Elon University

The 2016 Survey: The Future of IoT Connectivity (Anonymous Responses)

Anonymous responses by those who wrote to explain their response

Internet experts and highly engaged netizens participated in answering a five-question canvassing fielded by the Imagining the Internet Center and the Pew Internet Project from July 1 through August 12, 2016. One of the questions asked respondents to share their answer to the following query:

As billions more everyday objects are connected in the Internet of Things they are sending and receiving data that enhances local, national and global systems as well as individuals’ lives. But such connectedness also creates exploitable vulnerabilities. As automobiles, medical devices, smart TVs, manufacturing equipment and other tools and infrastructure are networked, is it likely that attacks, hacks, or ransomware concerns in the next decade will cause significant numbers of people to decide to disconnect, or will the trend towards greater connectivity of objects and people continue unabated? Please elaborate: What is the most likely kind of physical or human damage that will occur when things are networked? How might governments and technologists respond to make things more secure and safe? Is it possible to network physical objects in such a way that they will generally remain safe for the vast majority most of the time?  

Among the key themes emerging from 1,201 respondents’ answers were: – People crave connection, it’s human to connect; it is magical, even addictive. – As life increases in complexity, convenience is the default setting for most people. – The always-on younger generation can’t imagine being anything but connected. – Resistance is futile: Businesses will punish those who disconnect and social processes reward those who connect. – Fully withdrawing is difficult; maybe impossible. – You can’t avoid using something you can’t discern; so much of the IoT operates out of sight that people will not be able to unplug completely. – Risk is part of life; the IoT will be accepted despite dangers because most people believe the worst-case scenario won’t happen to them. – More people will be connected and more will withdraw or refuse to participate. – Some will opt out. – The IoT isn’t that grand, so why worry either way? – Effective regulatory and technology-based remedies will emerge to reduce threats. – Governments should be doing more to regulate negligent companies, punish bad actors. – Lack of trust and safety and privacy issues will move those with fears to withdraw from the IoT. – “TMI” and less-than-stellar performance from complex technology systems will drive dropouts. – The dangers are real, whether or not people choose to disconnect; threats are likely to turn into attacks and other acts, possibly some violent. – Security and privacy issues are magnified by the rapid rise of the IoT. – IoT security concerns endanger civil liberties.

This non-scientific canvassing found that only 15.5% of these particular respondents said significant numbers will disconnect due to vulnerabilities in the Internet of Things, and 84.5% of these respondents said “no,” there will not be a large disconnect, instead most people will move more deeply into connected life.

If you wish to read the full survey report with analysis, click here.

To read credited survey participants’ responses with no analysis, click here.

Written elaborations by anonymous respondents

Following are the full responses by study participants who chose to remain anonymous in their response when making remarks in the survey – only including those who included a written elaboration. Some of these are the longer versions of expert responses that are contained in shorter form in the official survey report. About half of respondents chose to remain anonymous when providing their elaboration on the question (anonymous responses are published on a separate page).

These responses were collected in an “opt in” invitation to several thousand people who have been identified by researching those who are widely quoted as technology builders and analysts and those who have made insightful predictions to our previous queries about the future of the internet.

An anonymous principal engineer wrote, “Governments regulate. Industry maximizes its profit. So the cost of being insecure has to exceed the cost of securing the system. Is it possible to network physical objects in such a way that they will generally remain safe for the vast majority most of the time? No, and I see little interest in improving the situation over next 10 years. Most people will move more deeply into this life whether they want to or not because cities, governments, schools, etc., (society in general) will become more connected. It won’t be the choice of an individual. In addition, people like their gadgets and features and are willing to put up with a lot. As the older generations die, the newer generations will be more familiar with using the systems and inured to the problems. If there is a major disaster then there could be a change.”

An anonymous respondent, wrote, “The term ‘connected life’ is unfortunate. The term ‘connected world’ is a fad. People were always connected with others. Let’s go back and read Alvin Toffler.”

An anonymous respondent said, “There will be a disconnection from the larger Internet of Things, but it might look more like switching from shopping at Costco and shopping at the smaller local ma-and-pa store. Kind of like the farm-to-table movement, where you can verify the folks with whom you are transacting.”

A principal consultant commented, “Unfortunately, people are still mired in this Hollywood view of computer security, where with a little sweat and moxie, any teenage computer genius can break into any computer. The reality is breaking into a computer networks through technical means is both difficult and unusual. Any of the people with those skills can usually make better use of them honestly. Computer networks don’t have to be perfectly safe, they just have to be safer than the human vectors. Fifty years ago I could have bribed a janitor to let me in somewhere I didn’t belong, and I can still do the same today. Until we solve that gaping security whole, the computer issues are largely irrelevant.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Most people are unaware of or do not care about these types of issues until it directly negatively affects them.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “It feels like an inevitability that some series of high-profile ransomware attacks, e.g., turning off an IoT pacemaker to take out a U.S. senator or CEO will happen, because human greed is not a force we’re likely to eliminate in the near term. That said, I doubt the backlash against that kind of attack will be disconnection, it’ll be the solidification of security standards and ‘trusted’ brands of devices. There will always be both greedy bastards and the tinfoil hat brigade, but my hunch is that both sets will remain on the fringes, with the middle 90% opting to make smarter decisions about who/what has access to certain types of information/devices instead.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Some sort of ‘airplane mode’ will become more common, and a sizable minority of people will use it regularly, but most will not disconnect entirely.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “The drive toward a more highly connected world is being motivated by corporate profits. Highly automated and connected devices allow these companies to maximize profits. However, the everyday person has little to no say in how certain types of networked devices (e.g., water meter) are deployed in their lives. The biggest threat currently is the loss of personal information. However, the future threats will be loss of life due to companies taking shortcuts in how they connect all these devices. While technologists can create protocols and network services that can help minimize threats, it will fall on governments to regulate how certain types of network connections (e.g., medical devices, power grid) are deployed/maintained.”

An anonymous principal architect at Microsoft wrote, “Increased use of IoT devices is inevitable—but many of these devices are negligently designed. Their designers will need to face civil and criminal liability before they clean up their act.”

An anonymous IT architect at IBM replied, “Most people will unwittingly embrace the Internet of Things because, frankly, they are too uninformed (and in some cases too stupid) to know any better. We already have auto manufacturers selling vehicles that must be accessed via proprietary, un-testable protocols, which are highly vulnerable to hacking. When will people wake up? I refuse to drive a vehicle with any sort of troubleshooting interface beyond a strictly physical one. I plan to buy a refrigerator and dishwasher soon so that I’ll be able to maximize my use of them before one cannot buy a disconnected appliance. I do not need to install some app on a smart phone and remotely actuate my dishwasher. Sorry folks. I do not need to see how many ice cubes were ejected on a given day. This is just inane. Worse, I cannot trust the manufacturers of such devices not to send information back to the mother ship. Information such as frequency of use could easily correlate absence from the home, such as for vacation. That is, if one’s live vacation pictures posted to Facebook don’t tip off perpetrators first.”

An anonymous network CEO wrote, “People are willing to sacrifice some level of privacy for returns on livability, time and cost savings, and social expectation. Even as risks may increase, so long as technology is offering an easier/faster/less-expensive option people on the whole will choose it.”

An anonymous director of academic computing commented, “People won’t connect in the first place.”

An anonymous professor at a state university observed, “Those who want to fleece the sheep will get the sheep to come on in.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “The move to a more deeply connected life may not be by choice but sheer necessity.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “We need a better model for trust.”

An anonymous director commented, “It is getting increasingly difficult to disconnect, and the IoT will not make it any easier. At the same time, device manufacturers must understand that not everything has to be connected, and that connectivity comes with inherent risks (for many good examples of this, check out @internetofshit’s Twitter feed).”

An anonymous director of human rights replied, “Most private actors will move people towards interconnectedness by default because it is more commercially viable. People will likely have to actively choose to disconnect, meaning that many will automatically become more connected. Governments and companies should consider connectedness by consent instead of by default as a guiding principle, along with articulating clear and effective privacy protections and safeguards—including greater liability for private actors involved in serious privacy breeches.”

An anonymous user experience manager observed, “We’ll probably be pulled in, like it or not. One won’t be able to buy anything other than the proverbial internet-ready toaster, for example. Connectivity will be standard, not an upgrade, like it or not. I don’t think this will happen easily, though. There will be tons of stuff that falls off the hype curve, and consumers will be angry about being forced into the new paradigm in some cases.”

An anonymous systems administrator observed, “Despite Edward Snowden’s best efforts, the general population seems completely unconcerned with privacy and security risks. Ignoring those, it’s all about being able to Twitter tweet via your toaster.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “We will have no f***ing choice.”

An anonymous assistant professor at a public research university said, “People will dive more deeply because they will have to. Institutions will effectively offer no viable alternative to cloudware systems for medical treatment and information access.”

An anonymous engineer at Cisco commented, “It is inevitable that more people will be connected more and more, but we do not expect the security, which is a cat-and-mouse game, to significantly improve relative to the number of things getting connected. People will lose their lives due to of criminal exploits of vulnerabilities.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “This is a marketing issue more than a technological issue. I see little value in most IoT systems, but if there is money to be made, industry will push it, regardless of the inherent risks.”

An anonymous respondent said, “This will be a question of inevitability, not of real choice. As more devices come with these built-in capabilities, there will be little chance to avoid them and, as most people won’t really care, they won’t try to avoid them.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “I expect that there simply won’t be a tenable option to disconnect; the best an individual who is conscious about these issues will be able to do is mitigate the damage. The most likely form of harm is economic, basically theft of ID’s or actual money; though I expect that there will be intentional and unintentional deaths and bodily harm; it probably won’t be too common. Governments won’t be able to do anything as long as they remain willfully ignorant about how these systems work, and they continue to attack security researchers, encryption manufacturers, etc. If they actually worked to create knowledgeable groups within government about technology/networks they might be able to create some headway by requiring security audits and strongly encouraging (or even requiring) FOSS software on network-critical points that might be able to interrupt some attacks. Technologists would need to critically assess what is going on, instead of assuming that there will be some sort of technological breakthrough (quantum computing for example) that will wave a magic wand to fix everything. Air gapping is possible but would require a complete reversal of the present course. This simply won’t happen in 99%+ of situations.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “It is not really up to the people.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “People are stupid. Thinking is hard work.”

An anonymous chief technology officer commented, “Until security improves, a significant number of sophisticated users will disconnect. I’m not going to install a Nest, my next TV will not run apps, even if it costs me more, and I’m not going to get a Samsung internet-connected refrigerator. I will willingly give up convenience until the developers get it right. If they ever manage to.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “Innovators are putting more into what they can do rather than how to keep it safe. People are influenced by gee-whiz gizmos, frequently at the expense of safety.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Everyone who is familiar with the Internet of Things will understand that in the event something is attacked, hotfixes/security updates will be released to address it. Otherwise they will lose consumers/users and fail as a company.”

An anonymous senior design researcher commented, “These don’t feel like the right options—some will become more connected (wealthier, educated), and some will become less connected or only minimally so. I worry about monopolies with code that is vastly distributed and controlling home systems failing, causing entire regions to become unstable due to a line of code.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “People will trade their safety for convenience. They always have. They always will.”

An anonymous respondent, “They will connect because they have no choice. The manufacturers are seeing this as an excellent way to gain profits with a steady income from fees and service charges. The amount of non-IoT items will decrease.”

An anonymous principal and thought leader observed, “There is not turning back. We are so dependent on these tools for the most basic elements of life that we can only go deeper. “

An anonymous director US government technology organization wrote, “I am hoping that today’s news about death of a person in an automated car will not stifle innovation or experimentation.”

An anonymous principal engineer commented, “Both are true. Connection overall will continue to increase, even as significant number of people disconnect. True safety in IoT will not be possible, but it won’t matter; in most cases people will not have the ability to opt out.”

An anonymous professor at a public university observed, “The commercial viability and profitability of these digital tools will drive efforts to preserve their security and safety. More attention is being given to these safety issues by government agencies and efforts are underway to increase digital infrastructure security.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Ease and convenience already trump security concerns for many people much of the time, and this will most likely continue.”

An anonymous media industry technology consultant said, “The most likely use of connected things will continue to be in areas that cannot negatively affect life and health (i.e., non-medical devices). I think it is possible to network more and more kinds of devices, but the manufacturers need to learn how to articulate their use of the data transparently without divulging an ‘acceptable level’ of personal information. These systems will need to change from being cast in stone (not upgradeable with bug fixes and security fixes) to being upgradeable in the field.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “This is the wrong question. People who can afford these appliances will have no choice as the new appliances will all be connected and it will happen seamlessly, we won’t usually notice. Our data will just be collected and hashed into an algorithm by people who only look for outcomes that are economically beneficial to themselves without regard to any theory behind the equations.”

An anonymous systems engineer working for the US government predicted, “The appeal of connectivity, and its benefits, will outweigh the risk for most people. For significant systems—public infrastructure, health, and safety—the risk may be high enough to prevent widespread adoption.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “No change anticipated.”

