For this project, we invited nearly 8,000 experts and members of the interested public to share their opinions on the likely future of the internet, and 1,537 responded to at least one of the questions we asked. This particular report covers responses to one of five questions in the canvassing conducted in the summer of 2016. Overall, 1,233 people responded and answered this question:
Billions of people use cellphones and the internet now, and hundreds of millions more are expected to come online in the next decade. At the same time, more than half of those who use the internet and cellphones still do not use that connectivity for shopping, banking, other important transactions and key social interactions. As more people move online globally, both opportunities and threats will grow. Will people’s trust in online interactions, their work, shopping, social connections, pursuit of knowledge and other activities, be strengthened or diminished over the next 10 years?
The answer options were:
Trust will be strengthened – 48%
Trust will be diminished – 24%
Trust will stay about the same – 28%
Then we asked: Please also consider addressing these issues in your response. You do not have to consider any of these. We have added them because we hope they might prompt your thinking on important related issues: Which areas of life might experience the greatest impact? Economic activity? Health care? Education? Political and civic life? Cultural life? Will the impacts be mostly positive or negative? What role might the spread of blockchain systems play?
Below are some of their responses.