying could put a chill on the Internet. In addition, the increase in uses of tablets and phones could slow the development of rich content and 3D virtual reality that requires powerful processors. The Internet reduces the power of national borders to stop the flow of information, money and jobs.”

Nicole Stenger, Internet moviemaker, wrote, “By 2025 the Internet will have faded in people’s consciousness, like roads and trains. It will also be fragmented, not just geographically, as the threat exists today, but because what used to be in the common pond will have migrated to other technologies. The Internet of knowledge that consumes text and images may remain the ‘Internet,’ but e-commerce, for instance, may use other platforms, where one can access products directly in showrooms, beamed in space, possibly in small cabins. These alternative systems won’t use the current fiber optics infrastructure, but could instead use technologies more like the microwave radar, which in its current usage in big cities is lethal to children, and probably everyone, but by then, will have, like x-rays, lost most of its noxiousness.”

Daren C. Brabham, assistant professor at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, University of Southern California, wrote, “The most significant impacts of the Internet on people’s lives by 2025 will involve augmented reality applications. Augmented reality tools such as AR mobile browsers (like Layar) or wearables (like Google Glass) will become affordable and widespread, and we will grow accustomed to seeing the world through multiple data layers. This will change a lot of social practices, such as dating, job interviewing and professional networking, and gaming, as well as policing and espionage.

Russell Bailey, library director at Providence College, wrote, “The possibility for most humans to send and receive data, information, multimedia files, communications, monetary transactions, etc., via the Web/Internet will, in some ways, level the existential playing field. Hierarchical access, power, and authority will persist, but the lowest common denominator will have been raised for most human beings.”

Erick Iriarte, expert in law and new technologies for Iriarte and Associates, responded, “El impacto de mayor nivel sera la inter-relacion entre acceso a la informacion y plataformas de vidrio en casi cualquier espacio, esto significa que no ‘navegaremos en Internet’, sino que ‘Internet estara alrededor nuestro.’”

Jamie LaRue, director of Douglas County (CO) Libraries, wrote, “It’s clear that, from now on, it’s all about connections. We’ll be always on, always wired, and that constant stream of information will be both boon and bane. The devices will get smaller and smarter, more integrated into our lives and bodies. That total immersion in digital data is huge. Will it undercut totalitarianism and tyranny by providing unfiltered access to global thought and political movements? Or, will it utterly enslave us to commercial and financial entities? Will we be free or fettered? Or, both at once to varying degrees, in various spheres? I do have a sense that the choices are sharpening, that a tipping point is approaching, and that we will need, as never before, the balance of a strong public sector advocate for individual liberty and exploration.”

Linda Neuhauser, clinical professor at the School of Public Health at the University of California-Berkeley, responded, “In the health arena, the Internet and associated personal application will significantly help people understand and better control their health. This will probably affect those who are in the top socio-economic half of the US population. The Internet will greatly help democratize political decision-making over what is happening now in 2013. Those in the lower one-third to one-half will likely have much less access. Economically, we have seen great changes in the connection between the Internet and consumers’ shopping habits and influences. This will greatly increase.”

Aron Roberts, software developer at the University of California-Berkeley, said, “The most significant impacts of the Internet will likely come in the life sciences domain, including medicine and public health. Computing and communications—not just the Internet, per se, are starting to have transformational impacts in that domain, both in research findings and in day-to-day health care. Not only are we likely to benefit from personalized, rather than mass, medical treatment, we also may well see wearable devices and/or home and workplace sensors that can help us make ongoing lifestyle changes and provide early detection for disease risks, not just disease. We may literally be able to adjust both medications and lifestyle changes on a day-by-day basis or even an hour-by-hour basis, thus enormously magnifying the effectiveness of an ever more understaffed medical delivery system. We’re also likely to see profound negative impacts. These include an ever-greater and more sophisticated ability on the part of many different actors to spread ostensibly credible but ultimately false rumors, however subtle the falsity, to incite mobs and even warfare. We may also see greater government control, in far more countries, of Internet communications and access to or outright distortion of information from both internal and external sources. (Filtering may be augmented by bot networks that can overwhelm truth with massive quantities of almost impossible-to-detect falsification, in tone, scope, or context, akin to a Gresham’s Law for Internet-accessible information.) It will be far easier to identify ‘troublemakers’ early-on, via social media connections; identify their locations, via location tracking built into nearly all devices along with emerging sensor networks; and remove them from having any social impact during periods of unrest, likely attempting to irreparably smear their reputations in the process. We’re also likely to see more—and more effective—attacks on infrastructure, including power grids and control systems for water and sewage treatment and transport, as well as a trend towards greater isolation of these resources from the Internet. And, of course, the idyllic healthcare changes predicted above may also be vulnerable to these attacks.”

