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Pew Internet Project: “Internet Here to Stay”

- September 25, 2006 - 0 Comments

SAN JOSE, CA – Okay, so maybe that wasn’t the entire thrust of one of their latest reports, but it does have some interesting findings on what many think the web will look like in 2020. Yesterday, the Pew Internet Project announced the release of its second report on The Future of the Internet and analysts and experts shared their views. I offer my expert opinion after each of the highlighted findings.Among the findings: A survey of internet leaders, activists, and analysts shows that a majority agree with predictions that by 2020: 1. A low-cost global network will be thriving and creating new opportunities in a “flattening” world; (Earnhardt prediction: the use of “flattening world” will never be overused.)2) Humans will remain in charge of technology, even as more activity is automated and “smart agents” proliferate. However, a significant 42% of survey respondents were pessimistic about humans’ ability to control the technology in the future. This significant majority agreed that dangers and dependencies will grow beyond our ability to stay in charge of technology. This was one of the major surprises in the survey; (Earnhardt prediction: “Blade Runner” – which is set in 2019 – will still be a good movie and one of Darryl Hannah’s finest performances.)Daryl_Hannah_Blade_Runner.jpg3) Virtual reality will be compelling enough to enhance worker productivity and also spawn new addiction problems; (Earnhardt prediction: I’ll still want to go outside to play golf rather than playing it on my “virtual reality” environment.)4) Tech “refuseniks” will emerge as a cultural group characterized by their choice to live off the network. Some will do this as a benign way to limit information overload, while others will commit acts of violence and terror against technology-inspired change; (Earnhardt prediction: Ted “Unabomber” Kaczynski will still be in jail.)5) People will wittingly and unwittingly disclose more about themselves, gaining some benefits in the process even as they lose some privacy; (Earnhardt prediction: If a marketer sends you something based on what your likes are, you don’t mind. If someone sends you something based on what your SECRET likes are, you mind.)6) English will be a universal language of global communications, but other languages will not be displaced. Indeed, many felt other languages such as Mandarin, would grow in prominence. (Earnhardt prediction: China will continue to be a populous nation.)Click here for the full survey.

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