Digital technology impacts by 2020


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Pew Internet Director Lee Rainie delivered the keynote presentation at WorldFuture 2012 in Toronto on Friday, July 27. The presentation, based on his latest book, Networked: The New Social Operating System (co-authored with Barry Wellman), discussed the findings of the most recent expert surveys on the future of teens’ brains, the future of universities, the future of money, the impact of Big Data, the battle between apps and the Web, the spread of gamification, and the impact of smart systems on consumers.

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Digital technology impacts by 2020

  1. 1. Digital technology impacts by 2020 Pew Internet / Elon University tension pairs Lee Rainie Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project Janna Anderson Elon University – Imagining the Internet Center Presented to: World Future Society July 27, 2012
  2. 2. Networked in the future • Three revolutions • Scenarios of life and love in the metaverse 1) Mo’ for me 2) Mo’ for them
  3. 3. About the Future of the Internet surveys Our inspirer
  4. 4. About the Future of the Internet surveys – Me and Janna Anderson of Elon U. – We issue our reports free online – Books published by Cambria Press
  5. 5. About the Future of the Internet surveys – Respondents - Experts in Early ’90s Predictions Database – New invitees (high-tech organizations, etc.) – Pass-along recommendations – “Friends Pew Internet” – Not a scientific sample
  6. 6. About the Future of the Internet surveys – We pose scenarios in order to inspire detailed elaborations – The qualitative work is the meat of the effort
  7. 7. Survey 5 – 2011 – August 28 – October 31 – 1,021 respondents • 40% research scientist; employed by a college or university • 12% work at IT firms • 11% work at non-profits • 10% do IT work at their firm • 8% consultants • 5% government workers • 2% work for pub/media
  8. 8. Survey 5 – 2011 – 8 “tension pair” scenarios – one scenario posits big change by 2020; the other, little or no change – Top-of-mind subjects –We aren’t perfect
  9. 9. The 4 “pairs” findings you can read on your own1. Web vs. apps – Which will prevail? (Real action is in HTML5) Gamification – How widely will it spread? (It’ll get better through evolution, but watch out for manipulation)
  10. 10. The 4 “pairs” findings you can read on your own3. Corporate responsibility – How far will they go in cooperating with repressive regimes? (The key is if/how dissidents and white-hat hackers take charge) Smart systems – What will the home of the future look like? (Complex systems are a bear to run)
  11. 11. Pattern recognition in answers• Hope often characterizes their choices at time; more than clear-eyed calculation• Deep and chronic tensions persist in the respondents’ views – Security vs. privacy – Desire for more information vs. simplicity – Human plasticity vs. immutability• Socio-economic divisions are ongoing reality
  12. 12. Pattern recognition in answers• Your questions are not right• Your timeframe is off – in both directions• Pew Internet mantra: –Mobile is the needle, social is the thread, people are the cloth -- is a big part of the story
  13. 13. How will hyperconnected Millennials live?
  14. 14. Millennials’ future• In 2020 the brains of multitasking teens and young adults are "wired" differently from those over age 35 and overall it yields helpful results. They do not suffer notable cognitive shortcomings as they multitask and cycle quickly through personal- and work-related tasks. Rather, they are learning more and they are more adept at finding answers to deep questions, in part because they can search effectively and access collective intelligence via the Internet. In sum, the changes in learning behavior and cognition among the young generally produce positive outcomes.
  15. 15. Millennials’ future• In 2020, the brains of multitasking teens and young adults are "wired" differently from those over age 35 and overall it yields baleful results. They do not retain information; they spend most of their energy sharing short social messages, being entertained, and being distracted away from deep engagement with people and knowledge. They lack deep-thinking capabilities; they lack face-to-face social skills; they depend in unhealthy ways on the Internet and mobile devices to function. In sum, the changes in behavior and cognition among the young are generally negative outcomes.
  16. 16. Millennials’ futureChange for the better Change for the worse 52% 42%
  17. 17. Themes• Quick twitch younger “supertaskers” will master data streams more adeptly• John Smart: Kuznets curve (tech version) will be beginning phase 3• This world will produce new winners and losers , separated by search skills, social network capital, strategic mastery of attention• Ubiquitous data and diversions will drive some to shallow choices and diminished lives
  18. 18. Surprise/delight• Amber Case, cyberanthropologist, CEO of Geoloqi “We are becoming ‘persistent paleontologists’ of our own external memories, as our brains are storing the keywords to get back to those memories and not the full memories themselves.”• Tiffany Shlain, director of the film Connected “As Sophocles once said, ‘Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.’”
  19. 19. What’s the future of money?
  20. 20. Future of money• By 2020, most people will have embraced and fully adopted the use of smart-device swiping for purchases they make, nearly eliminating the need for cash or credit cards. People will come to trust and rely on personal hardware and software for handling monetary transactions over the Internet and in stores. Cash and credit cards will have mostly disappeared from many of the transactions that occur in advanced countries.