Katie Derthick, a PhD candidate in human-centered design and engineering at the University of Washington, responded, “Ubiquitous computing will help relieve the burden created by the current app-centric form of technological innovation and solution on our ability to manage our time, health, relationships, social skills, spirituality, presence, attention, and cultural and class divides. A social backlash is coming; it’s already building. The most powerful effect embedded/wearable devices and the Internet of Things will have is to free us from technology, while allowing us to continue to benefit from it to the same and an even greater degree. The Internet will free us from obsession with ICTs as they currently exist, allowing us to return our attention to the present moment, the environment, and ourselves—to the material and tangible aspects of living that are earth and company, rather than devices and form factors, and the intangible aspects that are spirit and relationship, rather than records and profiles. It will bring scientific advancement through international collaboration; increased constituent voice in political discourse; and a freedom from technology devices that will allow our attention to return to more subtle and fundamental aspects of living.”

Ousmane Musatesa, an academic and self-described citizen of the world, wrote, “I’m confident that a better management of Internet will turn surely as a mere benefit for everyone and everywhere. Otherwise, it will become a ‘clustered’ and isolated tool that will separate people along country, cultural, or economic lines. We are at a crossroads for a better or worse Internet future. Wrong decisions made now will design the pattern for the next decades for all the Internet community!”

Larry Press, a retired professor, writer, consultant, blogger and part-time teacher, said, “Open information in socially relevant areas like politics and medical and educational market places will improve quality of life, as well as efficiency. I also expect education—general, vocational, and as entertainment (lifelong learning) to impact many people’s lives. Here is a blog post on education: http://cis471.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-high-cost-of-education-has-been-one.html”

S. Craig Watkins, a professor at the University of Texas-Austin, wrote, “One of the fundamental challenges we will have to face is how rising social and economic inequality will continue in the face of impending technological transformation and innovation. The real challenge will be how we adopt the technological changes and the practices that form. While technology will certainly enhance our ability to connect to each other and consume information it will also enhance our ability to create healthier and smarter communities. This will lead to new kinds of networks, new kinds of literacies, new kinds of practices, and new kinds of lifestyles. The question is: will these new networks, literacies, practices, and lifestyles be the primary province of the highly educated and the highly skilled?”

Gail Ann Williams, an online community management consultant, responded, “I hope for a spread of science and tech literacy and for the growth of citizen journalists, scientists, artists, makers, and other empowered, smart amateurs. This can be crowd-sourcing at a deeper and more profound level than fundraising and is part of the best of what has happened so far. May it continue.”

Marc Brenman, a faculty member at Evergreen State College (WA), wrote, “We will see shorter attention spans, less reading, more lies, more celebrities, more sports, and a continued degradation of privacy. These developments will happen because the technology will continue to develop and be used. It will outpace any rational thought about why it should. It will happen just because it can. The current National Security Agency scandal is the wave of the present and near future.”

Carol Wolinsky responded, “The greatest opportunities may lie in health care with the ability to view/diagnose/treat problems remotely. This will be of most help in areas with scarce medical resources in the United States and around the world. A cell phone, or whatever replaces the cellphone, will be the vehicle for transmitting this information to the experts, wherever they reside.”

Ray Schroeder, associate vice chancellor for online learning, University of Illinois-Springfield, responded, “The role of the Internet will only increase in the coming years. As inevitably as communication expanded through print, telegraph, telephone, radio, television, cable, and satellite, we will see the Internet continue to thrive—evolving and growing each year, each day. Over time, the beginning and end points of communication will evolve from keyboards to voice; from voice to thought, just as monitors and smartphone screens will evolve into electronic visualization in the brain. Refinements will come at the endpoints of communication—circumventing eyes and ears for more direct, precise, and rich brain-to-brain communication. These refinements will enhance learning, decision-making, cross-cultural understandings, and more. It is hard to choose one impact as the greatest; the impacts will be economic, social, political, and cultural. Economies will shift from industrial to information and customization. Social connections will expand even further to enable deep communication between people who otherwise would never have had contact. Politics will become instant, and we may even realize the possibility of online vote casting. Cultures will merge over time online—breaking down barriers and building understandings.”

