Pew Elon University Survey about the future of the internet

Welcome to the Pew Internet 2013-2014 Future of the Internet Survey

In this survey, Pew Internet and Elon University pose eight questions asking you to share your best assessment of where you expect we will be in 2025 and how you envision the future impact of the Internet. We are not advocating for any future outcomes nor do we necessarily believe some of these scenarios will come to pass. These questions are designed to provoke and launch informed conversations.

Please say whether you believe the answer to each question is “yes” or “no” by selecting the answer that best indicates what you believe will come to pass. This may not be the future you would prefer – but please select the future you expect is most likely. You will then be asked to elaborate on your answers, sharing your thoughts, pro and con, on the future you expect to evolve.

Below is some important information about taking the survey…

This survey is completely confidential unless you indicate you would like your responses attributed to you. You can indicate this by putting your name in the text box at the beginning of a response. Otherwise, results are reported in the aggregate, and responses are not attributed to particular individuals.

If you prefer not to answer a question, you can simply skip it and move on to the next question.

Many questions are followed by text boxes in which you are asked to type your response. These text boxes have no character limit, so feel free to expand on your thoughts as much as you wish.

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If you need to, you can suspend your session by clicking the “logout” link below the question box. Your answers will be saved, and you can log back in later to finish the survey.

Security, liberty, privacy online – Will policy makers and technology innovators create a secure, popularly accepted, and trusted privacy-rights infrastructure by 2025 that allows for business innovation and monetization while also offering individuals choices for protecting their personal information in easy-to-use formats?

[X] Yes
[ ] No

Please elaborate on your answer. (Begin with your name if you are willing to have your comments attributed to you.) Describe what you think the reality will be in 2025 when it comes to the overall public perception about whether policy makers and corporations have struck the right balance between personal privacy, secure data, and compelling content and apps that emerge from consumer tracking and analytics.

As of now, the only technology tools which can be used are cryptocurrencies, encryption, vpns, sneaker nets, and software-defined networking. Layers of legal liability could be built atop these approaches but with global corporations and central banks increasingly willing to act illegally, these may be untenable.

Bonus question: Consider the future of privacy in a broader social context. How will public norms about privacy be different in 2025 from the way they are now?

C-Suites will either become far more or far less accountable. Ditto politicians. Citizens will reunionize (associations, guilds, political parties) . The DATA Act and similar politco-technical data transparency approaches will either be demanded or the internet will be more militarized. Private encrypted mesh networks may become more pervasive.

The economic impact of robotic advances and AI – Self-driving cars, intelligent digital agents that can act for you, and robots are advancing rapidly. Will networked, automated, artificial intelligence (AI) applications and robotic devices have displaced more jobs than they have created by 2025?

[X] Yes
[ ] No

Please elaborate on your answer. (Begin with your name if you are willing to have your comments attributed to you.) Describe your expectation about the degree to which robots, digital agents, and AI tools will have disrupted white collar and blue collar jobs by 2025 and the social consequences that will emerge from that.

This will depend a great deal on how consistently standards are adopted as “sources of truth” eg ontologies, formal taxonomies, semantics in general. There is currently a lot of emphasis placed on math deficits of students but the ability to work in formal and informal logic and the ability to perform analysis is the bigger hurdle.

Bonus question: To what degree will AI and robotics be parts of the ordinary landscape of the general population by 2025? Describe which parts of life will change the most as these tools advance and which parts of life will remain relatively unchanged.

Home appliances, healthcare and automobiles.

New killer apps in the gigabit age – Will there be new, distinctive, and uniquely compelling technology applications that capitalize upon significant increases in bandwidth in the U.S. between now and 2025?

[X] Yes
[ ] No

Please elaborate on your answer. (Begin with your name if you are willing to have your comments attributed to you.) If you answered “no,” explain why you think there will be incremental change, or hardly any change at all. If you answered “yes,” describe what the killer apps might be as gigabit connectivity becomes available. Explain what new tools and applications will excite people in the next decade and envision the kinds of personal connectivity and immersive media experiences that will seize the public imagination.

Review Mozilla Ignite

Major cyber attacks – By 2025, will a major cyber attack have caused widespread harm to a nation’s security and capacity to defend itself and its people? (By “widespread harm,” we mean significant loss of life or property losses/damage/theft at the levels of tens of billions of dollars.)

[X] Yes
[ ] No

Please elaborate on your answer. (Begin with your name if you are willing to have your comments attributed to you.) Explain what vulnerabilities nations have to their sovereignty in the coming decade and whether major economic enterprises can or cannot thwart determined opponents. Or explain why you think the level of threat has been hyped and/or why you believe attacks can be successfully thwarted.


The evolution of embedded and wearable devices and the Internet/Cloud of Things – As billions of devices, artifacts, and accessories are networked, will the Internet of Things have widespread and beneficial effects on the everyday lives of the public by 2025?

[X] Yes
[ ] No

Please elaborate on your answer. (Begin with your name if you are willing to have your comments attributed to you.) Describe the evolution of the uses of embedded devices, “wearables” and “scanables” by 2025 – where will commercial and social applications of the Internet of Things most commonly and vividly be felt? What social and political difficulties will accompany the rise of the Internet of Things? If you answered “no” please discuss what you believe the barriers are to the spread of the Internet of Things and the benefits that are claimed for it.

