Pew: The Future of the Internet II

“Privacy is a thing of the past…”

There’s a new Pew report out, with technologists and thinkers offering their views of the future of the Internet. The Future of the Internet II has some fascinating findings and will offer much food for thought. From their summary page:

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. However, a significant 42% of survey respondents were pessimistic about humans’ ability to control the technology in the future. This significant majority agreed that dangers and dependencies will grow beyond our ability to stay in charge of technology. This was one of the major surprises in the survey.

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.

The fabric of social networks is woven through many of these points. Virtual worlds, such as Second Life, do seem to have great potential for use and the threat of living too much in that second world does seem evident, like the folks who confessed “internet addiction” back in the late 90s.

And I’ll be very interested to read the respondents’ thoughts on privacy.

This would be a good one to pull down, read and discuss at your staff meetings.