The future of the Internet: An American survey

The Pew Internet & American Life Project completed a survey late last year in which they asked over a thousand Internet users (mostly long-term early adopters) how they saw the net changing. The full report is available as a free PDF.

There's not a whole lot of surprises ("high-speed connections will proliferate"), but when you're aggregating peoples' opinions it would be a surprise if you didn't come up with common sense results. I'd be interested to see the results of the same questions asked of people who have only been online a short amount of time, or of people from a variety of countries (the report is focused on America). The questionnaire took the form of stating a prediction and asking whether the respondent agreed, disagreed or challenged it. Here's the report's own "at a glance" summary:

  • Most experts expect attacks on the network infrastructure in the coming decade. Some argue that serious assaults on the internet infrastructure will become a regular part of life.
  • The internet will be more deeply integrated in our physical environments and high-speed connections will proliferate -- with mixed results.
  • In the emerging era of the blog, experts believe the internet will bring yet more dramatic change to the news and publishing worlds. They predict the least amount of change to religion.
  • Experts are both in awe and in frustration about the state of the internet. They celebrate search technology, peer-to-peer networks, and blogs; they bemoan institutions that have been slow to change.

The report includes plenty of quotes from the respondents which make for more interesting reading that the plain statistics. (Thanks Glynn.)

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