Report

The Future of the Internet II

  • September 24, 2006
  • By Janna Quitney Anderson and Lee Rainie

A survey of Internet leaders, activists, and analysts, conducted by the Pew Internet &American Life Project and Elon University predicts the future of the Internet.

Among other conclusions, their findings show that a majority agree with predictions that by 2020 a low-cost global network will be thriving and creating new opportunities in a “flattening” world.

At the same time, there was strong dispute about those futuristic scenarios among notable numbers of 742 respondents to the survey. Those who raised challenges believe that governments and corporations will not necessarily embrace policies that will allow the network to spread to under-served populations; that serious social inequalities will persist; and that “addiction” is an inappropriate notion to attach to people's interest in virtual environments.

The experts and analysts also split evenly on a central question of whether the world will be a better place in 2020 due to the greater transparency of people and institutions afforded by the internet: 46% agreed that the benefits of greater transparency of organizations and individuals would outweigh the privacy costs and 49% disagreed.

Read the report The Future of the Internet II on Pew Internet & American Life Project's Web site.

Visit Elon University's Web site for the predictions survey and related databases -- Imagining the Internet.