An anonymous professor of sociology at a state university wrote, “As more systems move online, the costs in money and convenience of disconnecting from them will rise. There will be few who disconnect unless criminal hackers and governments trying to disrupt systems in other countries impose heavy costs.”

An anonymous senior researcher said, “Barring some global catastrophe, the internet will continue to play a more central role in our lives. There will always be people who do their own thing, but the vast majority will grow ever-connected and embrace the efficient movement of ideas and things that the internet provides.”

An anonymous UNIX administrator wrote, “Personally I’m not going to let the IoT into the house, but I’m an elder geek, and I know the Achilles heel of all embedded tech is security. Only Google does this at scale, with Weave, but the potential damage is too great. I doubt most people will understand that though and that convenience and connection will rule.”

An anonymous writer said, “While there are certainly concerns with security, people desire ease and convenience overall. The ability to ‘program’ your house to have a hot meal ready just as your self-driving car delivers you from the office is quite seductive, especially as the ease of movement and increasing access to the world around you encourages people to spend more time hustling and bustling. Ten years ago my family was out and about, engaged in post-work/school activities one or two nights a week. These days we are not out only one or two nights a week. Meals are often very rushed affairs, squeezed in between bustling into the house and climbing in bed, made with whatever is quick. In ten years an Internet of kitchen things could result in healthy, hot, and flavor-filled meals ordered using a smart phone app an hour before the family arrives home.”

An anonymous systems engineer replied, “Corporate greed prevents things from being done well, thus the Internet of Things is a horrifically stupid idea that will drive people back to using technology that can’t be corrupted by corporate greed.”

An anonymous software architect commented, “Most people will be unemployed and not be able to afford such conveniences or see them as time savers when they have too much time on their hands already (no jobs). The surveillance state will only grow as the profit motive or ‘national security’ interests dictate. This can come to no good end.”

An anonymous network architect at a major international telecommunications company said, “It’s just starting, and security implications have not been thought through enough. There will be a huge uptake at first, then some well-publicised disasters, and people will withdraw until a more secure second generation evolves.”

An anonymous software architect wrote, “Security problems, which are already bad, will become more and more visible until we reach some kind of tipping point, hopefully leading to regulation of such devices and meaningful sanctions against vendors who ignore security problems. However, I expect a significant number of people will reject these devices regardless of whether their security improves.”

An anonymous software engineer replied, “Your average user sees exploits in the news on a regular basis. Recent court decisions say you have no expectation of privacy of your computer is connected to the internet. The combination of these would lead me to decide the potential gains are not worth it.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Lots of people are already turned off by the connected home and other IoT bullshit. I could foresee a robust marketplace for ‘old-fashioned’ consumer products that just do something really well without the bells and whistles. For example, a dumbed-down smartphone with limited icons on the screen, or a car with push-button interfaces instead of a touchscreen operating system.”

An anonymous senior security architect who works for a non-US national telecommunications provider said, “Disconnection seems to imply fully unplugging. I simply expect a relatively low rate of adoption over the next 5 to 10 years, rather than seeing people move more deeply into connected life. There are privacy and security concerns. Many of these technologies are still fundamentally Web-based, which also means their security is poor, not just on the device but wherever their data flows as well. Greater adoption will lead to real headline-grabbing incidents unless the security and privacy of these solutions is given more thought. ‘Fail fast’ is not a recipe for success when playing with other people’s security cam footage, their remotely lockable front door, or the self-driving function of their car. Connectedness for some systems is not new, although features continue to be layered onto them. Cars, for example, were an obvious choice, but cellular-based services in cars have been around for a long time, offering support services, navigation, and some forms of remote operation. This is not new technology. Connecting it to an app on your phone is a very small step. Home automation has also been around for a while, but aimed more at hobbyists and using open standards. The problem with the current solutions and where they appear to be headed is twofold: there’s a general lack of commitment to any single platform and the platforms are proprietary. These proprietary solutions continue to leave early adopters stranded. It’s hard to see how the market can keep these people investing in new tools or platforms unless these two related problems are resolved. People will change a major computing device like a laptop or gaming system every 3 to 5 years. They change mobile devices or other smaller mobile electronics more like 2 to 3 years (with some people cycling faster than this). The price point on a stove, refrigerator, home heating/cooling, or other infrastructure is, naturally, priced like infrastructure. Customary cycle times are closer to 10 years in many cases, and sometimes more, especially given the costs and the inconvenience. There’s a higher need for dependability during the life cycle, too. This means early technology platforms may be abandoned as long as the core function is still available. But 5 extra years of non-functional operation does not leave the user with a positive feeling about the vendor or marketplace. This implies a need for changes in how IoT devices are connected to the things they promise to control. It implies a change in how the vendors are operating in this space. They either need to commit to long-term support (similar to Apple’s support of their older phones) or they need to adopt open standards for inter-operability and stop playing the ‘customer lock-in’ game.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Disconnection has already started. It is not possible to run an open network safely. The internet was not intended for this, and all the Band-Aids and new ideas they apply won’t make it so. Either they have to lock down the internet so they can do this, or they have to give up on this to keep what is good about it already. Strict liability for anyone who holds data would be a good start. Ninety-nine percent of our problems are from organizations keeping people’s private data that they have no legitimate need for, and then it gets stolen. Stop keeping the data, security rises exponentially and then other things might be possible.”

An anonymous respondent predicted, “Something very bad will happen involving an IoT system and we will see halt in this trend. Also current corporate practice related to device support (i.e., the mass deactivation of devices made by the company Nest) doesn’t encourage people to depend on these systems.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Major attacks, etc., may put a significant number of people off using these technologies, but after a certain point it will become impossible to fully participate in society without them. Perhaps a greater number of people will form alternative low-tech communities.”

An anonymous respondent said, “More, and more serious, data breaches are likely to push people away from the Internet of Things. Stalkers using home webcams to collect information, breaches of medical records that are used to blackmail thousands, and subverted automobiles will drive educated consumers away from insecure systems.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Both answer choices will be true. Significant numbers of people will disconnect (a large minority). For the majority of people, daily life/work will be more deeply and routinely connected.”

An anonymous respondent said, “The improvements in one’s life from the IoT are nominal and not worth the risks. I want to use technology to fix real problems, not to tell me when I need milk.”

An anonymous director of business appraisal said, “The internet of things—unless strong cryptography is adopted—will die on the vine. Some always connected devices will remain, of course, such as those connected with entertainment, but every bit of bad press about a hacked webcam or heating system will drive people away from total integration.”

An anonymous IT director wrote, “If people can afford to, they will disconnect and reduce the amount of digital ‘distraction’ or engagement in their lives. But, paradoxically, it will be the most affluent who will be able to afford this ‘luxury.'”

An anonymous respondent said, “If people disconnect, it will be temporary. Many entities have an interest in offering low security (companies with proprietary interests, hackers, etc.). I believe things will continue as they are now: putting out fires and moving on.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “There is little general consistency in society with respect to security concerns and use of smartphone/internet access devices. Privacy will be determined by those who own the devices/networks, not by the individuals. The necessary incentives to employ and upgrade and maintain the highest security levels of the IoT may not yet be in place, and may not be able to be driven by market forces—it remains to be seen.”

An anonymous associate professor active in wireless grid research said, “The Internet of Things is a cyber-physical security disaster in the making, Think Sony Pictures (the company was being run by North Korean-employed hackers for some weeks) times 50 billion networked things. Now that is a disaster movie I never want to see. These IoT risks will lead many sensible people to be very wary of the first-generation crap now on offer by Silicon Valley Unicorns and the usual suspect firms. A new model for cyber-physical system security is needed if it is to be advisable for people to have faith that Internet of Things devices and objects are safe to use and can be relied upon. Fortunately, some of us have been working on such a model for 15 years. The Open Specifications Model for Wireless Grids in the Internet of Things version 0.4 will be released in the fall of 2016, incorporating blockchain, military-grade, embedded system security mechanisms, and role-based access control to make the Internet of Things safe. We hope :). The most likely damage is that which is present today, where malware and specifically ransomware takes over carelessly guarded or unprotected systems.”

An anonymous senior researcher at Microsoft wrote, “. Then there will be some catastrophe—some enormous hack that costs thousands and lives—and then people will try to disconnect. For example, self-driving cars take off and then someone figures out how to hack them causing an enormous loss of life in one fell swoop.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “People want convenience, and that trumps a lot.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “Whether one chooses to disconnect or not, they’re still impacted in the event of major cyber attacks (e.g., power grid, SCADA systems, etc.). That aside, if people are taking a more narrow personal view (e.g., is ‘my’ smart TV or car going to get hacked), it feels like an odds game—the chances that I would get singled out in a group of millions is small (and therefore why not just be deeply connected).”
An anonymous respondent working in global public policy for a major telecommunications company said, “User connectivity will increase as connected devices proliferate and consumer use cases mature. However, cyber-physical threats will increase as all types of devices become connected.”

An anonymous journalist, editor, and author wrote, “People will complain about the risks but feel helpless to avoid them.”

An anonymous associate professor and research center director at a major US university commented, “The convenience seems to outweigh the harm for most people, regardless of the privacy they are giving up.”

An anonymous executive director at a major provider of open source software observed, “Most of us will become more connected—and we won’t see the trade-offs—privacy, security, personal agency, risk of failed systems. At some point, market actors will emerge to give people a connected life with fewer trades offs and more control. But this will take a long time.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Online connection will become unavoidable. People may want to resist but they will be unable to do so as more commerce and communication moves to digital formats.”

An anonymous author and communications analyst replied, “Most people are unaware of the security risks of increased connection or they don’t believe they will be affected in the event of an attack. The convenience of higher connectivity is perceived as outweighing potential risk.”

An anonymous senior research scholar at a US university’s digital society lab said, “Both statements are likely to be correct. Most people—the poor, vulnerable, dependent—won’t have the means to disconnect. Social and political systems—education, employment, government services—will require them to stay connected. Those educated, independent, and privileged enough to prioritize their rights and liberties over public systems will increasingly disconnect or manage their connectedness. Privacy and liberty will become ever more the province of those with economic means.”

An anonymous research scientist wrote, “New devices will be IoT by definition so it will be hard to get ‘offline.””

An anonymous respondent commented, “Disconnection is just too hard; connectivity is addictive.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “Never mind  personal privacy being violated or the risk of fraud. Over time, we will grow hardened or thick-skinned to these possible penalties of connectivity.”

An anonymous chief marketing officer replied, “Breaches and security concerns may likely grow and they may create sensational headlines and a high-profile disconnectors movement, but the proliferation of connected and networked devices will become so critical to our lives that those who choose to disconnect will be considered the fringe, akin to those who shunned electricity and automobiles in the 20th century.”

An anonymous information systems security manager said, “A fair number may choose to disconnect. The Boomers are retiring, and for many it may offer an opportunity to simply disengage from the online pace they have kept up.”

An anonymous Web developer commented, “Unless there is a major attack, affecting literally billions of people happening in the near future, more people will be connected. As the number of connected people grows, individual cyber attacks and fraud will probably grow as well. Increased attacks probably will not cause massive disconnect, because the positives greatly outweigh the risks. Pickpocketing hasn’t made people stop carrying wallets, has it?”

An anonymous vice president of product at a new startup observed, “The big threat is the deplorable level of security in the Internet of Things ecosystem. It will gradually improve. A combination of an industry standards certification approach like Underwriters Laboratory and regulatory oversight like the Consumer Product Safety Commission could help.”

An anonymous techops lead replied, “We’ve seen this movie before. ‘Don’t ever put your credit card on the Internet.’ ‘The Internet isn’t secure enough for banking.’ Etc. If enough people trust it, it becomes imperative to fix it, and it gets fixed. But some of the early pioneers randomly get arrows in their backs. People already share their entire lives with (fairly insecure) laptops and tablets. There is an entire antivirus industry, focused on the wrong part of security. There will be many massive problems, where houses, toasters, video feeds get taken over because nobody knows what is secure and what is not. But over time, best practices will emerge (just like most sites encrypt their passwords with a salt, but soon they will use two-factor authentication). Governments can help by making sure customers who are harmed can sue and get money from negligent companies. Toyota didn’t care about software best practices, but was forced to pay a billion dollars and given a wakeup call: they are a software company now. It’s best for consumers if products are self-updating. But that requires 1) trust, and 2) laws. Without laws, companies would rather focus on selling a new product rather than fixing an old one. Hopefully the law will say ‘either fix the bugs or open-source so anyone can fix the bugs.'”

An anonymous lead field technician said, “People as a rule are lazy and fascinated with gadgets. Almost no lay people have even the most rudimentary knowledge of how computer/network security works and manufacturers of ‘smart’ devices design products also lacking in or ignorant of that knowledge.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “People will not be able to avoid connecting, though many will disconnect.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “People will largely ignore security just like they do today.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “There will be no option but to do so as companies can extract subscription fees for use of connected devices. More items will require connectivity and hence more sharing of personal data by users. Companies are monetizing more thanks to the Internet of Things.”

