Marking its 25th anniversary, the Pew Research Center decided to conduct research on what experts thought the next decade of the Internet might bring and what concerns they have.
The study concluded that for the most part, experts are generally excited about the innovations to come in 10 years, but there is also caution and fear.
Experts reportedly told the researchers that government sanctions on Internet use, surveillance and commercial pressures are all a concern. The 2014 Future of the Internet study pointed out that online liberty, however, is a hopeful prospect. The optimistic experts hope by 2025 there won't be significant changes for the worse or obstacles for how people get information and share content online. They also expect innovation will continue to provide new ways for people to connect and interact.
1,400 experts were reported to have been interviewed during the canvassing for this particular study. The numbers are curious. About 65 percent of respondents said that the web would be a more open environment. 35 percent said that it would not.
By 2025, pretty much the entire planet of human beings will be Internet users, which many say will lead to the mass development of creativity and innovation on the web. The conditions may certainly be there, but what else lurks around the dark corners of the web?
Totalitarian countries to the east, as well as western powers, have given the experts of the Internet red flags from which to draw criticism. Censorship among nation-states and government crackdowns seem to be a central theme of concern for these folks, it has been reported.
Surveillance was another top concern. With all the news about the NSA and other espionage activities, even by the corporate world and fraud schemes, it is not all too surprising this is a major concern for Internet activists and visionaries.
One of the threats described in the report is likely one of mystery to much of the public. It's the role of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and how they control rate and speed of Internet delivery. But more than that, they also control messaging. Because media conglomerates have consolidated and ISPs have now become actual content providers, experts warn the gatekeepers may pick and choose what people consume based on profit motive and competition.
The last concern is a world of too much data and information in circulation. It already seems like overload, but recent reports show smart phones and social media may actually have addictive (or at least compulsive) qualities. Parents in China have even been reported to have started sending their kids to bootcamp to deal with the issue.