The latest bit from the respected Pew/Internet study is out. It’s long (138 pages) but contains some interesting nuggets:
- The mobile device will be the primary connection tool to the Internet for most people in the world in 2020. I still don’t know why we think of mobile devices as phones that compute. They’re really little computers that have voice capability, as does your PC if you have a mic and Skype.
- The transparency of people and organizations will increase, but that will not necessarily yield more personal integrity, social tolerance, or forgiveness. More on this below.
- Voice recognition and touch user-interfaces with the Internet will be more prevalent and accepted by 2020. Umm – maybe even by 2010? Seen that new iPhone thing, folks?
- Those working to enforce intellectual property law and copyright protection will remain in a continuing “arms race,” with the “crackers” who will find ways to copy and share content without payment. I’ve been on the “enforcer” side and it’s a losing battle, believe me. All the music industry did for 10 years was destroy itself and the fact that they finally have a digital business model of sorts isn’t helping. We need to think about better models, not imposing old ones.
- The divisions between personal time and work time and between physical and virtual reality will be further erased for everyone who’s connected, and the results will be mixed in terms of social relations.
Sadly, 55% disagreed with the following:
Social tolerance has advanced significantly due in great part to the Internet.
In 2020, people are more tolerant than they are today, thanks to wider exposure to others and their views that has been brought about by the Internet and other information and communication technologies. The greater tolerance shows up in several metrics, including declining levels of violence, lower levels of sectarian strife, and reduced incidence of overt acts of bigotry and hate crimes.
Not a very optimistic point of view and I, for one, think that the next few years here will change “the experts'” thinking on this. Not only is it good when people have differing points of view but also that they express them. I’m not so Pollyanna-ish to believe that everyone will meet in the middle one day but I do think people can learn to coexist peacefully even if they don’t agree with their neighbors on everything.
What do you think? Before you answer, think BACK 10 years to the digital world. Would you have believed we’d be where we are today?