The Pew Research Centre’s Internet Project published something interesting recently. They ask a few thousand “experts” for their predictions of life in the near future. There is a surprising level of agreement and Pew research extracted 15 theses.

The main article is here but here are the 15 theses in handy listicle format:

  • Information sharing over the Internet will be so effortlessly interwoven into daily life that it will become invisible, flowing like electricity, often through machine intermediaries.
  • The spread of the Internet will enhance global connectivity that fosters more planetary relationships and less ignorance.
  • The Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and big data will make people more aware of their world and their own behaviour.
  • Augmented reality and wearable devices will be implemented to monitor and give quick feedback on daily life, especially tied to personal health.
  • Political awareness and action will be facilitated and more peaceful change and public uprisings like the Arab Spring will emerge.
  • The spread of the ‘Ubernet’ will diminish the meaning of borders, and new ‘nations’ of those with shared interests may emerge and exist beyond the capacity of current nation-states to control.
  • The Internet will become ‘the Internets’ as access, systems, and principles are renegotiated.
  • An Internet-enabled revolution in education will spread more opportunities, with less money spent on real estate and teachers.
  • Dangerous divides between haves and have-nots may expand, resulting in resentment and possible violence.
  • Abuses and abusers will ‘evolve and scale.’ Human nature isn’t changing; there’s laziness, bullying, stalking, stupidity, pornography, dirty tricks, crime, and those who practice them have new capacity to make life miserable for others.
  • Pressured by these changes, governments and corporations will try to assert power — and at times succeed — as they invoke security and cultural norms.
  • People will continue — sometimes grudgingly — to make tradeoffs favouring convenience and perceived immediate gains over privacy; and privacy will be something only the upscale will enjoy.
  • Humans and their current organisations may not respond quickly enough to challenges presented by complex networks.
  • Most people are not yet noticing the profound changes today’s communications networks are already bringing about; these networks will be even more disruptive in the future.
  • Foresight and accurate predictions can make a difference; ‘The best way to predict the future is to invent it.’