  21. 21. Future of money• People will not trust the use of near-field communications devices and there will not be major conversion of money to an all-digital-all-the-time format. By 2020, payments through the use of mobile devices will not have gained a lot of traction as a method for transactions. The security implications raise too many concerns among consumers about the safety of their money. And people are resistant to letting technology companies learn even more about their personal purchasing habits. Cash and credit cards will still be the dominant method of carrying out transactions in advanced countries.
  22. 22. Future of moneyMore or less cashless Not much change 65% 33%
  23. 23. Themes• It’s already happening. It’s all about the smartphone and two-factor authentication• Paper/coined money and advantages of selective anonymity will still matter• Trust isn’t the issue as much as the complexity of these systems … … and willingness of card companies to embrace them• Barry Chudakov – Rise of peer-to-peer currencies
  24. 24. Surprise/delight• Jerry Michalski, founder of Relationship Economy Expedition and Sociate “Its going to get incredibly easy to set up local currencies … that may not be coupled to fiat currencies …, thus freeing them from the … vagaries of the global financial markets.”• Kevin Carson, researcher, Center for a Stateless Society “The paperless digital economy will exist to a considerable extent under cover of a darknet, with… a lot of re- localized economic activity … that violates zoning, licensing, and spurious ‘health’ and ‘safety’ laws sucking commerce out of the official above-ground economy.”
  25. 25. The impact of Big Data?
  26. 26. Future of Big Data• Thanks to many changes, including the building of "the Internet of Things," human and machine analysis of large data sets will improve social, political, and economic intelligence by 2020. The rise of what is known as "Big Data" will facilitate things like "nowcasting" (real-time "forecasting" of events); the development of "inferential software" that assesses data patterns to project outcomes; and the creation of algorithms for advanced correlations that enable new understanding of the world. Overall, the rise of Big Data is a huge positive for society in nearly all respects.
  27. 27. Future of Big Data• Thanks to many changes, including the building of "the Internet of Things," human and machine analysis of Big Data will cause more problems than it solves by 2020. The existence of huge data sets for analysis will engender false confidence in our predictive powers and will lead many to make significant and hurtful mistakes. Moreover, analysis of Big Data will be misused by powerful people and institutions with selfish agendas who manipulate findings to make the case for what they want. And the advent of Big Data has a harmful impact because it serves the majority (at times inaccurately) while diminishing the minority and ignoring important outliers. Overall, the rise of Big Data is a big negative for society in nearly all respects.
  28. 28. Future of Big DataImprove intelligence Cause new problems 53% 39%
  29. 29. Themes• Jeff Jarvis: “Demonizing data … is demonizing knowledge” … and the analytical tools will only get better• Don’t downplay the “dark side” of surveillance society• DIY analytics/monitoring will be as helpful as Big Data numbers crunching• Human capacities are the key to its success and likely shortcomings• “How to lie with the Internet of Things” / “distribution of harms” (Oscar Gandy)
  30. 30. Surprise/delight• Patrick Tucker “Computer science, data-mining, and a growing network of sensors and information-collection software programs are giving rise to a phenomenal occurrence, the knowable future.”
  31. 31. The future of higher education?
  32. 32. Higher ed’s future• By 2020, higher education will be quite different from the way it is today. There will be mass adoption of teleconferencing and distance learning to leverage expert resources. Significant numbers of learning activities will move to individualized, just-in-time learning approaches. There will be a transition to "hybrid" classes that combine online learning components with less-frequent on-campus, in-person class meetings. Most universities assessment of learning will take into account more individually- oriented outcomes and capacities that are relevant to subject mastery. Requirements for graduation will be significantly shifted to customized outcomes.
  33. 33. Higher ed’s future• In 2020, higher education will not be much different from the way it is today. While people will be accessing more resources in classrooms through the use of large screens, teleconferencing, and personal wireless smart devices, most universities will mostly require in-person, on-campus attendance of students most of the time at courses featuring a lot of traditional lectures. Most universities assessment of learning and their requirements for graduation will be about the same as they are now.
  34. 34. Higher ed’s futureBig change Not so much60% 39%
  35. 35. Themes• Innovate or die• It’s the economy and customers, stupid!• Competency credentialing, yes … degree customization, not so much (David Ellis)• Learning is changing from a “transaction” to a “process” – lifelong, perpetual learning and it will take place in new spaces: Peer-to-peer collaborations emerge• What’s the franchise? What’s the commodity?
  36. 36. Surprise/delight• Bryan Alexander, senior fellow at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education “By 2020 we will see: … [the] number of college campuses will dwindle. Those that survive will emphasize: face-to-face experiences; campus grounds (beauty, history, charm); charismatic teachers; a sense of tradition.”
  37. 37. Why predictions matterIthiel De Sola Poole, Technologies of FreedomOn the printing press, telegraph, radio, television“These technologies caused revised conceptions of mans place in the universe”
  38. 38. Amen!