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Digital Life in 2025

Experts predict the Internet will become ‘like electricity’ — less visible, yet more deeply embedded in people’s lives for good and ill
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Technology Matters

To mark the 25th anniversary of the creation of the World Wide Web, a new report canvassing the views of more than 2,000 experts, outlines how digital technology will evolve over the next decade.


The Pew Research Centre report, part of a series titled, Digital Life in 2025, compiles imaginings by 2,558 experts who were asked an open-ended question about how technology will impact life by the year 2025. The respondents weighed in on the future of such concerns as privacy, cybersecurity, the “Internet of things,” and net neutrality. 


The study found that many experts agreed on the general outlines of the technological change that lies ahead, which is expected to create "a global, immersive, invisible, ambient networked computing environment," by 2025.

Internet will become ‘like electricity’

The biggest prediction from the responses is that a decade from now the Internet will be as ubiquitous as electricity—we won't even notice it's there—"augmented reality" and sharing information through wearable devices will become the norm. 


Fortunately, most experts surveyed believe the result of this connectivity will be positive. The experts pointed to a number of promising trends, like "intelligent analytical mapping of the physical and social realms," that would make information, education and entertainment much more widely available. 


But they also argued that the Internet would continue to disrupt traditional business models, and will make it more difficult for the world to ignore massive disparities and social problems. 


Of course, not all the predictions about what our connected world will bring are rosy. The experts warn that "abuses and abusers" will have an even larger playground. Some experts expressed concern about how expanding connectivity might foster increased surveillance, terror, inequality, crime, and other violations of personal and interpersonal ethics