|Weekly News Digest
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New Pew Research Center Survey on the Future of the Internet
A survey of nearly 900 internet stakeholders reveals fascinating new perspectives on the way the internet is affecting human intelligence and the ways that information is being shared and rendered. The web-based survey gathered opinions from prominent scientists, business leaders, consultants, writers, and technology developers. It is the fourth in a series of internet expert studies conducted by the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University and the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project (www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Future-of-the-Internet-IV.aspx).
The survey finds that most experts and stakeholders say the internet will enhance-not degrade-our intelligence. It will also change the functions of reading and writing and will be rebuilt around still-unanticipated gadgetry and applications. Some of the most compelling responses were answers that extend the debate over criticisms leveled by tech scholar and analyst Nicholas Carr in a 2008 Atlantic Monthly magazine cover story (www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google) titled "Is Google Making Us Stupid?"
In all, 895 people responded to the online survey, and 371 of them were experts who have participated in past surveys about the future of the internet. In this survey, experts were asked to react to two opposing statements about the direction and impact of the internet 10 years from now-that is, the year 2020. The report covers the answers to these issues:
- Will Google make us stupid?
- Will the internet enhance or detract from reading, writing, and rendering of knowledge?
- Is the next wave of innovation in technology, gadgets, and applications pretty clear now, or will the most interesting developments between now and 2020 come "out of the blue"?
- Will the end-to-end principle of the internet still prevail in 10 years or will there be more control of access to information?
- Will it be possible to be anonymous online or not by the end of the decade?
Source: Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project
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