An anonymous systems administrator for a municipal government observed, “The trend has been moving in this direction since the inception of the common internet back in the mid ’90s. It will continue to deepen despite the risks and pitfalls.”

An anonymous data center technician replied, “Currently, marketing is stronger than people. Safe and open systems can be built.”

An anonymous IT manager and sysadmin said, “The concerns around the Internet of Things and hacking/privacy are completely legitimate, but this will not stop or even significantly slow the march of progress. Identity theft hasn’t stopped millions from using online banking. Phishing and ransomware haven’t stopped millions or even billions from using email. It’s true that someone hacking into your medical device or your car is scarier than hacking into your email, but ultimately convenience trumps security. People will give up a measure of security if it makes their life easier. The security experts behind the Internet of Things will just have to make sure that their security measures are strong enough that the convenience outweighs the risk. People didn’t disconnect from online banking or email—they developed anti-virus software, spam filters, identity theft insurance, and so on. By and large, we find ways to work with technology rather than against it.”

An anonymous university professor said, “People will increasingly connect because life will increasingly depend on the IoT or at least be made easier. I personally am resistant to the IoT because of the current lack of security of all kinds of online data and the potential risk. A data breach on Facebook would be much less serious to me than having my home security system hacked. But I am more technically knowledgeable (and suspicious) than most people I know. Again, the hackers will always be out front of the efforts the combat them.”

An anonymous futurist wrote, “The vulnerability of networked devices is a technical issue. The original inventors of the Internet are basically good people so they did not recognize all the ways that their devices can be exploited. As the bad actors expose more problems, they will be fixed. I expect that networked devices will become as reliable as our electric power grid today. It will occasionally go out—and it will be a catastrophe. But we will survive.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “People won’t have much choice. The most-serious vulnerabilities involve the most-capable players. They can use stealth or blitzkrieg tactics on systems like infrastructure that no one can escape. The technology of an independent lifeboat does not exist on Earth.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “People will continue to value services/convenience for privacy when they explicitly consider these tradeoffs and that this will become more normative, expected, and necessary. There’s an open question that’s not quite about damage, safety, or trust, but it will be fundamental: about how people think about and interact with these agents that collect and often act on information (c.f., human-robot interaction research + human-computer interaction research that focuses on ubiquitous computing).”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Only if businesses and technologists work to have systems learn to question outright and avoid unusual instructions.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “People will not willingly or voluntarily disconnect. They may modulate. A little. But they will not disconnect. Look, families stay together even when the families are demonstrably dysfunctional and the individuals in them recognize and agree to the dysfunction—even when it’s mentally and physically abusive and harmful to stay together. Look what it takes to disband a family that objectively 99% of people would agree needs to be disbanded. This doesn’t make staying together right or good. It just is. Social bonds are strong. Very strong. Electronic connections—they’re just an easy, relatively cheap, diffuse, pervasive, ubiquitous way to maintain and manifest social connections. It doesn’t mean that people won’t also seek collectively effervescent experiences—raves, concerts, sporting venues. It doesn’t mean they’ll forgo physical contact. Or going to restaurants. But they’ll also maintain their own social networks/connections in those venues. Disconnect? Ridiculous.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “‘Moo,’ say the cattle.”

An anonymous system administrator said, “Accidents will always happen and they will be contained only by the actual interface between humans and their artificial environment. For instance, electrical networks are quite dangerous but they have all kinds of fuses and fail-safes to prevent massive disasters. The digital systems that don’t provide damage-limiting features will disappear. Not until after creating some disasters, of course.”

An anonymous product specialist wrote, “Vulnerabilities are no exception to a rule, they will always prevail.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “People will become more connected. It is easier than ever to ignore reality and immerse yourself in what you want to see with the internet. People are good at choosing ignorance and staying ignorant, and threats against the digital life many treasure is something many will choose to remain ignorant of until it’s too late and staring them in the face.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “We are quite capable of compartmentalizing life, holding opposed thoughts in our minds with an easy satisfaction. Think, for instance, of people who complain about technology, while driving cars, flying in planes, being mended by laser surgery, etc. Or consider creationists who fail to eschew the products of modern science. We should therefore expect to see people shunning one aspect of the Internet of Things, while continuing to use networked devices for others. I’ll get mad at people spamming my fridge, but still use Twitter to complain about it. Someone else will be disturbed by ads coming from their car’s tires, yet still drive the vehicle to meet the date they met online. There’s just too much of modern life immersed in the digital world to give it up.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Security is an afterthought for manufacturers and for customers until it bites them. The demand for insecure devices can be sustained fairly far by marketing, which is terrible. We’ll wind up being spied on not just by companies and governments, but third-rate hackers. Any individual who draws the anger of the online mob can look forward to having their basic life hacked. Ordinary devices have no business being connected to the internet. There will be a smaller but healthy market for security-conscious devices with limited connectivity. This might mean that only the wealthy and/or sophisticated have access to secure or unconnected options.”

An anonymous senior software engineer said, “The costs of disconnection are already high, and will only become higher.”

An anonymous software engineer wrote, “More people will be more deeply connected despite potential dangers. The system is not closed and will iterate to a balanced trade off between benefit and risk. It’s not possible to be generally safe with any technology and the benefits will not be worth either the risk or the cost of security, so use will be more limited than the hype suggests. Government intervention will be late to the party and mostly ineffective other than to assign liability. Technologists will have solutions but will be mostly ignored by management until there is liability risk to them. Naturally evolving standards in the marketplace can have a mitigating effect on security risks.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “The general pace we are seeing towards interconnectedness will continue with more appliances and regular objects will go online. Hacks will happen but the idea of ‘it won’t happen to me’ will keep people undeterred “

An anonymous respondent replied, “The stickiness and value of a connected life will be far too strong for a significant number of people to have the will or means to disconnect.”

An anonymous assistant professor at a US state university said, “This is the hardest to project. It depends on how public policy addresses the security of information online and the protections the governments provide from cyber-attacks and the like. The federal government has struggled to develop a comprehensive policy to these ends, and if that continues, and cyber-attacks intensify, it is likely that the government acts in response to any serious uptick rather quickly, preserving public trust. But ultimately it will depend on appropriate government action.”

An anonymous doctoral candidate of anthropology wrote, “There will be less choice to disconnect since most physical infrastructure comes standard with connectivity online and most of these will not function to capacity without that connection.”

An anonymous scholarly communications librarian at a state university observed, “People will have to be networked, because to be otherwise will mean difficulties getting employment, health care, and other services that are necessary. As the Millennial generation continues to take over employment and politics in this country, more attention will be paid to these very relevant concerns which seem to be misunderstood by the aging Boomer generation that is often still in power. We have had great moments of mistrust, which have stemmed largely from an underestimation of threats and a misunderstanding of the network and how they work. As citizens become more educated about the network and how things are connected, more pressure will rise to provide safe and secure spaces. However, organizations that exploit the data and the network should be found and swiftly punished instead of tacitly ignored as we see so often.”

An anonymous associate professor at the a state university wrote, “Most people will move more deeply into the connected life because they will face significant penalties to social capital, accessibility of goods and services, and work opportunities if they do not. However, I do not necessarily view this as a good thing. The vulnerabilities created by interconnected devices are very real, and will disproportionately impact the most marginalized.”

An anonymous emeritus professor at a large state university observed, “I can see no signs that mobilized resistance to increased connectivity will be very effective in limiting it. I see no signs that governments, as presently oriented and influenced, will even attempt to limit the harms that result from a connected Internet-of-Things. I don’t actually see this connectivity developing a high degree of instability, but catastrophic failures will occur, and our responses will be inadequate, in part because a population that has become dependent upon this network will not be willing to shut it down.”

An anonymous vice president of global engagement replied, “Much of the deeper dive into connected life will be unconscious, as people forget that internet connectivity is what enables many of the conveniences they rely on. Like electricity, connectivity will be taken for granted. The hacks and attacks to come will be followed by market-driven and regulated demands for increased security and resilience measures, rather than people deciding to disconnect.”

An anonymous research communication director based in Turkey said, “Like it or not, it seems like avoiding the Internet of Everything will be quite difficult.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “The choice to disconnect will require increased boldness with each passing year. A renewed appreciation for one’s privacy may require some measure of shock to inculcate. The apparent benefits of connectedness to broad swaths of information, provided through, say, Google, clearly offsets worries about their accumulation of personal information. Governments may have to take a lead in providing tangible benefits to offset the threats embodied in their fact-gathering. This is the sort of thing that may dovetail nicely with future employment opportunities, or lack thereof, in the shape of something like ‘universal basic income.'”

An anonymous futurist and impact investor commented, “The answer is yes to both options. There will be a 95/5 distribution with most opting for connection, with a relatively large group—5%—trying to live in the ‘real’ world. This will only last a few decades, however. Eventually we will all be connected.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “It’s the tragedy of the commons: the individual incentives are great (better health, more convenience, saving money) while the long-term consequences for society are grave (loss of privacy, autonomy, safety in one’s own home).”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Most users are going to assume (perhaps correctly) that they aren’t going to be high-value targets for that kind of crime, and will not worry too much about it. The pressure to increase that connectivity will likely increase, and it’ll just get even more onerous to disconnect from it. If you need to buy a TV, and all but one model are smart TVs, and most of the smart TVs make it really hard to not connect to the internet, most people are going to end up with a smart TV connected to the internet whether or not they actually wanted that.”

An anonymous economist at Yale University observed, “A century ago the luddites tried. They failed.”

An anonymous professor observed, “Technological advances are simply making life’s most boring aspects more efficient and easier to complete. At the same time, people’s jobs demand increasingly more time and effort. As a result, the efficiencies produced by technology (say in banking or home security or shopping) become necessary instead of remaining as luxuries. No one can not use online services any more. At the same time (and not unrelated to the increased requirement for work hours), businesses are reducing the number of people who work for them and who are able to assist customers in person. As a result, whether people are skeptical or not, they will be forced to conduct their business online and to include other connected services in their daily lives.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “The Internet of Things is far more likely to manifest as a collection of unconnected wide area networks—all the traffic lights in my town, not all in my country. Of course things will be rushed to market and products will be badly designed and poorly made (see any other innovation). Eventually there will be standards and hardening, physical and logical separation, etc. Early adopters like the Netherlands and Singapore are more likely to take a practical approach to implementation than places like the US. This means we’ll end up with two standards—the global standard and the American standard. And they won’t cooperate.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “The fact that we remain as ignorant as ever about basic security—like granting Pokemon Go full access to your entire Google account, or that posting on Facebook ‘I do not give permission to Facebook’ is somehow an efficacious legal strategy. I don’t see people learning from anything soon. The advantages and integral part the internet plays in our lives—especially for those who grew up with it—will outweigh the fears and risks.”

An anonymous research officer said, “As long as security is taken seriously and mistakes are learned from, people will continue to shift to more connected, convenient, and efficient options. We’ve seen this over and over again that people are willing to embrace life-altering technologies as long as the risks of use seem reasonably mitigated. This is true for everything from planes and existing automobiles, to cell phones and debit cards.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “The incentives are too great to turn away, plus the toy-like effect is attractive.”

An anonymous professor of political science at a private university commented, “People don’t really think that much about such things. In part, this is because we don’t really have a choice about ‘disconnecting.’ In part it is because we have a natural tendency to underestimate risk.”

An anonymous technology writer replied, “People do what’s easiest and buy what’s available. If the fridges, TVs, and cars on the market are all connected, that’s what people will buy. Very few will go out of their way to look for something lower-tech, especially if doing so comes at a financial or convenience cost. So that said, industry and regulators alike absolutely need to start designing from a safety-first perspective. Right now many don’t. The hackable, default-password status of thousands of IoT devices is deplorable and developers should know better. Also, patching is a problem—my father-in-law has an electric car with a robust on-board system but he doesn’t take it to the dealer for software updates (it can’t do over-the-air patching), which means it’s vulnerable to all kinds of problems. Likewise that car in the UK last month that got bricked from an OTA [over the air] update—huge problems. It will never be possible to design in such a way that no criminal can think of a weak point and a way in, but at the very least design should try not to be the lowest-hanging fruit.”

An anonymous freelance consultant commented, “Most people will choose the easier path of increased connectivity, but over time we will see public trust in government, corporations, and markets continue to erode as more breaches of security come to light. Governments, corporations, and markets are already suspect by increasing numbers of people, worldwide. Lack of effective security will further erode trust and increase discontent. Combined with job losses due to automation, this will not end well.”

An anonymous professor of public policy at a public university replied, “We can’t resist the flickering, ego-boosting images.”

An anonymous respondent said, “The convenience of connectivity is too strong to keep people away from the Internet and online life.”

