What Do the Experts Fear About the Future of the Internet?
Posted at 10:40 a.m. on July 3, 2014
Will the way people access and share content on the Internet be significantly worse in 2025 compared to now? And what are the “most serious threats to the most effective accessing and sharing” of content online?
The Pew Research Center and Elon University received more than 1,400 responses to the first question, and fewer responses to the second question. A report they released today found several themes, which basically touch on some of the big tech policy issues out there today.
From the report:
The Net Threats These Experts Fear
1) Actions by nation-states to maintain security and political control will lead to more blocking, filtering, segmentation, and balkanization of the Internet.
2) Trust will evaporate in the wake of revelations about government and corporate surveillance and likely greater surveillance in the future.
3) Commercial pressures affecting everything from Internet architecture to the flow of information will endanger the open structure of online life.
4) Efforts to fix the TMI (too much information) problem might over-compensate and actually thwart content sharing.
On the first question, 65 percent answered no, while another 35 percent responded saying yes. There were some nuances, according to the report: “Yet some who answered ‘no’ wrote in their elaboration on the question that their answer was their ‘hope’ and not necessarily their prediction. Others wrote that they wished they could choose ‘yes and no.'”
The researchers fielded questions to experts they identified, “prominent listservs of Internet analysts,” and to the Pew Research Center Internet Project’s listserv, according to the report.