They will be widespread and have both beneficial and deleterious effects.

Bonus question: Consider the ways in which people will most commonly interact with the Internet in 2025 and tell us what you think the fate of wearable connected devices such as Google Glass and the Samsung watch will be. What do you think of the future prospect that people will interact via their thoughts or other bodily signals such as eye movements?

Sensors meshes for the head, voice control and audio output will be more common then now. Biotechnologies utilizing in body sensors for healing, disease management, prosthetics, etc. will become more common. Technologies developed for those with disabilities tend to be the harbingers of those things which become available.

Technology industry success – In 2025, which of the current colossus companies now wielding influence over how we use the Internet will be more important and powerful and which will be less important and less powerful (or even disappear)?

Amazon – More important
Apple – Less important
Facebook – More important
Google – More important
Microsoft – Will stay the same
Other U.S. firms – More important
Non-U.S firms – More important

Please elaborate on your answers above. (Begin with your name if you are willing to have your comments attributed to you.) Describe the most powerful Internet-leveraging and Internet-influencing corporations of 2025: Which will they be? What will they do? What kind of impact will they have on human connection, commerce, politics/civic life, education, and health care?

Any firm dealing with databases will grow in importance (IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Saleforce {especially those with cloud-hosted offerings}). They will likely to continue to aggregate outliers like Cache, M, Marklogic. The availability APIs will be the chief indicator of future success for any such technology.

Accessing and sharing content online – By 2025, will there be significant changes for the worse and hindrances to the ways in which people get and share content online compared with the way globally networked people can operate online today?

[X] Yes
[ ] No

Please elaborate on your answer. (Begin with your name if you are willing to have your comments attributed to you.) Describe what you believe are the most serious threats to the most effective accessing and sharing of content on the Internet. What steps are necessary to block changes that would limit people’s optimal future capabilities in using the Internet?

Smart phones will be more powerful, open source software based slates will become more available and sensor nets in general will become more pervasive. This means data, often without context (as opposed to XBRL, etc.) so these will be semantically challenging. Many language groups will become more pervasive so translation will become an even more important offering for niche dialects. At some point the petrol dollar fiat currency system will shift to cpu cycle based currencies. The growth of income disparity will either cause global revolutions or some other form of redress. These larger societal changes will determine who controls the internet.

Bonus question: Describe opportunities that you expect that will help people realize the fullest potential of the Internet. Or describe challenges you expect may stop people from realizing the fullest potential of the Internet.

At some point the petro dollar fiat currency system will shift to cpu cycle based currencies (or some other electricity/energy related {solar is “free money” in that world}). Distributed computing (BOINC, World Community Grid, etc.) go underutilized. Neighborgood clouds a la Glenn Ricart of US-Ignite will follow gigibitification. Results-Only Work Environments will either be adopted and become a cloud computing boon or avoided and an economic anchor which will drag down comuting. Growth of the use HPC in the Cloud, platforms like XSEDE, Internet2 (global NRENs and internconnects like GLORIAD, DANTE, TEIN); collaborative enablement platforms like, impactstory, banyan, git, mercurial, wikis, youtube, vimeo, yammer, google plus, linkedin groups, ning, wordpress, drupal, joomla, dot net nuke (with more Wave features as bandwidth allows). Continued adoption of arious office offerings: google docs, micorosoft sky drive, zimbra, alfresco (IAAS, PAAS, etc.), VOIP, WebRTC. And distributed manufacturing (see San Leandro

Most significant impacts of the Internet – This is an open-ended question allowing you to make your own prediction about the role of the Internet in people’s lives in 2025 and the impact it will have on social, economic and political processes. Good and/or bad, what do you expect to be the most significant overall impacts of our uses of the Internet on humanity between now and 2025?

Keep reading my

Please elaborate on your answer. (Begin with your name if you are willing to have your comments attributed to you.) Describe the greatest impact of the Internet between now and 2025. What will it be and why do you think it will happen?

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These questions are for statistical purposes only…

In which region of the world do you currently live and work?

[X] North America

During what year did you first start using the Internet?

Select year using drop-down menu below.

[X] 1994

What is your primary area of internet interest?
Advocate/Voice of the People/Activist User
Entrepreneur/Business Leader
Research Scientist
Technology Developer/Administrator
[X] Other: Please Specify [Mishmash of the above]

In the box below, please name the organization for which you primarily work and list your job title. If you do not wish to do this, please share a generalized description of your professional position or personal involvement with the Internet. (For example: self-employed digital consultant; CIO for; retired electrical engineer and member of IEEE; director of RLdNet, a non-profit closing the digital divide; legislative assistant in U.S. Congress; Internet law expert for DD Legal.)

PLEASE NOTE: If your elaborations are used in the report we issue about this survey, they will be attributed to you using the information you provide in the box below. For example: Jyn Eilg, CTO of, said, “The future of the Internet…”

If you have chosen to remain anonymous in your written responses to the survey and you are quoted in the report, having a generalized description is still extremely useful. Your comments would be attributed this way: An anonymous survey participant who works as a legislative aide specializing in technology issues in the U.S. Congress said, “The future of the Internet…”

Ed Dodds, Collaboration Strategist, Conmergence

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