The Pew report on the future internet surveyed leaders, activists, and analysts in the fields of computing, politics and business. More than half of respondents had a positive vision of the net's future but 46% had serious reservations. 42% of survey respondents were pessimistic about humans’ ability to control the technology in the future.
A majority agree with predictions that by 2020:
- A low-cost global network will be thriving and creating new opportunities in a “flattening” world.
- Humans will remain in charge of technology, even as more activity is automated and “smart agents” proliferate.
- Virtual reality will be compelling enough to enhance worker productivity and also spawn new addiction problems.
- 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.
- People will wittingly and unwittingly disclose more about themselves, gaining some benefits in the process even as they lose some privacy.
- 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.