An anonymous professor of political science at a state university wrote, “Most people will buy into the convenience, efficiency, and expanded information of smart devices even if their trust diminishes. Financial transactions are an exception.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “It really depends on system defaults and opt-in vs. opt-out. Most people will do whatever option is default, whether it is being connected (which will likely continue to be default) or disconnected.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “I think the connectivity craze is absurd and way too much stuff is being connected—networking and linking can serve real needs (and hurrah for distributed banking and access to knowledge) but it can also be turned into marketing gloss and status BS. Lack of safety will not deter most people from jumping onboard with overuse (as with overuse of plastics and of antibiotics and of food preservation technologies and small electrics) if it is marketed as convenient and safe (even if it is neither).”

An anonymous respondent said, “The IoT will increase the pervasiveness of ‘transactional overhead’ problems (e.g., adver-surveillance). The desire by IoT providers to preserve the supplemental commercial opportunities afforded by such unwanted side channels will make the IoT less secure, and thus contribute to more frequent and severe incidents over time, but these are unlikely to deter the vast majority of consumers from embracing the IoT more and more unless/until some profoundly disruptive and unavoidably high-profile incident interrupts the trend.”

An anonymous technology writer replied, “People do what’s easiest and buy what’s available. If the fridges, TVs, and cars on the market are all connected, that’s what people will buy. Very few will go out of their way to look for something lower-tech, especially if doing so comes at a financial or convenience cost. So that said, industry and regulators alike absolutely need to start designing from a safety-first perspective. Right now many don’t. The hackable, default-password status of thousands of IoT devices is deplorable and developers should know better. Also, patching is a problem—my father-in-law has an electric car with a robust on-board system but he doesn’t take it to the dealer for software updates (it can’t do over-the-air patching), which means it’s vulnerable to all kinds of problems. Likewise that car in the UK last month that got bricked from an OTA [over the air] update—huge problems. It will never be possible to design in such a way that no criminal can think of a weak point and a way in, but at the very least design should try not to be the lowest-hanging fruit.”

An anonymous CEO commented, “People and businesses will continue to ignore basic security until they become or know of a risk. Education in areas with the greatest impact will be the priority. Technologies such as the Nest thermostat will be scrutinized more so due to its faults and significant costs and lack of long-term support. Unfortunately, I don’t think its possible to network objects together to ensure they remain safe—a hacker is always one step ahead.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Safeguards would need to be put in place for cars, etc., but I think people would avoid the things they didn’t want connected.”

An anonymous professor at a state university said, “The convenience afforded by connected devices will make it hard for consumers and citizens to disconnect. There will be business incentives as well as a need for public policy to create stronger consumer- and data-protection practices and regulations.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “The individuals who will be using this technology are the teens of today. It will be second-nature for them to use and interact daily across many devices and modalities.”

An anonymous CEO commented, “The benefits will drive adoption. As such, if the value is delivered, the IoT will grow. Most people will not be moved enough by the privacy implications to bail on adoption.”

An anonymous professor emeritus said, “I doubt the tide of technological change can be held back.”

An anonymous associate professor at a private university replied, “The positives outweigh the negatives in this case. People are looking for quick and easy solutions and thus will naturally gravitate toward such solutions, thus they will opt for more connection even though there are more risks involved.”

An anonymous founding director of a futures initiative at a university said, “Being disconnected won’t be a viable choice in most cases, even if people wish to disconnect. It’s already almost impossible to apply for any service, jobs, or anything without connection and that will be more the case in the future.”

An anonymous professor at a polytechnic university wrote, “It is likely that the net benefits will outweigh the harms. We have seen how individuals sign hundreds if not thousands of ‘terms of agreement without reading them, how people give up personal data for enjoyable or useful services (Facebook, Pokemon Go, etc.). People want to trust institutions and products.”

An anonymous principal at a communications consultancy with previous top-level experience at several of the world’s top technology companies commented, “There will not be any big disconnect. We are already too reliant on a vast number of online systems and networks. It’s only going to grow. Government must work with the tech sector on smart solutions for better security. And yes, it is possible to network objects that will generally remain safe for the vast majority. That’s the case now.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “They won’t have the choice unless they are willing to go completely off-grid. Even some tax forms must now be filed online.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “It is becoming increasingly difficult to disconnect, even in the midst of threats and distrust. To be an active, engaged member of society, it is now virtually impossible to be completely unplugged.”

An anonymous professor at a large state university wrote, “It is becoming more costly to be disconnected. People will accept some negative consequences, expecting that the positive outcomes and convenience will outweigh the negative impact of connectivity.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Pokemon Go. Enough said.”

An anonymous researcher at a futures-research institute said, “Disconnecting will not be financially viable, as non-connected jobs will vanish, making disconnection the actions of a small fringe.”

An anonymous cultural informatics professional and information systems analyst wrote, “We are in the very beginning of interconnectedness until bionics and robotics will be engaged, so I am not yet concerned as a citizen and as a scientist-professional”

An anonymous professor at MIT commented, “People will connect; people will feel ambivalent about the systems they have connected into. We will live in a world of ambivalent participation.”

An anonymous managing director replied, “Better underlying infrastructure—in hardware and software—will be developed (two steps forwards one step backwards but progress will be made). Better systems will be developed to limit the damage. It will remain a cat-and-mouse game. If populist governments are able to use the internet (via Facebook, Google, etc.) for their hideous purposes, things will change and people will become far more careful.”

An anonymous respondent who works in government said, “I would have answered ‘Both’. There will always be a segment of society that understands and rejects the ‘Big Brother’ parallel. A natural disaster or EMP [electromagnetic pulse] may very well cause massive damage that cascades into all connected systems.”

An anonymous survey participant wrote, “Software and operating systems design will continue to offer riches and success to those who design the most effective and safest deterrents.”

An anonymous graduate student at a private university commented, “The convenience will outweigh the risks for most people. Furthermore, I hope security improves as connectedness improves.”

An anonymous computer scientist observed, “Most people don’t know or care much about the risks, however well known. Look at how they eat, if you want evidence. The biggest risks are ‘tail risks’ of rare outlier events (e.g., a war in which your digital infrastructure and data is damaged, destroyed, or taken over).”

An anonymous senior strategist replied, “Many people will do a tacit or explicit cost/benefit analysis, and decide to remain connected.”

An anonymous respondent said, “The advantages of a digital lifestyle are too attractive to resist. But education/training is necessary for the newbies and careless users to become Net-aware and try to avoid becoming victims. Also, restraining from jumping the ‘bleeding edge’ of new technologies’ version 1.0 is necessary. Waiting until version 2.0 or greater is best, as evidenced by recent deaths and injuries to those using new technologies.”

An anonymous computer science professor at a Swiss university wrote, “The main issue with connected objects is the potential to trace people, their actions, and activities, or to hack objects and change their behaviour. We should avoid having completely centralised systems where each event is recorded and sent to governments or surveillance bodies.”

An anonymous Web and mobile developer commented, “These threats are an evolution—or better a transition—of existing threats. As with every evolution, good and bad things evolve. There will be some time needed for people to adjust and take adequate security measures.”

An anonymous director observed, “Connected life is increasing.”

An anonymous senior futurist commented, “The upside will still outweigh the downside.”

An anonymous senior program manager at Microsoft said, “The convenience of connected devices will make people not consider inherent dangers. As the physical world and the virtual world will grow more together it will be even harder to disconnect.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “People think the negatives that accompany the positives of connectivity won’t happen to them.”

An anonymous professor in software at a university said, “At a high level, allowing remote control of devices is obviously potentially unsafe. However, as the May 2016 Tesla autopilot fatal accident shows, autonomous control of devices is also vulnerable to faulty input data (the most likely cause of the accident). Different devices can cause different damages (e.g., cars can crash, but a toaster cannot move). Since there is no universal technique for guaranteeing the safety of disconnected devices, it is unlikely that we will be able to develop such universal safety techniques for networked devices. Nevertheless, Underwriters Laboratories do a good job of certifying disconnected devices through experimental measurements. Perhaps a similar experimental approach could be used to certify networked devices as well.”

An anonymous executive director of an institute established to study ethics as it relates to emerging technologies wrote, “Growing connectivity is an inevitability.”

An anonymous CTO commented, “In other words, people are going to stop driving cars to start riding horses? Highly unlikely. They’re going to stop driving cars because they will be automated.”

An anonymous respondent with the Internet Engineering Task Force replied, “The advantages are compelling. But the risks are, too. There will be some major public failures. Hopefully these will motivate tightening up the systems so people can continue to use them. But the problems will not go away, just as crime never goes away in the physical world.”

An anonymous professor at a state university said, “Most will be connected, but disconnection will become fetishized. It will be talked about the way that meditation is talked about today. I expect to see device-free and disconnection workshops and probably a whole disconnection movement in the near future.”

An anonymous senior software engineer at Microsoft wrote, “IoT security will be poor and it will become a target for cyberwarfare. We won’t have much choice but to connect; the class of ‘disconnected’ will be present, but likely a minority for a while. Societal norms will dictate to connect. Products will dictate to connect. Entertainment needs will require connection.”

An anonymous director commented, “The answer here should be both but that option was not available.”

An anonymous respondent, “People won’t have a choice and they will be unaware of what is connected.”

An anonymous professor at a major university replied, “Technology companies will respond to threats by making connected devices more secure. They will tout this security as a competitive feature of their products.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Risks are usually seen to be greatly outweighed by convenience, and we are short-term-biased by nature.”

An anonymous engineer at a major US government technology agency wrote, “People will move to a more connected life because they will not be allowed any other choice. It takes a fairly deep education and strength of will to constantly check each new item or service for loopholes and pitfalls. It also will get easier for bad actors to hack even those with good security. Driverless cars will be hacked (btdt—been there, done that), tea kettles will leave your network vulnerable (btdt), governments will keep knowledge of zero-day exploits to themselves and let the citizens suffer (btdt), and we will mostly sleep through it all. If we could stop feeling everything needs to be connected all the time, we’d have a chance. It’s unlikely without a drastic change though.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “People will connect more as it benefits them, or as they believe it will. When serious breaches are reported, some will temporarily and others will permanently disconnect, but this will be outweighed by the increasing numbers who do connect.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Minor comforts in day-to-day lives beat basic safety. There was a decades-long lag between the introduction of cars and well-enforced speed limits, it took more decades for sober driving, and even more for basic safety items like seatbelts. People drove anyway.”

An anonymous IT director at a technology network said, “I’m sure there will be plenty of instances where an IoT hack has terrible consequences for someone. However this is also true for our current online systems and activities, but despite all those cases we continue to see people moving more deeply into connected life rather than disconnecting. The heart of it is that the benefits of connected life (for most people) far outweigh any potential risks, and I expect that to remain true as the IoT expands to every corner of our society.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “The fear of missing out will win out over concerns of potential security threats. Systems will reinforce this, compelling people to maintain digital connection. Kind of like how often Social Security numbers are required to get a thing done. It’s not secure, and they shouldn’t be required, but it has become requisite to use them in order to access many services.”

An anonymous education director replied, “Many more will become more deeply connected, whether they want to or not. Imagine how hard it was to find a minivan with a DVD player built in years ago. Now it is hard to find one without even if you want to. The same will be the case of the Internet of Things. Want it or not the connectivity will be there and it will be hard to intentionally disconnect.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “The basic paradigm of the younger generations is to connect. There will always be those for whom that connection does not work, but such people will be left further and further behind. This will create other problems!”

An anonymous respondent said, “There will be an increasing attempt to remain unconnected or disconnect, but it will be increasingly impossible to live that way.”

An anonymous assistant director wrote, “I’m always concerned about alarmists who think that every new technology will be the end of humanity (just read about how people felt about the printing press when it was invented). Sure there are dangers of allowing physical objects to be network-connected, but this ability also allows them to be updated and patched to prevent exploits. The benefits of smart devices can be huge. In my latest Nest Thermostat report it states “Since 2011, Nesters have saved 7,681,837,833 kWh” I also read a report that utilities can use smart thermostats (with owners’ permission) to make slight changes to the timing and temp (5-minute delay and half a degree for example—unnoticeable by the homeowner) to eliminate the need for bringing reserve power online during peak usage. Basically they can use this network of thermostats as a reserve power plant. Examples like these in my opinion will reach every aspect of life, making us more efficient and able to use our things more intelligently. Once people start seeing the time and cost advantages of connecting their things the security and other issues will be worked out.”

An anonymous respondent said, “The social pressure to be digitally connected is likely to make people stay networked despite their knowledge of insecurities, misuse, and commercial exploitation.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “I think that even with the risk people will choose convenience over the risk of being hacked.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “Air gaps for some system and general security upgrades will happen, but only once someone’s house or business is held for ransom. Disconnecting isn’t happening, the social cost is too high.”

An anonymous business analyst replied, “More people will just click the box, opting for convenience over security and privacy.”

An anonymous respondent said, “There absolutely must be better encryption of all of the IoT. Your health, safety, and finances are already at risk. With more connection that risk will grow. A hacked pacemaker will kill you. Surveillance by criminal cops will kill you too. The IoT can be a great help to everyone but it must have strong encryption.”

