By 2069, the internet will be as pervasive and necessary as oxygen. Scientific advances will continue to blur the line between human and machine. And personal privacy will be an archaic, outdated concept.
Sure, it’s still all up for grabs, say some experts, but this is a snapshot of some of their predictions as collected by the Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center.
As part of the new report released today, experts shared their predictions of what the internet and digital life will look like in 50 years time.
In total, 530 technology innovators, developers, business and policy leaders, researchers and activists answered the call in the “nonscientific” canvass.
The report coincides with the 50th anniversary of the first host-to–host communication of ARPANET, the early “packet-switching network that was the precursor to today’s multibillion-host internet.”
Thankfully, most say the future looks bright.
“In 50 years, what we know as our internet will be largely obsolete. Rather than organizing information in the form of URLs, apps and websites, our digital interactions will be conversational, haptic and embedded in the world we live in (even, to some extent, in ourselves),” comment Susan Etlinger, an industry analyst for Altimeter Group and expert in data, analytics and digital strategy, as cited in the report.
“As a result, the distinction between the physical and digital worlds will largely fall away. Prosthetics, imaging, disease and pathogen detection, and brain science (identifying, understanding and perhaps even modifying the workings of the brain) will all see advances far beyond what we can imagine today.”
However, there’s a caveat.
As the report noted, most of these experts argue key decisions need to be made soon.
“The optimists responding to the better-worse-no change question expressed hope that in the next 50 years digital advances will lead to longer lifespans, greater leisure, more equitable distributions of wealth and power and other possibilities to enhance human well-being. At the same time, nearly all of these experts’ written predictions included warnings about the possibilities of greater surveillance and data-abuse practices by corporations and governments, porous security for digitally connected systems and the prospect of greater economic inequality and digital divides unless policy solutions push societies in different directions,” it said.
To see the full report, go here.