About half the experts we canvassed predict humans' use of technology will weaken democracy by 2030, while a third expect technology will strengthen it as reformers fight back against democracy's foes.
Fifty years after the first computer network was connected, most experts say digital life will mostly change things for the better in coming decades. But they say this will require reforms toward better cooperation and security, basic rights and economic fairness.
Experts say the rise of artificial intelligence will make most people better off over the next decade, but many have concerns about how advances in AI will affect what it means to be human, to be productive and to exercise free will.
While many technology experts and scholars have concerns about the social, political and economic fallout from the spread of digital activities, they also tend to report that their own experience of digital life has been positive.
Many experts say digital life will continue to expand people’s boundaries and opportunities. Yet nearly a third think that people’s overall well-being will be more harmed than helped in coming years.
Experts are split on whether the coming years will see less misinformation online. Those who foresee improvement hope for technological and societal solutions. Others say bad actors using technology can exploit human vulnerabilities.
Many experts say lack of trust won't hinder increased public reliance on the internet. Some expect trust to grow as tech and regulatory changes arise; others think it will worsen or maybe change entirely.
Despite broad concerns about cyberattacks, outages and privacy violations, most experts believe the Internet of Things will continue to expand successfully the next few years.
As robots, automation and artificial intelligence perform more tasks and there is massive disruption of jobs, experts say a wider array of education and skills-building programs will be created to meet new demands.
Many experts fear uncivil and manipulative behaviors on the internet will persist – and may get worse.