An anonymous programmer and data analyst wrote, “Most people are totally oblivious to the fragile and easily pierced nature of the Net and the total lack of protection of their medical/financial information. They will continue to not care or understand the issues and will move more deeply into connectivity. Attacks on power infrastructure, automated vehicles, airplanes, food supplies are all unfortunate consequences of the IoT.”

An anonymous devops engineer commented, “People who disconnect from connectivity will be pushed into a lower tier of the economy. Those who connect and stay connected will have increasingly greater opportunities.”

An anonymous coordinator said, “We already have these problems and people keep buying them. The greatest threats to me are the right to repair and the right to properly own your own purchased content. I also fear that data collected for marketing purposes will further narrow the range of products available, removing choice from the market and limiting your options to the ones that are connected.”

An anonymous university professor commented, “My snarky opinion is that the Internet of Things is a marketing term created to sell things to wealthy people who aren’t upgrading their PCs often enough. There have been efforts to create home automation systems and ‘smart’ appliances since the earliest days of PCs and networks. I don’t have a strong opinion or particular scholarly insight on this.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “There will be a growing apathy/ignorance of the risks, when combined with the positives brought by the IOT; more and more people will be connected”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Most things that would benefit from connectivity will stay, but there will be some items that aren’t helped by connectivity that we’ll look back on and wonder why anyone thought was a good idea. Of course, we don’t know what’s in the latter category yet.”

An anonymous respondent said, “That’s a tough one. There’ve been times when I’ve looked at the way so many people are ‘going green’ with so many things and I’ve begun to seen a trend toward simplicity with some people, toward looking at tools and devices which don’t necessarily need electronics to function and choosing those which are basic in operation over those which have been digitalized, networked, linked, or in some way laden with electronics. On the other hand, businesses rely ever increasingly on things like auto-debit, online bill pay, direct deposit, and the like, and I can’t see any way that trend would decrease.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “We will not have a choice. Everyone will have to move to the connected world and those who don’t will be left behind. We like to think that computers and smart phones are accessible to everyone one but they come with cost. More exactly they come with a monthly bill and often data caps. So unless the connected world comes with free internet connection and the appropriate devices to make everything work this will cause a social divide. They say in ten years everyone will riding in autonomous cars but there are people 2016 who are driving used cars from the early ’90s because that is all they can afford.”

An anonymous communications and digital coordinator commented, “So far the trend towards connectivity seems pretty clear. It seems to me there are different levels of risk—a pacemaker or car being hacked is much more serious than having your average website defaced. I am not sure how to make things ‘safe.’ Principles of openness are important. Security researchers should be able to talk openly about vulnerabilities and problems.”

An anonymous software engineer observed, “More people will be connected but not by choice. It will be seemingly the only choice to be made and people will just go along with it.”

An anonymous marketing specialist replied, “People, not cynically but as an observation, are pretty hubristic. Connected is status quo. People don’t like to be seen as being left out of the awesomeness of stuff. They’ll just do as their friends do for the most part.”

An anonymous systems engineer said, “There will be features from IoT devices too compelling to discount. Fridges that tell you what you’re out of. HVAC systems that turn on in the rooms that people are in. Etc.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “People will be connected. But, as the US TV series CSI Cyber has shown us, every networked device can be hacked. As long as the encryption technology also improves, we will always have issues but hopefully also solutions until the next generation of products opens up possibilities for new vulnerabilities.”

An anonymous chief strategy officer commented, “If you look at adoption of technology over the past 100 years the trend is to adopt new technologies.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “It won’t be possible to disconnect and live a normal life. The premium and switching costs involved with dropping out will prevent mass defections.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Every product is moving more toward connectivity than away from it, and I’m guessing production schedules for the next decade are already planned with that in mind. Something really big and scary would have to happen to deter that market trend—like a coordinated attack on a bunch of unsecure vehicles causing crashes and fatalities. I’m sure there will be a bunch of really creative ways to cause damage from innocuous household products, but I can’t really think of any.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “People are inherently lazy so they will connect and stay connected, despite any problems.”

An anonymous retiree commented, “The trade-off of convenience vs. personal responsibility for everyday mundane tasks will be the driving factor to stay connected.”

An anonymous executive manager at an NGO replied, “There are going to be horrible, horrible errors made and a great deal of damage done. And currently, the IOT is more like a cargo cult than anything fact-based. Over time, areas where connection offers benefit will become clear, and areas where risks outweigh gain will also become obvious and die off.”

Answer is botAn anonymous respondent said, “The answer is both, really. All devices will become connected by default. It will take an effort to disconnect. But more people will become distrustful of the IoT. It will cause a large culture clash.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Most people do not understand the dangers of the Internet of Things. There will be some (like myself) who put tape over their webcams and try to find a way to avoid purchasing a TV that has a microphone in it, but most people are blissfully ignorant.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Cost/benefit strongly favors connection. Hopefully some of the recent advances in AI will be applied to strong, automated protection from malware.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “There will be a percentage who disconnect. Hopefully others will use the Internet as a portal to information and opinion. A vast library. Some won’t need to lock their doors or control their thermostats or have their shopping done automatically or search the Internet for the latest super food that cures cancer.”

An anonymous scientific editor replied, “It’s hard to know/guess which way things will go. For me personally, I back away from this stuff as far and as fast as I can, but I’m not sure how many other people will be inclined to do the same. It’s entirely possible that most people will find these ridiculous and dangerous new toys irresistibly compelling. Really though, it’s beyond parody. ‘Smart TV’? C’mon, you’re having a laugh. How might governments and technologists respond to make things more secure and safe? Well, air-gap them, obviously. Very little of this stuff ever needed to be networked in the first place. Cell phones: good. Highway traffic flow control: good. An app that controls the light switches in your home: not so much. As for an automobile controlled by a computer: if it’s an autonomous self-driving car a la Elon Musk, then sure, recent fatality notwithstanding; if it’s a regular car, then OK, there are pros and cons for digital vs. analog; if it’s a regular car with a networked computer: hell no! There’s just absolutely no upside to that whatsoever.”

An anonymous retired programmer said, “People are deluded into thinking participation equates with influence.”

An anonymous learning systems and analytics lead wrote, “People will remain very skeptical but be left with fewer and fewer choices. Companies like Silent Circle cater to those who desire extreme measures around privacy, but it’s definitely a premium. This will continue to be the case. For example, it’s already economically silly to not accept the installation of driving habit-tracking sensors. The iron cage of connected life will drive people to be more connected whether they want to or not—and many will not, or will at least have strong reservations.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “This is the most unfortunate byproduct of plugging in, and there is really no way to counteract the inevitability.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “Individuals won’t have much choice in the matter, unless they choose to live off the grid in some Luddite community. Perhaps that is the largest danger—networking is welcomed in as a convenience, but it actually proves to be a choice killer.”

An anonymous survey participant replied, “We’re more likely to be victimized. It will seem so easy, until something bad happens to us.”

An anonymous principal security consultant wrote, “Both of these are likely true, in fact. There will likely be many people who want to stick with non-connected devices for one reason or another, but most people will likely adopt them for the ease of use and convenience features. Outages are treated as the price of doing business already: if a major ISP or power supplier has an outage, it already causes significant problems, but customers are used to this and rarely cause significant trouble for a supplier. It seems likely that this will continue, at least in regard to non-critical equipment: if your smart light bulbs don’t turn on or they flicker repeatedly it’s annoying, but not the end of the world. Some people will choose to avoid this problem entirely and others will choose to put up with it.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “It’s not clear to me that disconnected devices will be available except on the very low end, and those devices often fail quickly. Even people who don’t use IoT functions on their devices will still be susceptible. Stories like the FCC’s case against Asus (for their insecure routers) will have to serve as a warning to IoT device manufacturers.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “There will be a few scandals but connectivity will increase regardless.”

An anonymous software engineer replied, “A majority of people will either ignore the security issues that exist or remain unaware of the effects. It has becoming so much easier and easier to rely completely on technology in a variety of ways that it’s unlikely that people will be able to disconnect.”

An anonymous instructor at a state university said, “The numbers that disconnect will become an increasingly-large percentage of society, but such people will not be significant in any practical (non-mathematical) meaning of the word. Neither answer choice above is precisely correct.”

An anonymous computer software sales engineer replied, “Most people aren’t aware of the complexities of online security and assume it will happen to someone else.”

An anonymous senior publisher in residence at a public college said, “Smart devices are being pitched as devices of convenience. Eventually they will become a necessity as more and more systems rely on them to track usage. Think about medically what can happen if the devices monitor and maintain blood-sugar levels for diabetics.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “The risk of totalitarianism will increase as the power to control other people’s lives goes up and is accessible to corporations And governments. To make things safe will require new laws and oversight by govt.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Convenience always wins out in modern society. The more devices we have networked and connected the more ways people will try to exploit them but as long as this connectedness is sticky people will feels this outweighs the risk. We are also becoming inured against hacks and exploits.”

An anonymous graduate student observed, “‘Deciding to disconnect’ implies that people ever decided to connect in the first place, and not everyone does or will. Some people will move forward despite security concerns that will dissuade others—wherever the specifics and scale of those concerns ends up being—and others will choose relative privacy and security over convenience. There are also the people who cannot connect now and may not be able to in the coming decade—whether or not they’d want to do so.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Self-reporting medical devices for inpatient settings would dovetail with the implementation of algorithmic processing of that client data. Right now, however, the security of many medical devices is abysmal and thus an impedance to development of the more densely interconnected systems that an algorithmic evolution requires. I read a lot of criticisms of protected software ecosystems such as Apple’s. From the consumer’s perspective however, these ecosystems (for now) apply to computing devices that are effectively appliances rather than general-purpose machines. I don’t think these barriers are unreasonable.”

An anonymous director of innovation and technology said, “Because the attacks will generally affect others, people will still see the dangers as unreal. In addition, the conveniences offered by the Internet of Things will be compelling enough for people to take risks with their information.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Consumers will have very little choice as the IoT is jammed down our throats by manufacturers. And then we’ll all be screwed when malicious hackers get into poorly-secured home appliances and other IoT devices.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “People are lovers of convenience, even more, than worriers over invasion of their privacy, thus folks will chose to connected at every turn if the financial cost/price is low.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “Get on the bus or be left behind.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Time spent driving places can be used via voice command to catch up on emails, call people, navigate and avoid traffic, and listen to music. To me this will continue to improve and become more effective while also becoming more ‘hands off.'”

An anonymous respondent said, “Security is always an arms race, and I don’t think there is any security protocol a government or a private entity could create that wasn’t hackable to some degree. But it’s like flying on an airplane: being on a plane that crashes would be terrifying and awful, but the vast majority of planes don’t crash, and overall it’s quite safe. Some people will never fly on a plane because the possibility scares them too much, but far more people know the risk and accept it, and that attitude is generally considered to be the normal and sane one.”

An anonymous IT analyst commented, “Until there are several major headlines in some of the subject areas (and I know there have been a few smaller ones in my newsfeeds) the general population won’t care and no regulators will step in and require proper security. Since it won’t be in the public’s view they won’t know they should necessarily be researching which product might be ‘safer’ than others when buying the newest gadgets to make life easier.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “People who can afford it (financially and socially), will be the most deeply connected. People without resources will be even more marginalized.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Current trends show that people simply won’t have a choice. Functions of society will continue to move to the online space.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Most people care more about ease of use rather than privacy and security, so many people will become increasingly connected without worrying about what they lose in doing so.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “At first there will be an expansion of connections, later, problems will push many to disconnect.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Right now most IoT objects are insecure, with little to no security built in. Moving towards the next 10 years these devices will become more secure and harder to hack.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “It is a huge invasion of privacy. The Internet of Things is not something I want to participate in fully. Only in very limited ways that I can control. But I am older, and wary. Younger folks who have grown up with technologies may not care, so interconnection will grow. I’m still going to buy a TV monitor without a camera, because I don’t want that part of my life camera-enabled. I don’t want my fridge enabled. I don’t really want much of anything enabled. Privacy.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “People will use this stuff because it’s there. My dream is that highly connected vehicles will make cars less attractive as products as minor electronic glitches render them inoperable and unfixable and mass transit will become more attractive. It could happen, right?”

An anonymous respondent said, “People will continue to connect and connect everywhere they can, even with the desk stapler if so needed.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “There are a lot of people willing to have a chip installed on their bodies now.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “The convenience combined with the marketing power of companies will cause most people to buy into the ‘Internet of Things.’ Though, there will also be a concerted movement to disconnect. In the end, however, most people will side with convenience and technology most likely.”

An anonymous PhD candidate at the California Institute of Technology predicted, “As long as most people are not directly affected, people will not be concerned enough to make changes to their lives. The simple path for them is to follow the ongoing trends of increased connectivity.”

An anonymous retiree replied, “Most careers and organizational interactions will require connectivity making it difficult to disconnect.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Most people have little practical choice but to choose from the cars, TVs, coffee makers, and medical devices on the market. Only a few skilled techies who can make their own, and a few deep believers who feel it is important enough to do without, will be able to opt out and stick to it.”