Brian Newby, election commissioner in Johnson County, Kansas, wrote, “The Internet will be used for elections, good and bad. It’s non-logical to draw any other conclusion based on the proliferation of the Internet in other industries.”

Susan Brudvig, a professor at Indiana University East, wrote, “The digital divide between people in more developed nation-states and lesser developed nation-states will be non-existent, or at a minimum, non-consequential.”

Melissa Rentchler, a teacher and librarian, wrote, “Politics and instant polls of voters will direct Washington’s currently dysfunctional ‘leaders.’ Publicized data collected on responding to these polls and correlation to subsequent leader performance will be integral to election outcomes.”

Nathan Rodriguez, a doctoral student at the University of Kansas, wrote, “Cyber attacks in the United States, or possibly elsewhere, will highlight our over-reliance upon digital information given the relative lack of security of that information. Such a cyber attack, in my estimation, would be as jarring to the psyche as an extended power outage: we will only realize the extent of our dependence upon the digital realm when we become unable to fully access it at will. The potential loss of information in such an attack will create an even more lucrative industry for IT security firms.”

Hoyt Gardner, a retired college professor, wrote, “The biggest impacts will be in medicine, transportation, education, communication, and how we deal with each other.”

Celia Rabinowitz, a library director, wrote, “Increasing use of the Internet will contribute to an increasing appetite for quick information. This will mean people spending less time evaluating the mountains of information out there and people less motivated to spend time doing that. This will have an impact on our ability to educate and to create deep readers and thinkers. Information overload may lead to people limiting what they read, watch, and hear. And how access to information, entertainment, etc., is supported (i.e., pay structures) may have an impact on all of us. It may be the struggle over paid vs. free content in the realms of academic information, news, and entertainment. This struggle involves the producers and consumers (purchasers) of content primarily, but the content is increasingly (and may soon be almost exclusively) delivered on the Internet. The next ten years will see some significant changes, and the Internet has been the catalyst for them because of its role as the medium through which we read and watch.”

Kevin Ryan, a researcher in communications and marketing for the City of Charlotte, NC, wrote, “Even more in the future, when someone says ‘what’s the situation,’ you will, in fact, be able to tell them right away. I guess the way we deal with everyday life will be like being in battle—instant decisions based on the info on hand. I fear reflection and thoughtful consideration will take a back seat to instantaneous decision-making. We will become more like teenagers in our reasoning. We will make quick decisions, good and bad.”

Nick Wreden of the University of Technology Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, wrote, “Wireless broadband and computing capabilities will be available to even the poorest and most remote regions of the world. Imagine the collective intelligence locked up in the minds of the rural poor. Providing them the tools for creativity, collaboration, and learning will produce significant benefits.”

Gonzalo Bacigalupe, a professor at the University of Massachusetts and the Basque Foundation for Science in Spain, responded, “I expect a continuous expansion of its use. Other technologies will be built on top and will be the focus of our concerns. The Internet will be like electricity; we will use it as needed and think less about it. There will be other sort of technological breakthroughs that will be built on the power of connectivity, but we may not necessarily know now what that is.”

Maxene Spolidoro, a director of family health and nutrition for the state of Massachusetts, responded, “The Internet will help equalize opportunities for people in developing nations, rural communities and unsafe urban areas. With knowledge and education available a click away, and open communication nearly unstoppable, opportunities are limitless. There will be no reason not to participate in the political process; we might truly have democracy.”

