Imagining the Internet


It’s always fun to imagine what the future might bring. The Future of the Internet II contains the results of an eight-part 2006 survey of technology experts and social analysts that inspired thousands of fascinating forecasts tied to eight compelling question sets about the state of things in 2020, including: Will English be the dominant language? Will more people choose to live “off the grid”? Will virtual reality trump “real” reality? Will autonomous machines leave humans out of the loop? Will national boundaries be displaced by new groupings?

The web-based survey of 742 internet stakeholders was undertaken by Pew Internet, and asked respondents to assess provocative proposed scenarios for the year 2020 found significant support for and against each.

There’s some great reading among the many links from this page – or you can download the full report in PDF format.

2 thoughts on “Imagining the Internet

  1. This does make interesting reading Derek. I wondered how many of these people…

    By 2020, the people left behind (many by their own choice) by accelerating information and communications technologies will form a new cultural group of technology refuseniks who self-segregate from “modern” society. Some will live mostly “off the grid” simply to seek peace and a cure for information overload, while others will commit acts of terror or violence in protest against technology.

    …will be teachers?

    Will we start to see schools advertise (in their printed prospectus) themselves as being technology free. 🙂 There might be a few teachers still who are holding out for this.

  2. Last night, I attended a lecture in which the speaker encouraged us to think how we might be using the technologies by 2020. He repeatedly urged us to approach the matter systematically. I tried to explain that no-one knew what technologies would be around by 2020, particularly not many of the people in the room who had yet to catch up with current technology, and that it was very difficult to take a systematic approach to anything that never stood still long enough for us to draw a bead on it. He was adamant that the systematic approach was necessary in education. I look forward to discussing this publication with him!

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