Pew study predicts brave new world of 2020

Report from the IT great and good predicts global networks and no privacy being "obsolete"

A report by the Pew Institute in the United States has predicted the rise of a global, inexpensive communications network and a resulting loss of privacy for those using it.

The survey, which talked to over 700 internet pioneers and developers as well as noted futurologists, found the overwhelming majority of respondents thought the priority goal for 2020 was the construction of a global network to link all parts of the world and using it to spread knowledge around nations.

Internet sociologist Howard Rheingold expressed the consensus of the respondents reflecting on the setting of priorities: "Without affordable access, knowledge of how to use the technology, and the legal and operating environment that permits innovation, we won't see the creative explosion we saw with personal computers and the internet."

In order to facilitate the global network however the respondents thought that protocols to allow anyone to join must be developed, although they were far more sceptical of plans to develop a global currency or making English a global language.

But these plans could well be held back by businesses eager to make money.

"Profit motives will impede data flow ... Networks will conform to the public utility model, with stakeholders in generation, transmission, and distribution. Companies playing in each piece of the game will enact roadblocks to collect what they see as their fair share of tariff revenue," said Peter Kim, senior analyst at Forrester Research

The report also highlighted the lack of privacy in this brave new world. A slim majority of respondents felt that the loss of privacy would outweigh the benefits of the new world order.

"Privacy is a thing of the past," said Hal Varian, Google consultant and Professor at the University of California-Berkeley.

"Technologically it is obsolete. However, there will be social norms and legal barriers that will dampen out the worst excesses."

Featured Resources

Virtual desktops and apps for dummies

An easy guide to virtual desktop infrastructure, end-user computing, and more

Download now

The total economic impact of optimising and managing your hybrid multi-cloud

Cost savings and business benefits of accelerating the cloud journey

Download now

A buyer’s guide for cloud-based phone solutions

Finding the right phone system for your modern business

Download now

What’s next for the education sector?

A new learning experience

Download now

Most Popular

KPMG offers staff 'four-day fortnight' in hybrid work plans
flexible working

KPMG offers staff 'four-day fortnight' in hybrid work plans

6 May 2021
Hackers use open source Microsoft dev platform to deliver trojans

Hackers use open source Microsoft dev platform to deliver trojans

14 May 2021
How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD
operating systems

How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD

30 Apr 2021