Karen Riggs, a professor of media arts and studies at Ohio University, responded, “I am being hopeful here. In the current context, democratic participation worldwide takes place in diverse and relative contexts, often not all. Stronger Internet channels offer the potential for citizens to communicate within their political contexts to challenge oppression, as we are seeing among Chinese Internet users who are working to question their government’s actions. Theirs is not a stable mode of communication, due to the government’s strong concern with regulating content, but it is persistent. Relatively recent events, such as the earthquake that resulted in children dying in the rubble of a substandard school building, and the terrible train accident that also resulted from lax production standards, aroused a critical mass of social ire. Citizen communication caused embarrassment for the government, which had to address the cause of these tragedies. With such dispersed networked power, citizens in future years could crowdsource pressure on the government to improve conditions. Looking at the domestic context, democratic participation is largely flawed in the United States and almost entirely controlled by powerful influences. An example is the Koch brothers (and their under-the-radar organization, ALEC). It is not an exaggeration to say that the Koch’s, and people like them, control the greater share of who gets elected and re-elected to powerful offices, what legislation passes, and how people understand this process and play a role in it. While the Internet is not a panacea by any means, it does create the potential for crowdsourced networks to influence spatial communities and thought communities, building a more educated understanding of the political process and opening channels for democratic voices. It is plausible to think that future international conflicts, such as war, might be settled differently. This will require complete dedication by educated citizens to the project of spreading not only understanding of the political arena but also to raise interest. These will not be easy tasks, so the nurturing of future thought leaders depends on conversations in the current day. Some of these are taking place on social media, but they are perhaps hampered by such practices as the growing clicktivism, that at once encourages feel-good satisfaction and user irritation. Byte-sized, Upworthy-style pieces can be enlightening but often have the same results. People and organizations with an interest in building democratic participation must be building and leveraging greater ideas to promote sustained interest among people who might join teams to stand up for themselves and for others.”

Andrew D. Pritchard, a PhD candidate and instructor in media-and-society issues at North Dakota State University, wrote, “Expanded access to information will continue to be the Internet’s greatest blessing, especially coupled with software tools that allow users to process massive amounts of information into answers to one’s unique questions. At the same time, I expect two harmful trends to continue. First, I expect the digital divide to persist between those who can afford to update their technological tools and connections and those who cannot. The price of technology will continue to decline, but never to zero, which will place a regressive burden on users with the least discretionary income. Second, when everyone talks, who listens? I expect the self-absorbed narcissism of much of our media culture to continue, along with the scorn for genuine expertise that makes strongly held opinions the mark of an ‘expert’ within a like-minded echo chamber.”

Norman Weekes, a volunteer for a non-profit organization, predicted, “There will be advances in information localization. There will be democratization in local use of real-time information regarding crime, business, education, politics, community through Internet, and mobile applications.”

K.G. Schneider, a university librarian, responded, “As technology continues to permeate our lives in the context of growing environmental disasters and climate change, we may be vulnerable to creating barriers of consciousness to the larger world around us. There is much great potential in technology, but the tale of the Good Samaritan reminds us of the need for those of us with access to the best technology to be fully awake to the plight of others and fully aware of what is happening to what one prayer book calls “this fragile earth, our island home.” At its best, technology can be empowering, connecting, vitalizing, and amusing. But it can also create or increase the barrier between our awareness of the full range of human existence and life as we live it wrapped in chips and metal.”

Rashid Bashshur, senior advisor for eHealth for the University of Michigan Health System, observed, “Humanity may be harmed or gifted by advances in Internet technology. While change—i.e. advances in technology—is inevitable, a lot will depend on how we manage to harness the new capabilities to improve the human conditions without sacrificing liberty and without increasing the divide between the haves and the haves not.”

Alison Alexander, a professor at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, wrote, “There will be increased and ever-changing threats to privacy and security; increased ability to isolate self from personal interaction; threats to employment; shifts in power structures with unforeseeable consequences. Globally, there will be better access to information and entertainment, as well as the killer apps that will emerge; merged devices; an emerging global economy with potential smoothing of differences in affluence; improved governmental and corporate efficiency; and advances in research due to collaboration and sharing of information.”

Cordelia Anderson, a technology administrator for the Charlotte/Mecklenburg NC Library, wrote, “Overall, it allows more flexibility in work and life and connects people with common values, goals, and interests, who would otherwise be isolated. It can help you be smarter if used for that purpose—learning quickly about topics of interest, satisfying intellectual curiosity quickly, and leading to more questions. The biggest danger is this issue of being present and yet not present, and the concern that our dependence upon things (GPS, data, instant communication) makes us weaker and less able to solve problems on our own.”

