A plurality of experts think sweeping societal change will make life worse for most people. Still, a portion believe things will be better in a ‘tele-everything’ world.
This is a lengthy report by the Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center, and also the 12th Future of the Internet report. Almost a thousand technology innovators and developers, business and policy leaders, researchers, and activists responded sometime in July 2020. The themes outlined can make a pessimistic read; inequality, injustice, misinformation, and deteriorating mental health. Thankfully, there is a section focused on “hopes about life in 2025”. Rob Frieden hopes that we can finally close the digital divide, starting with access to Wi-Fi networks for all and looking towards the 6 GHz WiFi frequency band to “achieve a more accessible and affordable broadband.” Ben Shneiderman predicts an opportune ‘return’ of Google Glasses. Lastly, Ian O’Byrne shares a concern that I have too: humans will spend more time socializing using digital tools and spaces, and that social distancing will lead to us living in different digital, media, and information spaces that hardly intersect. - ELJ