Have you ever wondered about the internet in 2035 and how different it could be? A report from Pew Research Center shares what experts believe.
The Internet in 2035
A total of 434 technology innovators, developers, business and policy leaders, researchers and activists provided open-ended responses to this question:
We invite you to imagine a better world online: What is one example of an aspect of digital life that you think could be different in 2035 than it is today? We invite you to create a vignette of something you would like to see taking place in a “new and improved” digital realm in 2035. Your example might involve politics or social activities or jobs or physical and mental health or community life or education. Feel free to think expansively – and specifically.’
Here are some of the ideas:
- Physical spaces and virtual spaces will be seamlessly integrated, and digital technologies will disappear so completely into our lives and surrounding environments that we will barely notice it.
- Super-sophisticated warning systems will be widely employed in many domains, including health care, community well-being, environmental assessments, housing and commercial activities; and rapid-response collaborative groups will be poised to address problems identified by those warning systems.
- A new class of professionals – coders, information curators, literacy advisors – will arise to help digital platforms encourage democratic behaviors. They will enable a “culture of accountability” in parts of the internet that is deeply trusted.
- New forms of digital property and a new regime of copyright and ownership will be commonplace.
- A Human API (application programming interface) will be designed to store and enforce the rules people set about what is allowed to come into their awareness, what takes up their time and what information is shared about their activities.
- A Digital Bill of Rights will govern at least a share of the activity that occurs online.
- A sharing economy will arise to challenge the economy based on owning property; subscription models also supplant ownership regimes.
It’s a 100-page report and the above is only a sampling. The full report goes into more detail about each theme. Of course, it’s not visions of utopia. Joseph Turow, professor of media systems and industries at the University of Pennsylvania, believes that “true contextual advertising will become the norm:
The best kind of paid internet messaging in 2035 would be a sophisticated version of contextual advertising. That would involve using machine learning and deep neural network programs to examine what a person is reading, hearing or viewing on a site or app, and then to serve an ad for a product or service that seems to complement, supplement, or in some other way relate to the person’s interests based on that content.