Michael LaTorra, an assistant professor at New Mexico State University, wrote, “We will have more and more connectivity via the Internet, including real-time machine translation of human languages, such that if we want to know what people in other nations are saying, we can bypass the official and semi-official news sources, and hear from the people themselves. There will be more direct communication this way, but also more confusion, cacophony, and more opportunities for ‘bad actors’ to twist and misrepresent event reporting. In my view, the Internet is the essential tool for the global awakening of humanity to our inherent and prior unity. The more we can know one another on the level, without messages going up and down through institutional hierarchies before they reach us, the more we can work together to undo the baleful effects of past mistakes and injustices, as well as to stop those that are presently ongoing. Among the many individuals and groups that share similar visions in this regard, I admire most this one: http://da-peace.org/”

Maurice Vergeer, an assistant professor at Radboud University Njimegen in the Netherlands, wrote, “The Internet and big data will evolve together. Maybe even Web 3.0, the semantic Web, will emerge. In itself, that’s a good thing. The question is what we will do with big data. Technology in itself is neutral. What people do with it makes it a good or bad thing. Concerning the bad things that can be done with the Internet and big data, it’s a rat race between those with good and bad intentions in terms of setting up security and hacking that same security. The problem is that increasingly more people are dependent on it. So, any damage that’ll be done will affect more and more people. Whereas we’ve seen an increase of people and organisations get connected, maybe in the future we will see a trend towards more disconnected niches. In terms of communities of interests, this would result in extreme cyberbalkanization, or, in terms of security, organisations that will not connect electronically as a last result for to safeguard data and hacking systems. Another issue is that the Big Data era enables automated micromanagement of systems. Whether or not that’s a good thing, I do not know. On the US stock exchange, split-second decisions whether or not to buy stocks have led to severe crashes. I wonder what that would mean for our daily lives when systems quickly react on false/biased information and act accordingly. The Web will become less visible and the dedicated Internet applications and appliances will become dominant.”

Thomas Haigh, historian of information technology and associate professor of information studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, wrote, “There will be more of the same—more reliance on online communication, more online retail, more online business and education, etc. Established technologies such as Web, email, and blogs will continue to be important and they will be supplemented by rather than replaced by emerging technologies. The average person in 2025 will probably be more like a young, rich, tech-savvy person today in patterns of Internet use. Internet technologies are becoming cheaper and easier to apply in countries where other kinds of technological infrastructure and development have not been fully adopted. They will continue to find new ways to use them, and I suspect their impact will be much greater in this context than the relatively minor lifestyle changes I’d anticipate in already developed nations over the same period. Where people did not already have telephones, newspapers, television, reliable mail, etc., the potential for real upheaval is much greater.”

Jackie Rafferty, a library director based in Massachusetts, responded, “The valuable role of the Internet in facilitating a highly connected world—i.e., a global village—is positive in that it allows everyone to know what is happening everywhere. No dark secrets can remain hidden. The challenges for users will continue to be determining what is honest and accurate information and in being protected against financial, social, and political exploitation.”

Walter Minkel, manager of a public library system, responded, “There will be ads everywhere (oh, boy), voting online (at last), and an Australia-style requirement for everyone to vote, possibly with a fingerprint or retinal scan. There will be some way for a high-quality, lifelong education that can be accredited for building a career to be delivered to everyone, everywhere. There will be devices that can be implanted in, or temporarily attached to, our bodies to monitor our health—there are good and bad points to this kind of technology, but the goal would be to cut health costs by catching medical problems early. Some technology will improve transportation. Right now, I live in a horrible commuting city, and spend enormous amounts of time sitting at red lights, wasting time and burning fuel. If we must continue to commute to our jobs—and I still think most people will in 2025—there needs to be some new way (online?) to maximize the time we spend moving. I am assuming that in most Southern and Western cities, people will continue to have few mass transit options because everyone wants their own car. Libraries, which are traditional in nature yet forward-looking, will not be ‘eaten’ by the Internet, the way many people seem to believe. Because e-books have been so heavily protected by publishers and aren’t available free, it will be some time before libraries go out of business. Libraries also serve as something precious in the 21st century: a space for folks who want a quiet place to concentrate. How many places do that without selling you something? If you haven’t been in a library recently, you would be amazed how many people fill the tables, sitting quietly with their laptops and the free Wi-Fi, or using the free PCs. We’re nowhere near dead yet.”

