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In an online survey of 895 technology stakeholders’ and critics’ expectations of social, political
and economic change by 2020, fielded by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life
Project and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center:

Google won’t make us stupid: 76% of these experts agreed with the statement, “By
2020, people’s use of the Internet has enhanced human intelligence; as people are
allowed unprecedented access to more information they become smarter and make
better choices. Nicholas Carr was wrong: Google does not make us stupid.” Some of the
best answers are in Part 1 of this report.

Reading, writing, and the rendering of knowledge will be improved: 65% agreed with
the statement “by 2020 it will be clear that the Internet has enhanced and improved
reading, writing and the rendering of knowledge.” Still, 32% of the respondents
expressed concerns that by 2020 “it will be clear that the Internet has diminished and
endangered reading, writing and the rendering of knowledge.” Some of the best
answers are in Part 2 of this report.

Innovation will continue to catch us by surprise: 80% of the experts agreed that the
“hot gadgets and applications that will capture the imaginations of users in 2020 will
often come ‘out of the blue.’” Some of the best answers are in Part 3 of this report.

Respondents hope information will flow relatively freely online, though there will be
flashpoints over control of the internet. Concerns over control of the Internet were
expressed in answers to a question about the end‐to‐end principle. 61% responded that
the Internet will remain as its founders envisioned, however many who agreed with the
statement that “most disagreements over the way information flows online will be
resolved in favor of a minimum number of restrictions” also noted that their response
was a “hope” and not necessarily their true expectation. 33% chose to agree with the
statement that “the Internet will mostly become a technology where intermediary
institutions that control the architecture and …content will be successful in gaining the
right to manage information and the method by which people access it.” Some of the
best answers are in Part 4 of this report.

Anonymous online activity will be challenged, though a modest majority still think it
will possible in 2020: There more of a split verdict among the expert respondents about
the fate on online anonymity. Some 55% agreed that Internet users will still be able to
communicate anonymously, while 41% agreed that by 2020 “anonymous online activity
is sharply curtailed.”

More details at


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January 2013

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