An anonymous respondent said, “I have no desire to have a more deeply connected life. I’ve got all I can deal with right now and don’t want my devices to be telling me what to do without my asking.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Even if today’s adults don’t get more connected, the next generation will. To today’s 10-year-old the idea of a watch that can’t take basic health information is like a 20-year-old trying to understand what the hell a cassette tape is. “

An anonymous respondent observed, “Fish gather in schools, birds flock. Much of this behavior has to do with the other guy getting taken out, or hacked.”

An anonymous coordinator of special collections wrote, “Most people will not realize just how connected they have become.”

An anonymous professor of telecommunications and law at a major university replied, “What choice will most people have in lieu of connection?”

An anonymous respondent commented, “The conveniences will outweigh the threats for the majority of people.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “Most people will find that the conveniences and improvements in efficiency outweigh the risks.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Are you a fearmonger?”

An anonymous technologist working at a state agency replied, “The convenience will likely outweigh the threat. Also, reports by media will heavily influence reactions to hacks and ransomware.”

An anonymous senior software developer said, “A significant number of exploits have not stopped people up until now, so why should it in the next 10 years? It is true; there will be problems. We will have a mass car hack incident where thousands of cars will be hacked simultaneously and caused to crash. But in the end it will not stop progress. Companies will just be forced to take security more seriously like Microsoft had to at some point. In the end, most people probably wont even notice, that their smart light bulbs are used in a DDOS [distributed denial-of-service] attack. “

An anonymous technical director wrote, “The genie is out of the bottle; there is no going back.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Most people will use the things they are sold if the marketing is effective. People feel a constant need for convenience. I don’t plan to get in on this market myself though and I hope non-connected appliances stay available in the long term.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Most companies manufacturing IoT technology will most likely continue to be more concerned with producing a product that prioritizes cost of entry and ease of use over security, if only because there is no monetary incentive for them to do otherwise. Until a lackadaisical approach to securing technology becomes a financial liability (though harsh fines) no progress will be made on this front. Data will continue to be leaked, breaches will continue to occur, and people will still buy into it regardless. Largely, I would expect most people to trend more heavily toward connectivity, many probably out of some kind of misplaced sense of ‘keeping up to date’ with other members of their social circles. There will probably be a very vocal group that goes against this trend (already in process), but the overall numbers of people actively seeking to disengage from a highly interconnected system will almost certainly be outweighed by those who embrace it willingly or those who remain generally indifferent toward it. The negative impact of this can be estimated simply by what systems we already have in place.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Although these threats and activities can be frightening, the overall ease that is brought into our lives by these technologies will overcome that fear. In addition, better responses to these threats will be developed once more people are involved.”

An anonymous technical support representative wrote, “Manufacturers will need to keep securing their devices. There will be breaches, but there will also be security improvements. Overall, the benefits of a connected life will outweigh the threats—much as they do today. With some basic precautions (VPN, SSL, HTTPS, good passwords), I can for the most part participate in the available connected life without concern of hacking or financial losses. As more people connect, the companies connecting them will have customer pressure to provide the necessary security. Criminals will always be creative in their approaches, and industry and society will adjust to connected life.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “I don’t see the need for a fridge with WiFi, but I imagine marketers will continue to develop compelling connected features. Escaping does sound nice, however.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “Vulnerabilities will delay but not prevent the inevitability of the connected life.”

An anonymous community advocate replied, “People like toys. Toys are getting sold. The fear of missing out and appeal of technology, plus universal access to information are way too appealing. Sure, we’ll have weirdo fringes, but then, we always do and ‘the end’ is never nigh.”

An anonymous professor at a community college said, “People are moving back to the cities, even though the crime rate is higher. Similarly, connectivity is worth the hassle.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “People will move more deeply because they don’t understand the ramifications of doing so.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “People are not rational actors. Convenience and momentum dominate the equation.”

An anonymous IT manager observed, “It’s clear that most people don’t pay much attention to their online security. This will mean that more and more folks will continue to become more and more connected by the devices that surround them, even as hacking and breaches increase over time.”

An anonymous assistant manager said, “Ease wins over risk.”

An anonymous network/systems manager, “The Pandora’s box is already open, I don’t see it as possible for people to disconnect. This is because disconnection means having no access to many systems that most people would absolutely need to have access to.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “Most people will move to a more deeply connected life because they will be forced to by economic circumstances. However, the unconnected life will become a prize for the fashionable, the well-off, and for those who can afford it. Much like the big-name CEOs who dictate their emails to a secretary (not naming names here.)”

An anonymous respondent replied, “I expect that within 20 years it will be very difficult or impossible to buy non-IoT versions of many common items (this is already rapidly becoming the case with televisions). The current norm of poorly engineered, non-updateable, easily exploited IoT ‘security’ will continue, further opening the surveillance window for governments and corporations and creating an even vaster, botnet-armed cybercriminal underground.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Though the majority of people will deeply connect, the reactions to dangers of connection will grow stronger and significant numbers will revolt.”

An anonymous senior account representative wrote, “It’s a number’s game. A hacker breaks into one car or pacemaker, but where once there were dozens of systems, now there are thousands. Herd mentality, herd security. For now the individual benefits outweigh the collective risks.”

An anonymous operations NCO observed, “Connection is too convenient. It’s hard to give up what makes life easier.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Convenience will lead them there, though it will be easier to learn how to disconnect if you can stomach the opportunity cost.”

An anonymous survey participant observed, “People are bad at assessing risk and they prioritize convenience over security. It will be increasingly difficult to unplug, as more and more aspects of ordinary daily life are plugged in. Unplugging will require a religious level of commitment.”

An anonymous devops engineer said, “For the vast majority of people convenience trumps security. People are bad at estimating low-occurrence threats.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “I don’t feel you will be able to disconnect. More systems will come online that require you to opt-in to connectivity to achieve service. Example: Progressive Insurance’s Shapshot dongle to record your car’s performance and data-mine for driving behaviors and accidents. Currently this program is voluntary but how easy would it be to require all drivers to be monitored for coverage? This will become the norm and will proliferate throughout our daily life.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Attacks and hacks and inherent flaws in the IoT (e.g., digital rights management) won’t impact adaptation significantly in the West. Problems resulting in injury or death will be addressed after the fact using best practices that are good enough for insurers.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “The convenience is so great that the fear of a downside would have to be so much greater than the possible upside to have major impacts on people abandoning technology. The odds of dying in a car accident are 1 in 606 over one’s lifetime, but very few people would consider abandoning car transportation. Negative ramifications would have to be severe and common for people to opt-out.”

An anonymous respondent said, “People uncritically accept new things. Drones, self-driving cars, corporate exploitation, terrorist incursions that are routed through internet, control over nuclear reactors. The TV show Mr. Robot is extreme and entertaining, but it is pointing to issues that are real.”

An anonymous process improvement manager wrote, “Most people do not examine the risk/reward of their daily activities. While there will always be people who react and abandon new technology and systems, most people can’t be bothered. Instead of assigning responsibility to network security and infrastructure, they will assign responsibility to bad actors. To most people, the problem with mass shootings isn’t a cultural problem, instead they ask why the shooter shot, or why the shooter was able to buy a gun, or why the shooter’s acquaintances didn’t recognize the danger. While it is possible to improve safety, that sense of public responsibility needs to be aimed at the legislators and large corporations with the power to create better security.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Disconnection and remaining in society are mutually incompatible.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “From my own experience, I have moved more into networking because it simply has become too much of a nuisance not to. I don’t like it, though, and I don’t believe it is very safe. A government approach to safety might involve a complex physical token that must be read along with a password. The Japanese ‘inkan’ seal might be the basis of such a system. However could it be easily replicated by a 3D scanner/printer? It seems to me that flaws and insecurity are inherent in digital computer technology and will get worse when physical systems are more inter-networked.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Both will happen. The overwhelming benefits of connectivity will be a draw to the majority of people, however independence and privacy concerns will result in a fissure in society.”

An anonymous executive producer and creative director commented, “Theft of money, data, and identity. Attacks on the government by other nations and organizations. The solution is to create the best super-intelligent AI at any cost and have its interests aligned wjth ours.”

An anonymous freelance software developer observed, “Most people just care about convenience, and won’t stop to think about risks they don’t even understand.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “While threats will remain and probably escalate, the benefits of connectivity and evolving infrastructure make increased connectivity inevitable. My hope is that best and brightest are already working to stay one step ahead of threats, continuing to develop countermeasures in what seems to be a neverending cat-and-mouse game.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “The trend towards connectivity is irreversible, but there will be at least one major crisis where a widely used internet-connected thing is hacked/compromised with highly visible results that ‘bends the curve’ toward better security (primarily security practices) by vendors of internet-connected things. It’s going to take one or more crises in order to change the current situation with respect to widely deployed exploitable vulnerabilities. The view of ‘things’ as products (especially consumer products) as opposed to systems is why the reaction to this sort of ‘thing’ security crisis will be different to the current acceptance of existence of vulnerability after vulnerability for internet-connected that hasn’t changed anything seriously.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “For individuals, risks are small compared to gains.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “I’m not sure people will be given a choice of whether to disconnect or not. Nearly all cars have some networked system in them these days and new health-related devices are being created every day that are networked and relaying information to doctors and insurance companies. Some schools even require students to use wearable technologies to track their health. There should be more ways to ensure that companies who make devices are ethically and civilly responsible to protect our data and that we can delete/erase/decide who gets it at every step. We don’t have that yet.”

An anonymous professor at a state university commented, “For many of us, it would be near impossible to live our lives without remaining deeply connected/networked. It’s actually surprising that we haven’t already seen major disasters caused by hacking, of the sort that would close down cities or states.”

An anonymous president at a consultancy firm observed, “Eventually things will be positive. The IoT revolution has been prematurely blown up though. Very few people want home appliances to become too clever; however, driverless cars, if they reduce fatalities, will be a boon.”

An anonymous professor in the social effects of mass communication at a state university replied, “Most people will not have much choice in the matter. As in the early cyberspace novel, Neuromancer, it’s just not very feasible to opt out of the interdependent, interconnected systems.”

An anonymous CTO wrote, “There will certainly be security issues with IoT, but the benefits outweigh the negatives.”

An anonymous open source technologist commented, “I don’t think that the decision can be made to disconnect. Modern cars are already software driven whether you like that or not. Same is true for planes. That this becomes the case for everything else is certain and what is less certain if anyone can opt out or even understand the extent of connectedness in this generation of electronics or the next.”

An anonymous marketing researcher replied, “Whether people disconnect or move into connecting more deeply will depend on the security of these communications. Much work remains to be done to enhance network security.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “The average user doesn’t closely track vulnerabilities in the technologies that they use. Email is an inherently flawed, insecure technology that’s still in wide use today, even though more secure alternatives exist.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “It depends on the nature and extent of disruptions.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “I guess that it will become much clearer who is connected and who by decision and affordability is not.”

An anonymous CMO wrote, “The benefits outweigh the costs. Momentum will increase!”

An anonymous professor at a university in Sri Lanka commented, “There will be no escaping the IoT. Though there will be major hacks and attacks people will have no alternative but to use connected devices.”

An anonymous principal scientist at a large software company replied, “It’s only us old fogies (I’m currently 73) who will back away from being connected 24/7. I, for one, don’t trust automation and I’m not on social networks. That’s in spite of (or because of) the fact that I have a PhD in computer science.”

An anonymous senior security engineer said, “The hacks and ransomware will continue, but I don’t see that stopping the increasing proliferation of Internet-connected devices. Industry wants this to happen. Whether it continues is up to consumer demand.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “People will abandon things that are easily hacked once they are affected, or they will implement fixes, as was done with baby monitors. People who lack confidence in their ability to secure themselves may move away from the Internet of Things. I tend to disconnect or not connect devices to their full potential because the connectivity would not improve my life. I don’t see a need to turn on the air conditioner from my phone, for one example. But there may be things that I would want to control this way, perhaps related to food preparation and keeping.”

An anonymous professor at a polytechnic institute replied, “Convenience trumps security.”

An anonymous respondent said, “I do not know, I would like to know. The military is the main, real issue.”

An anonymous assistant professor of journalism at a state university commented, “While more awareness of data breaches, etc., will make consumers more cautious, intrigue and utility of the Internet of Things will lead to greater adoption among consumers.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “Most people will not want to disconnect regardless of potential vulnerabilities. They are too used to being ‘on’ 24/7/365.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Generations now take the internet for granted. They can’t cope without it.”

An anonymous director of evaluation and research said, “Except for maybe supersonic transport, we really haven’t seen a situation where people eschew convenience—unless they’re convinced of direct threats to their health. Making it all safe will be one of the main industries of the future. We’ll take the cyber-muggings (and worse) with the new world—just in the way we’ve always taken the new dangers (auto crashes, chemical poisonings) as a natural part of the inevitable march of progress.”

An anonymous online course designer wrote, “Most common damage will be due to outages of service caused by badly designed networked systems. Safety critical systems will be, and hopefully will be designed to a higher standard and be ‘fail safe.’ In many cases the networking is just a gimmick and provides not real benefit (such as smart homes).”

