SUMMARY OF FINDINGS - Technology stakeholders and critics were asked in an online survey to assess scenarios about the future social, political, and economic impact of the Internet and they said the following:
- The mobile device will be the primary connection tool to the Internet for most people in the world in 2020.
- The transparency of people and organizations will increase, but that will not necessarily yield more personal integrity, social tolerance, or forgiveness.
- Voice recognition and touch user-interfaces with the Internet will be more prevalent and accepted by 2020.
- Those working to enforce intellectual property law and copyright protection will remain in a continuing “arms race,” with the “crackers” who will find ways to copy and share content without payment.
- The divisions between personal time and work time and between physical and virtual reality will be further erased for everyone who’s connected, and the results will be mixed in terms of social relations.
- “Next-generation” engineering of the network to improve the current Internet architecture is more likely than an effort to rebuild the architecture from scratch.
Transparency heightens individual integrity and forgiveness.
In 2020, people are even more open to sharing personal information, opinions, and emotions than they are now. The public’s notion of privacy has changed. People are generally comfortable exchanging the benefits of anonymity for the benefits they perceive in the data being shared by other people and organizations. As people’s lives have become more transparent, they have become more responsible for their own actions and more forgiving of the sometimes-unethical pasts of others. Being “outed” for some past indiscretion in a YouTube video or other pervasive-media form no longer does as much damage as it did back in the first decade of the 21st Century. Carefully investigated reputation corrections and clarifications are a popular daily feature of major media outlets’ online sites.
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