The next fifty years of digital life are described optimistically, as illustrated by a recent Pew Research Center study. The breakdown consists of 72% participants believing that there would be changed for the better, whereas 25% say there would be a change for the worse, and 3% believe there would be no significant change.
The theme’s conclusion about the next phase of the digital frontier includes developing an equitable future and positive perspectives. For instance, people believe that unregulated internet will come to an end. Internet regulation refers to restricting access to certain aspects of information. Further, technology leaders will make changes to the frameworks to protect the public good.
However, to have a better digital landscape, humans must be held accountable for the decisions they make online. The idea that humans are seamlessly connected to the internet will continue to prevail.
In regards to positive visions for the future, a majority of survey participants believe that technology will help people live longer. Yet, these advances will continue to blur the lines between human and technology due to the heavy reliance on technological advances.
Another belief is that artificial intelligence (AI), will take over jobs starting with repetitive jobs such as packaging and lift operators allocating more time for leisure for humans. Lastly, there is a belief that internet access could expand. This expansion could empower social and political power structures, which could decrease inequality.
In addition, another realm that is explored is the negative visions that will occur within the future of the digital age. An example is the persistent polar divide that penetrates within spheres such as economic, health and educational disparities.
Although survey participants identified the positive sides of technology, they also noted the oppression that can arise from becoming dependent on technology. Specifically, technology will keep the public distracted and isolated from human connection.
Individuals in the survey are persistent about the idea that technology will limit disparity and overall inequality. It is also important to note that the younger generation is changing the way humans interact with their phones, for example, more conversational such as speech-to-text technology.
These technological ideas are important to recognize as the frontier is upon us, and the decisions we make online will impact the newly developing technology.
Stansberry, K., Anderson, J., & Rainie, L. (2019, November 18). Experts Optimistic About the Next 50 Years of Digital Life. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2019/10/28/experts-optimistic-about-the-next-50-years-of- digital-life/.
Article by: Alexis Takagi