An anonymous directing manager observed, “The IoT will be shaping and connecting the world around us and we will follow suit.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “If this survey is typical of the work Pew does, I will never trust another Pew survey. The entire survey, each question and the prompts for the open-ended responses, are extraordinarily biased in their assumptions—it seems you have already decided what the future of the internet is and want us to confirm that. Without my assessing the plausibility of your assumptions, I cannot answer your extremely simplistic questions fairly. You, and Elon University should be very, very ashamed.”

An anonymous technical analyst said, “Connectivity will increase unless there are widespread disasters that instill fear.”

An anonymous professor at a law school commented, “There will be massive security failures and privacy breaches, and yet the advantages (and compulsions) of connected life will outweigh them.”

An anonymous program director at the US National Science Foundation wrote, “Both answers are true, since 5-10% disconnecting is a significant number.”

An anonymous executive director at MIT said, “To some extent, the immediate benefits of the Internet of Things will encourage consumers to choose to purchase more connected household appliances. But at the same time, industry will simply create more Internet connected products and make it increasingly difficult to opt out of extensive data collection and surveillance.”

An anonymous digital manager commented, “Privacy settings will be expanded if there are numbers indicating that people are disconnecting completely. Disconnecting in protest might be necessary in mass numbers to actually make this happen—it should be seen as a form of protest.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Trends point to connecting everything.”

An anonymous professor of public relations said, “There won’t be a rational choice. Sam’s Club now allows the shopper to use their cell to record their purchases as they shop and make their payment without interaction with cashiers. As this leads to longer and longer lines for those who use the old methods, rational people will switch and of course, the cashiers’ jobs will vanish.”

An anonymous executive director wrote, “Over the period of time the Internet has existed, we have experienced virus attacks, malware attacks, and now even more aggressive and invasive attacks on security of the Internet. However, there is increased use and increased integration of cloud based technologies interwoven in our every day life. As I host roundtable conversations around the country and across the world, people express awareness of these attacks but no hesitation that they are moving forward with even more cloud-based solutions.”

An anonymous retired marketing research director commented, “We tend to get comfortable with whatever technology is required for us to get by on a daily basis. When it comes to the safety of our data, but sense is that we also tend to become comfortable with whatever is the social norm at the time. Therefore, my prediction is that people will not suddenly disconnect since being connected is becoming vital in order to live a full and active life among others.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “Disconnection will be extremely difficult. The Web simply will integrate into the global culture.”

An anonymous associate professor of political science at a state university replied, “How else can you be part of a society? If everyone is interconnected in the cloud, how else can we remain connected? Humans are essentially social creatures.”

An anonymous professor at a major university said, “The price of disconnecting will be too high. In terms of medical devices and personalized medicine, disconnection can literally mean risking death. We need to make the price of connecting lower, and that means treating our interactions as social rather than purely economic contracts.”

An anonymous senior research director at a state university wrote, “Further connectivity is inevitable.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “Disconnecting will take time and energy. Most will not. The outliers and anarchists will revel in it.”

An anonymous professor of media production and theory observed, “Disconnection is less and less of an option. In general, participation in the Internet, whether of things, or cerebra, offers so much we’ll continue to do it, even though it also has complex and poorly understood effects on our physiologies, social relations, emotional development, etc. This is a vast new field of research not well-studied. The question seems to suggest a kind of opt-out movement. It’s possible. One thinks of the ‘back-to-the-land’ movements of the ’60s. That kind of disconnecting might come in the next generation, one that sees real losses in terms of human possibility from over-engagement with the Net. And that seems remote. People love being bathed in concern, even if it is only via a Fitbit. The smart home is just around the corner, and the smart self-driving car is a reality (and the first fatal accident in one).”

An anonymous chair of the board at a futures studies organization replied, “Connected life will be one of the ways we can manage the chaos and complexity.”

An anonymous assistant professor wrote, “The internet is too useful and dominant for people to disconnect.”

An anonymous assistant professor of public humanities and American studies observed, “The ‘ease of use’ qualities of online components is a great draw but the authenticity and depth at which people share will lessen.”

An anonymous lecturer at an Australian university replied, “When things are networked less people will be injured when the system has a glitch because it is so complex so it can’t be 100% safe.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Damage may occur if default settings are not improved for security. As with any network, back-up and additional security measures will be needed. Governments and technology security experts will need to establish guidelines for further protection of public safety.”

An anonymous survey respondent wrote, “I don’t think it is possible to disconnect once people are connected. It is just too much of an everyday necessity.”

An anonymous professor emeritus of broadcast and electronic communication replied, “Efficiencies will outweigh problems from hackers, etc. Soon everyone will have an Echo, Google Home, or similar device because they satisfy so many needs.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Personally I find this very disturbing and of great concern, but most people are just happy with additional benefits as long as it appears that the costs are not too high. So I suspect they will continue to buy, if they can afford it.”

An anonymous respondent said, “I really don’t see that people will be able to disconnect—more and more of our lives is digital.”

An anonymous technology analyst at a major global networking company said, “As only GAFA [an acronym for technology company imperialism—it represents more than these: Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon] can make money from each new set of eyeballs, the rest of us weigh the cost of each connection and our authority/policy over it. The central issue is technologists do not provide the hooks to manage my identity and information against binding arbitration and any default table of authority. Technologists can provide tools to consolidate the various civic, family, and industry authorities with UCC 1-308 citizen’s ability to alter contracts ;-) Today it is much more secure to divide and store information locally (from my fitness watch to a program on my computer) rather than let the cloud have it. Moore’s law says fog computing will win over cloud computing.”

An anonymous writer said, “Thought leaders in the online milieu need to step up and advocate for consumer/user protections and respect for privacy.”

An anonymous professional advocate for international freedom of expression wrote, “I don’t feel confident about the state of data security at the moment, and fear that putting more data in the hands of reckless corporations will endanger us. Consider the impact of a leak of health-related information—what’s to stop predatory insurance companies from denying coverage?”

An anonymous chief scientist wrote, “Techno utopians only see the positive and helpful aspects of tech. Hackable systems (that is all of them!) will be the basis of Chernobyl-type events in the connected world.”

An anonymous respondent said, “I already avoid unnecessarily connected devices. The potential damage is that they make tasks less convenient and waste energy for consumers while increasing data collection for their manufacturers and marketers.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “People can best understand linear, i.e., simple systems. IoT brings an even more pervasive complex system into our daily lives. This trend together with the lack of sense to have good security will result in accidents and potentially disasters as transportation systems and health systems become increasingly reliant on IoT technology.”

An anonymous senior fellow at an organization whose work is to examine the future of privacy issues replied, “People may adopt, then disconnect based on their experiences. For example, I don’t see the point in a refrigerator with a 21-inch display in the door, and a lot of the other IoT features seem like overkill. For sensors, horror stories about surveillance may deter use. Connected and driverless cars present challenges with the first fatal crash. It will be interesting to see what happens.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “I don’t believe the internet of things will really become reality. The infrastructure is not good enough and the high number of manufacturers will create lock-ins. The threshold for citizens will be too high—unless they commit to one manufacturer and buy everything from it.”

An anonymous associate research professor at a public university said, “By selecting ‘significant’ numbers, I do not necessarily mean that ‘many’ people will disconnect; only that ‘significant people’ will; Alvin Toffler, R.I.P.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “Without major social and political change this looks to be the best way forward.”

An anonymous professor said, “I already disconnect.”

An anonymous associate at organization based in Kenya said, “People will get more and more fatigued by online lives and retreat to only necessary online interactions.”

An anonymous senior IT analyst replied, “Being ‘connected’ will diminish because the immediate benefits will not match the time invested and expectations. Just as you believe that the newsletter of some supplier will help you and you discard it after some time, so it will be with most social networks.”

An anonymous technology writer observed, “The Internet of Things will flourish in some of its many application areas but I doubt that the ‘connected home’ is one of them. Building operation management makes sense for hotels and high-rises, but connecting home objects at random ‘to the Internet’ is a real alphabet soup of protocols and systems, difficult to secure but also difficult to maintain, upgrade, and repair. Safety won’t be what stops people, it will be the same fiddly disenchantment that stops many from, for instance, wearing athletic tracking bracelets.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “I reject the binary notion that one is either connected or disconnected, online or offline. In my view, the problem is technology that puts the user in a place of dependence on a third party. If a user doesn’t trust that third party, that technology does not serve their needs. A key step toward establishing this trust is creating free and open source software (FOSS). One example of this is the mobile encrypted messaging app Signal. However, since software often uses servers that users do not control, there is still an element of trust needed. In the end I think users will judge the IoT just like any consumer product and choose products that are a net positive. Just like the litany of $19.99 exercise equipment bought from TV infomercials, many IoT devices and services will end up in literal and metaphorical dusty attics.”

An anonymous professor at an Australian university predicted, “Significant numbers of people will disconnect from connected life; and we can, and should, plan and design for this. Also to build in safety, security, consumer, and public interest policy from the inception of Internet of Things and other systems.”

An anonymous computer science researcher at an Irish university replied, “This should not be a binary choice. Both will happen. More people will plunge into a digital environment and more people will reject it and opt out totally. The middle ground will become less viable and thus less-populated.”

Expects something in-between—An anonymous respondent commented, “A lot of people will react by protecting themselves. Not to the point of disconnecting, but by reducing their relationship with a connected life. Even if significant numbers of people decide to restrict connectivity I think the majority will connect.”

An anonymous instructor at a public university said, “Cyber attacks have made other people wary of technology, especially when everything about you is connected to your Social Security number. Identity theft has been common and even the process of fixing it is very exhaustive. I am not sure what specific solutions there are but I do want my personal information secure, and if possible, without any trace.”

An anonymous researcher at the European Futures Observatory observed, “This is an easy question to answer: It’s happening already.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “What I’m hearing from early adopters of IoT technology is that they are always trying to find ways to turn the Internet connectivity off. They want the stuff to talk to their phone, but not via a third party. These people are largely nerds and they may not be predictive of the larger community, but much of the larger community is becoming technically savvy.”

An anonymous respondent said, “I laugh every time I see an advertisement for a ‘smart refrigerator.’ Are people really that desperate for a little convenience that they would open themselves up to hacking?”

An anonymous network architect observed, “I actually think both are true, possibly resulting in a bifurcation in our social structure. The future here is murky.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “I’m not sure how one will disconnect when many new products are ‘smart’ (e.g., cars), but I can see a motivation.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “I do think , but fewer will be motivated by security fears than by negative online experiences and a desire for more-authentic, caring interactions.”

An anonymous researcher commented, “My smart light bulbs were ‘bricked’ by a firmware update. They were not functional for 10 days despite being a paid-for product. What if this happens for ovens? Car hacking? And a person 150 miles away can control their house lights over the Internet—leading their life partner to phone to say, ‘Stop doing that.'”

An anonymous respondent replied, “This question presents a false dichotomy. The answer is both/neither/it will balance out. Many will disconnect, but equally as many will double down. For every tin-foil-hatted neo-Luddite moving to an island with a telegraph, so to speak, there will be someone gleefully enjoying their networked toaster and toilet. The only thing that might tip the balance more toward disconnection would be an IoT-related infrastructural disaster.”

An anonymous leader at of a global privacy organization said, “This is the least-positive outcome: People will disconnect. There is so much benefit to be had but those in industry are idiots at privacy and security so they are going to destroy its potential. I want a connected future, but I doubt that the industry leaders and governments, will let it happen in the most equitable way possible.”

An anonymous chief legal officer replied, “The government has been the most prolific user of people’s private information, phone calls, etc. While this is done in the name of safety, it nonetheless diminishes everyone’s privacy. I do not see things improving.”

An anonymous survey participant wrote, “If people begin to disconnect (as many likely will), it will be because they crave the desire for simplicity and occasional solitude. Once more people take the Internet for granted, they’ll use it more sparingly for the few things they truly need. Those weird buttons from Amazon that re-order laundry detergent for you don’t add enough value for the average person. Maybe I suffer from a lack of imagination, but there is a limited utility to the Internet of Things except in certain circumstances.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Until researchers are able to reveal the security flaws in the Internet of Things so that the developers can fix those flaws, the Internet of Things is going to lead to massive security breaches that will drive people away from being interconnected.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “I hope they choose to disconnect but am doubtful that it will happen.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Just because it’s for sale does not mean people will buy it. Big-box home-improvement stores in the Pacific Northwest already have connected home devices on the clearance racks.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “If they’re smart they’ll disconnect. As each item comes online, there’s more opportunity for the bad guys.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “I can’t wait to see how many people die from the Internet of Things. Why would you invite the internet into your home? God, this phone sucks at allowing you to type, but my corporate overlords don’t give me other options. I cannot fix the words it rammed together.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “This one won’t work out. This is a fad to ‘connect’ your toaster to your toilet. People may actually learn that having your front door locks connected to the internet is a very bad idea, and that keys are pretty great after all.”

