Web 2.0 is only the beginning of the Internet’s evolution. “The Future of the Internet II,” a report published by Pew Internet & the American Life Project gathers views of the future from Internet leaders, activists, builders, and commentators.
The report is meant to spark discussion about the future and aid stakeholders in making decisions and adapting to technological evolution in its questions to what the report calls Internet pioneers — or technology thinkers, stakeholders, and social analysts.
The possibility of a global network across many platforms is split. Fifty-six percent agree on the possibility of a global, low-cost network. The network will likely maintain interoperability between platforms, including mobile wireless devices. Forty-three percent believe digital divides will be difficult to bridge.
Just as the U.S.’s official language is yet to be determined, so too is the Web’s. Forty-two percent believe English will displace other languages, while 57 percent disagree with the statement. It’s believed Mandarin will overtake, or at least dominate alongside of, English on the Web.
The fine line between transparency and privacy will likely continue to pose a problem in 2020. Forty-six percent of respondents believe transparency will succeed at a certain expense to privacy. Individuals are expected to become increasingly visible on a global level. The move is expected to bring about both good and bad results.
About 742 Internet industry professionals responded to the survey conducted by Pew and Elon University. One quarter of the respondents live and work outside the U.S., and more than half were online before 1993. The study was meant to mirror the work of Ithiel de Sola Pool and his 1983 book “Forecasting the Telephone: A Retrospective Technology Assessment.” Members of the ClickZ editorial staff were among the respondents to the survey.
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