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Lee Rainie, director of Internet and Technology research at the Pew Research Center, gave the Holmes Distinguished Lecture at Colorado State University on April 13, 2018. He discussed the research the Center conducted with Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center about the future of the internet and the way digital technologies will spread to become the “internet of everywhere” and “artificial intelligence” everywhere. He also explored the ways in which experts say this will create improvements in people’s lives and the new challenges – including privacy, digital divides, anti-social behavior and stress tests for how human social and political systems adapt.
The future of technology
Lee Rainie - @lrainie
Director Internet and Technology Research
Colorado State University
April 13, 2018
Canvassing of experts began in 2004: Greatest hits
• Rise of cyber attacks
• Shift to mobile
• Increased concern about privacy
• Growth of fringe groups
• Impacts on well-being tied to hyper-
• Rise of virtual & augmented reality
• Obliterated boundary home/work
• Decline of TV
• Uncertain effects on tolerance / wisdom
2010 question: Are hot new gadgets evident now?
Hot gadgets and apps that will
capture the imagination of
users in 2020 will often
come “out of the blue” and
not have been anticipated
by many of today’s savviest
The hot gadgets and
applications that will capture
the imagination of users in
2020 are pretty evident
today and will not take many
of today’s savviest
innovators by surprise.
16% of experts 81% of experts
Digital Life in 2025
The internet will become ‘like electricity’ — less visible, yet more
deeply embedded in people’s lives for good and ill
There will be a global, immersive, ambient networked computing
environment built through the continued proliferation of smart
sensors/dust, cameras, software, databases, and massive data
There will be real and virtual enhancements to much of human
activity, including cognition. Artificial intelligence will be
ubiquitous and people will exploit it through the use of portable /
wearable / implantable technologies and autonomous tools like
drones and driverless vehicles.
Social and business encounters will be shaped by virtual
reality and telepresence. Interfaces with data and objects
will change and become easier. Speech/gesture
interaction will matter more. Rich, immersive
experiences will proliferate
Information sharing over the Internet will be effortlessly interwoven
into daily life making us smarter, safer, more efficient.
‘Computication’ involving ‘smart agents’ will be commonplace
and that will advance productivity and enhance leisure.
Artificial intelligence, augmented reality, wearable devices, and
big data will make people more aware of their world and their
own behavior – which will especially aid in health care.
The environment and structures themselves will become
‘intelligent’ and expand our knowledge about them – plus,
enable their own ‘maintenance’ and ‘repairs.’
Privacy will be more at risk and something perhaps only
the privileged will enjoy.
The nature of work will change in unprecedented ways as robots
and artificial intelligence assume greater roles in job functions.
Self-driving cars, intelligent digital agents that can act for
you, and robots are advancing rapidly. Will networked,
automated, artificial intelligence (AI) applications and
robotic devices have displaced more jobs than they have
created by 2025?
52% - more jobs created than destroyed
48% - more jobs displaced than created
In the next 10 years, do you think we will see the emergence
of new educational and training programs that can
successfully train large numbers of workers in the skills
they will need to perform the jobs of the future?
70% - “yes”
30% - “no”
Dangerous divides between haves and have-nots may expand,
resulting in resentment and possible violence.
Abuses and abusers will ‘evolve and scale.’ Human nature isn’t
changing. Those pursuing crime, laziness, bullying, stalking,
stupidity, pornography, and dirty tricks have new capacity to make
life miserable for others.
Humans and their organizations may not respond quickly enough
to challenges presented by complex networks.
“Laws and institutions must go
hand in hand with the progress
of the human mind. As that
becomes more developed, more
enlightened, as new discoveries
are made, new truths disclosed,
and manners and opinions
change with the change of
circumstances, institutions must
advance also, and keep pace
with the times.”
---- Thomas Jefferson (date tk)