How the Internet will shape your life

December 15, 2008

Love being plugged in? Hate when your loved one is always plugged in – but not to you?

The Pew Internet & America Life Project has released a new report on the future of the Internet that has significant implications for everyone, from digital natives to digital immigrants, to people who don’t do digital (or at least wish they didn’t).

According to the report:

“While some people are hopeful about a hyperconnected future that they say will offer more freedom, flexibility, better mental health, and positive life improvement, others express fears that mobility and ubiquitous computing will be a burden. When people are always on the grid, these experts believe it will cause stress and the disintegration of family and social life. It also might include oppressive surveillance by bosses and government.”

Following is a bullet summary of the report.

  • 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 is connected, and the results will be mixed in their impact on basic 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.
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4 Responses to “How the Internet will shape your life”

  1. Melissa (Dorsey) McDowell Says:

    Don’t forget the marginalization and (possibly) oppression of those who opt out and refuse to Get Connected.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    “The divisions between personal time and work time and between physical and virtual reality will be further erased for everyone who is connected, and the results will be mixed in their impact on basic social relations.”

    “When people are always on the grid, these experts believe it will cause stress and the disintegration of family and social life. It also might include oppressive surveillance by bosses and government.”

    Future’s lookin’ gooooooooood, eh?

  3. mpfinneran Says:

    The good news is that when you’ve lost your job and spousal type, you’ll still have Facebook.

  4. Melissa (Dorsey) McDowell Says:

    Ahhh, but you will have in common a whole circle of FB friends and your ability to kvetch about it may be compromised unless you’re willing to enact security protocols and invest the trust in certain people that they won’t stab you in the back because they liked your spouse better, in seekrit. Or were busy behind your back compromising your relationship. I’ve already seen a few splits that cause online awkwardness. We are, however, an ingenious and adaptable species, I’m sure we’ll think of something.


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