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<nettime> Re: Pew: Experts assess Future of Internet
Patrice Riemens on Thu, 28 Sep 2006 15:06:27 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Re: Pew: Experts assess Future of Internet

Geert wrote about it:
"report full of contradictions and yesterday's predictions. interesting
that the growing international dimension of the Internet is not
mentioned at all, except for a reference to mandarin. it is quite clear
which narrow group of wasp expertocracy the pew internet project
focused on here, and how predictable the outcome then becomes..."

I found the term 'yesterday's predictions' highly amusing - the more
so since I was once described as "this young man has a very bright
future _behind_ him". However, just as in my case, 'yesterday's
predictions' have a tendency to come out, and none quotted here from
the Pew report seem particularly outrageous. So I do not think that
it deserves such scathing comment since it is a honest attempt by a
diverse, though very US-centered, group of people to make some sense
of bewildering, unpredictable and extremely fast-moving developments.
That said, futurology of course ranks close to astrology in the scale
of the hard sciences (with economics trailing not far behind ;-) Fred
Noronha fwded to the BytesforAll list the following DPA brief, which
gives more voice to the pessimists and the dissenters. Needless to say
that I most 'liked', and completely believe, in the last prediction...

ciaou, p+3D!

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: [bytesforall_readers] Internet everywhere by 2020, but at what cost?
From:    "Frederick Noronha" <fred {AT} bytesforall.org>
Date:    Wed, September 27, 2006 21:59
To:      bytesforall_readers {AT} yahoogroups.com

Internet everywhere by 2020, but at what cost?

San Francisco, Sep 27 (DPA) A survey of technologists has found almost
unanimous agreement that a low-cost Internet will be available to the
majority of the world's population by 2020, but also uncovered
disagreement about the impact of the pervasive technology.

The report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project was released
Monday and surveyed 742 experts in the fields of computing, politics
and business on the future of Internet.

"Key builders of the next generation of Internet often agree on the
direction technology will change, but there is much less agreement
about the social and political impact those changes will have," said
Janna Quitney Anderson, lead author of the report, The Future of the
Internet II.

"One of their big concerns is - who controls the Internet architecture
they have created?" she said.

Experts agreed that the digital communications infrastructure would
expand massively by 2020. By then it would cover regions and
populations currently left out of digital society. It would also
stretch far beyond today's personal computers to encompass billions of
devices in every walk of life.

Just over half of the researchers believed in the positive aspects of
this development - such as greater educational opportunities and a
"flattening" of the global economy to allow poorer countries to better

But 46 percent of the experts also had serious reservations about the
spread of the net, including the loss of personal privacy and the
danger that humans could lose control of the technology they create.

There was also widespread fear that governments and corporations might
try to stifle the growth of technology or use it inappropriately.

Some 60 percent of respondents predicted the emergence of extensive
communities who opt out of the connected lifestyle, with some
extremists launching attacks against the technology infrastructure.

More than half of respondents disagreed that English would become so
dominant as the lingua franca of the Internet that it would displace
other languages.

But over 40 percent feared that humans could lose control of
technology, potentially in much the same manner as in the movie "The

Bob Saffo of the Institute for the Future predicted: "Sometime after
2020, our machines will become intelligent, evolve rapidly and end up
treating us as pets."


Frederick Noronha http://fn.goa-india.org  9822122436 +91-832-240-9490
http://fredericknoronha.wordpress.com http://www.flickr.com/photos/fn-goa/

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