An anonymous project manager replied, “Connectivity will increase, but those able to pay more will be at the forefront of disconnecting or building isolated systems.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “There will be people who disconnect from fear of attacks but the majority will be online and it will be accepted as a risk similar to the risk of a mugging when you go for a walk in public. This new type of crime will have to be addressed and new security systems and international policing systems will need to be created.”

An anonymous respondent said, “People will not want to be connected 24/7. Lack of trust will be a factor.”

An anonymous internet security consultant wrote, “Both.”

An anonymous respondent working in information technologies governance replied, “If the only way I know to protect myself is to break the phone—and for many it is—I’ll give up the phone.”

An anonymous researcher wrote, “The Internet of Things is a fad, simply because of the incompatibilities technology already experiences. If you had a choice between, say, a basic refrigerator and one with smart features that break down quickly or can’t work with your computer system you might buy the latter, then become disillusioned. I doubt total connectivity will spread as predicted simply due to this ‘Murphy’s Law factor’. It’s a dream. The question is, how many years until the fad abates (again—because this one has been a recurrent futurist dream)?”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “I feel most worried about this. We have all kinds of companies connecting everything to the Internet, without an adequate understanding of what it takes to make those connections secure. I don’t want my garage door connected to the Internet and vulnerable to hacks. Likewise with my car and any medical devices I may one day need. Good security requires a level of involvement and understanding that not all technology companies have—it takes constant updates and research. Do I want to have to update my car’s software for security patches? What about security for an insulin pump or pacemaker? What level of control of my life then belongs to a company that has to maintain its software and my connection to it? Whatever we might get in added convenience is not worth the loss of personal control over our lives and selves, and the huge increase in security risk.”

An anonymous respondent predicted, “Boomers will seek to disconnect.”

An anonymous public utility manager commented, “Most of what I’ve read about the IoT says it is dismally insecure, and I will resist the IoT as long and as much as possible.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “People will attempt to disconnect, but will be opposed in this by more and more essential and apparently-essential services restricting their availability to online only.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Clearly, this depends on the number and (perceived) problems that actually happen. I am assuming some biggies. Whether the system gets secured in the next 10 years is also open.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Short term—this stuff has happened, and is happening. An electronic cold war. It might be revealed. Long term, electricity will be a memory for most people. Have you read The Road? We are on that road.”

An anonymous system analyst commented, “I think that, in fact, people will choose to create some kind of “disconnection sanctum”, maybe a corner in their house, or a office, or even going into a cafeteria, time after time, where they’ll give away their connections and stay offline for a while, so they can “breathe in” “

An anonymous respondent observed, “Allan, computer programmer What will happen when you can’t buy non-connected devices? Almost all android apps I use want access to my camera and microphone and I have to grant it or I can’t use the app. I’m trapped!”

An anonymous principal research programmer at a private university commented, “The IoT as currently envisioned and constructed is inherently insecure and built upon the inherently insecure internet. I don’t see the minor conveniences from the trivial IoT technologies that seem to be popular overcoming these basic limitations anytime soon. Maybe if someone builds something actual useful that will change, but that doesn’t seem to be the path IoT is on.”

An anonymous survey participant said, “I am pessimistic that an Internet of Things will improve lives much in the coming 5-10 years. We’re at least a decade away from networked objects that make sense and are helpful.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “People will try to disconnect, only to discover too late that they’re unable to.”

An anonymous respondent said, “This isn’t a very good question, because it is likely both statements are true but that was not one of the choices.”

An anonymous sociologist at the Social Media Research Foundation wrote, “The need for security in IoT devices will lead towards oligopoly—only a few leading businesses will be able to provide a sufficient level of security. This will mean that the IoT world is one that leads towards monopoly.”

An anonymous founder and executive chairman, “Convenience will trump risk.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “The question is posed as if there is meaningful choice. There is not. Are you really going to opt out of that implanted heart device out of concerns for malware? I don’t remember where technologies that increase surveillance and decrease the value of labor have failed in the marketplace. That’s not end-user demand, that’s the inhumanity of capitalism.”

An anonymous developer replied, “The rise of ‘digital assistants’ to manage the deluge of IoT data will allow humans to be move more deeply into connected life.”

An anonymous chief scientist emeritus for one of the top technology innovation companies in the US said, “Think sheep”

An anonymous deputy CEO wrote, “It will massively increase the amount of garbage. People will throw stuff away rather than correct it.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “We need to throw a lot of engineers at it and perfect AI learning engines aimed at real-time safety systems when objects interface with humans.”

An anonymous respondent observed, “Online terrorism will become a thing. Terrorism is powerful and people will respond in a number of ways including disconnecting.”

An anonymous professor of information and history at a state university replied, “People can get used to anything, and—just as with terrorism—the inevitable occasional damage from deliberate or inadvertent failures in highly networked systems will become routine. Occasional terrorism using internet-of-things (IoT) connections is very likely, shutting down infrastructure, hospitals, businesses, etc. Hackers will always find vulnerabilities in highly networked systems, and technical fixes will not change that.”

An anonymous researcher at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology said, “In many areas there won´t be much of a choice and given previous reactions to security issues, it seems like users´ tolerance towards threats is rather high. However, there is also a chance of a ‘Data Fukushima,’ a drastic event like the Snowden leaks, that might lead to a new ‘offline movement.'”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “Even if there are significant attacks, most people will choose convenience over security.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “It is unclear how people can choose to disconnect as the fabric of everyday life and everyday things gets woven more deeply into the Web. Perhaps there will be a new movement of people who choose to disconnect from everything. Like living off the grid, but at a much more fundamental level. Going dark.”

An anonymous respondent predicted, “We are not going to be able to disconnect, but poor systems will make people want to disconnect as much as possible and job loss to technology will mean people will try to slow adaptation to technology and come up with innovative ways to increase productivity. This will be very interesting to watch.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “People will continue to value the convenience and security measures will continue to be strong enough to provide reasonable reassurance. But the fact that you’re asking all these questions suggests to me that you may know something I don’t know!”

An anonymous social scientist said, “We’re a tactile species. We’re tired of pedestrian devices. Our digits are not just for scratching the family pet behind the ears. Our hands and fingers are connected to our physical abilities; they were made for grasping, shaking and working, not just poking and typing.”

An anonymous professor at New York University wrote, “Compare automobiles, which reliably kill tens of thousands and injure millions of people every year in the US alone. Now ask yourself how many people opt out of owning a car.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “This will involve pain and learning, but will eventually result in a healthy connected ecosystem.”

An anonymous professor of law at a state university observed, “There is no choice but to become ever more networked and connected: capital will demand it.”

An anonymous respondent said, “Online security breaches are going to be a pervasive part of life from here out. But there’s never been any serious movement away from online networking, even as threats have become more clear and concerns about them have grown. For most people, being online is essential economically and socially. Disconnecting is simply not a choice.”

An anonymous CEO wrote, “It’s that trust thing again. Those who care about it will limit the connections that they have in order to preserve it. Without trust there can be no real safety.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “I believe the major risks will cause a counter reaction by which significant number of people will disconnect.”

An anonymous computer security researcher replied, “The perceived benefits are so much greater than the poorly understood (by most) risks.”

An anonymous internet social researcher working in higher education said, “People will naturally become deeply connected, but some will reject this.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “By knowing the risks people will try to avoid what looks ‘bad’ or unsafe.”

An anonymous professor emeritus of history commented, “I expect many people to try to disable the connectivity of many of their machines. Until security can be well established, the risks will be too high.”

An anonymous respondent who works at the US Department of Defense replied, “I am one of the Last of the Mohicans. Not that I begrudge or fear technology, just that I’m aware of the threats and risks, even at this early evolutionary stage. From a governmental perspective, the US is fully aware of the threats and, unless under the most general of terms, it is foolish to divulge too many details.”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Neither is true. Really what you will have is not real disconnection but agnathopic connection as disconnection, or ignorance of their connection.”

An anonymous professor of digital media at an Australian university said, “The choice to disconnect will be a hipster privilege. Most people’s lives will become increasingly entangled with internet connectivity, although much of the seamless interoperability and user benefit will be glitchy, full of security errors, and underused by consumers.”

An anonymous respondent wrote, “The safest network is a disconnected network.”

An anonymous respondent commented, “At some point, the ability of people to be connected will be a deciding factor in the availability of government services to individuals. The general likelihood of fraud by both providers and recipients will be diminished.”

An anonymous instructor at a state university observed, “I am really not sure that people will have a choice, but you can always try to manage your cyber life.”

An anonymous political science professor replied, “The lure of comfort and convenience can only be countered by extremely huge disasters, apparently. Multiple firms’ and governments’ losing—or just giving away—the private data of millions isn’t huge enough.”

An anonymous associate professor of mathematics at the Université Abdou Moumouni said, “The advantages will bring more people in. The community will be mobilized to assure more security in the ecosystem, otherwise the process will collapse.”

An anonymous research psychologist wrote, “It will become even more convenient to be connected. This is the age of convenience with little regard to the future. “

An anonymous researcher and software developer commented, “It will be increasingly difficult for people to disconnect or remain disconnected. The social, political, and economic pressure to engage with online media will increase as will people’s perception of its value and importance. “

An anonymous chairman and CEO at a non-profit organization observed, “We will continue to become more connected without realizing our critical growing dependence. As we have seen negative photos and hacks creep into relationship breakups is it only a matter of time before a disgruntled spouse or lover hacks a home system to cause physical property damage?”

An anonymous respondent replied, “Until something truly catastrophic happens people will go for convenience over fear. Every new piece of technology and such is a potential weapon, but that has always been the case.”

An anonymous professor said, “The costs of disconnecting are greater than the costs of falling victim to hacks or attacks.”

An anonymous executive director for an organization advocating digital rights in Europe wrote, “There is a big gap between ‘most people’ getting more connected and ‘significant numbers’ disconnecting. The correct answer is likely to be in that gap. Companies are desperately trying to connect everything, in the hope of harvesting useful data—from bluetooth toothbrushes to period blood receptacles. This massive flurry of activity will take years to settle down and we will need to have worked through numerous scandals of data leaks and discrimination before we will be able to answer this question in a meaningful way.”

An anonymous engineer at Neustar commented, “There will always be Luddites, but we will find that the advantages far outweigh the problems. We do need some intelligent regulatory oversight.”

An anonymous user researcher at a major global news organization observed, “The fact that we now routinely update software on our computers to patch should tell us everything we need to know about the Internet of Things. Do you want to update your toaster? No? Do not purchase connected devices. There’s another problem. If your thermostat connects to a remote server to exchange data about your home-heating habits, and that company goes out of business, the next may no longer provide the servers to support your connected device. You may suddenly find that your thermostat doesn’t work. We are creating needless systems of dependency on companies through the Internet of Things. And then there’s privacy. Let’s say, for example, you purchase a smart television. If a company is collecting the data about how often you watch your smart television, we may want to consider that their primary reason to exist is to make a few dollars, and that data represents a revenue stream. Unless consumers read their privacy policies and terms of service, they are remarkably disadvantaged in their relationship with companies. Maybe the television company wants to sell the data with your insurer, or sell your television habits to data brokers to find out how often you purchase products you see advertised on your favorite channel. If privacy is a concern, it’s a lot easier to simply buy a disconnected device. It’s difficult to foretell the future adoption of networked devices, but I see no strong indications that the adoption will fall. This is despite the many problems with digital security, the inherent dependencies such devices create upon for-profit companies, and the privacy risks that can be abated through simply disconnecting.”

An anonymous president of a consulting firm replied, “People who see their only option as being exploited will disconnect from whatever is exploiting them, once they learn what’s really going on. People who learn how to connect with quality peers will go more deeply into exploring the exponential potential of the “Power of All of Us.” Many in rural areas fear the internet will pollute their children, and they are not wrong. Everything depends on the quality of mentorship, training, and ongoing support within a trusted support network working to limit online risks and maximize online benefits requiring the least investment in time, energy, cost, and prerequisite literacy. The study of corporate social responsibility in the tech industry will begin to teach users which corporations and/or government entities measurably demonstrate ‘best practices’ for inspiring loyalty via honest behavior. Profit-sharing cooperatives will inevitably appear, and hundreds of millions will sign up. The transparency will emerge regarding who has the best interests of global citizens at heart, and who is a manipulating mercenary. The politics of control and the politics of appearances will give way to the politics of transparency, which will force corporations to do the right thing for humanity regardless of whether they want to, or not. The sheer volume of discounts made possible when hundreds of millions participate creates a whole new set of global dynamics ripe for innovation. The battle between good and evil will continue online. At issue is which side the majority of the global population makes the choice to join based on personal values. The dire need is for everyone to understand how to achieve a win-win for all citizens globally to actively participate in the interconnected global economy.”

An anonymous respondent said, “People are going to keep getting hacked, but the benefits outweigh the risks.”

If you wish to read the full survey report with analysis, click here.

To read credited survey participants’ responses with no analysis, click here.