Trudy W. Schuett, chair of the Regional Council on Aging for Western Arizona, wrote, “The Internet is already pervasive, but most people just don’t realize it yet. However, the Internet and most of today’s technology has an Achilles heel—solar flares and power failures could damage most, or all, of it beyond redemption. Until protection from these dangers or technology that is immune to them are developed, the future is precarious indeed.”

Michael Starks, a computer lab and community digitization assistant, wrote, “We’re at a turning point with the Internet. The healthcare.gov launch may have finally shown elected officials how important Internet technology is to the nation and to their own political futures. The theft of 40 million credit card records from Target is the latest and, so far, one of the largest cyber-heists; it might have opened people’s eyes to the risks of depending on the Internet, including the fact that the most threatening of the online criminal organizations are physically beyond the reach of any US law enforcement authority. Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos has purchased The Washington Post. Streaming video services are about to overwhelm broadcast television. The NSA will be reined in, or it won’t. Journalists will learn to thrive online, or they won’t. Libraries will adapt to the digital world, or they won’t. The outcome of all those situations is unclear to me at the moment. Whatever direction the Internet takes, that direction will be clear to us within five years.”

Sam Moreland, a mechanical engineer, wrote, “There will be an expectation of constant connectivity and privacy will become increasingly scarce.”

Fran Mentch, an academic librarian in Ohio, responded, “There are forces that will create a worldwide monoculture of sorts. I am very afraid of the weaponry that is being developed. I am also very afraid of the loss of privacy, as governments can use it to hunt down anyone who does not agree with them—that includes the US government. The Internet does bring some wonderful things also—the explosion of creativity and the ability to share it and the ability of people to band together.”

Amy Crook, senior administrative assistant for the IT department of a large CPA firm, wrote, “The Internet will continue to be used in much the same way it is now—information sharing, research, communication, fundraising, shopping. I do believe there will be much more homogenization and much less small-town/community identity, as well as less independent/small business brick and mortar shops. I believe we will lose a lot of regional flavor and color. The Internet is a force for good but that it is easily manipulated into a force for illegal and harmful activities, such as copy-cat criminals finding out how to do things that are bad in tremendous, news-catching ways, and ignorant people posting examples of harmful, hurtful things to do to strangers and/or enemies. These negative impacts of the Internet on humanity will increase because thirty seconds of stupidity can elevate a thug into a hero in the minds of like-minded, evil people.”

Maureen Schriner, an assistant professor of communications at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, responded, “One of the most important developments to follow in the future will be how the Internet—and information technology in general—affects the income divide. Given the current increases we are experiencing in the United States in the divide between rich and poor, technology could exacerbate the gap. Or, technology could be used for good, to reduce the gap. If the Internet can be effectively used as an educational tool, to improve the health and education of populations living in poverty, it will have broad effects on our economy, our culture, and our environment.”

Barbara Genco, manager of special projects for Library Journal, responded, “Will life be better? I hope so. I am deeply concerned that the Internet—once an almost utopian tool for sharing research and information has devolved into an economic engine—chasing a buck instead of truly making lives better. Remember, ‘Don’t be evil?’ Not so sure anymore. The issues of privacy and cybercrime will be key. There will be even more mobile devices. The biggest question—will the United States ever bridge the digital divide?”

K.S. Clair, a secondary educator, wrote, “There will be progress in certain areas: i.e., medicine and marketplace. Generally, however, technology and the Internet will settle into a routine pattern, much like the telephone and telegraph. Recognizing the Internet for what it is—a tool—is key to its future use and place in society. The Internet’s greatest impact will be in allowing people to experience things that are otherwise impossible and have opportunities to interact with people on a macro-level. The social aspects dominate now but will recede into the background once people realize that the Internet isn’t anything new or exciting. There are certain fundamental concepts that remain unaltered: the need for human interaction, personal engagement, emotional connection; the Internet is a poor substitute for these.”

To read full official survey analysis, please click here.

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