Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Pew Survey on the Future of the Internet

The Pew Internet in American Life Project conducts a biannual survey on the future of the Internet, and they published the
results of the 2010 survey last week.

Pew surveyed 895 Internet experts and stakeholders, asking questions in these areas:

  • Will Google make us stupid?
  • Will the Internet enhance or detract from reading, writing, and rendering of knowledge?
  • Is the next wave of innovation in technology, gadgets, and applications pretty clear now, or will the most interesting developments between now and 2020 come “out of the blue”?
  • Will the end-to-end principle of the Internet still prevail in 10 years, or will there be more control of access to information?
  • Will it be possible to be anonymous online or not by the end of the decade?
Note that we discuss each of these topics in the "Internet implications" portion of our class.

The survey is formatted as a series of 5-level Likert Scale questions with open-ended explanations of one's answer. The report summarizes the respondent's consensus on each question, and includes many quotes selected from the open-ended explanations.

I recommend this report to anyone interested in the implications of the Internet for individuals, organizations or society.

The survey is part of Imagining the Internet, a larger Elon University/Pew project on the history and future of the Internet. Highly recommended.

Disclaimer: I took part in the survey.

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