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Building Trust 16 January 2017

What will the Internet look like in 10 years? Help us answer that question

Sally Shipman Wentworth
By Sally Shipman WentworthSenior Vice President, Project Staff

What will the Internet look like in the next seven to 10 years? How will things like marketplace consolidation, changes to regulation, increases in cybercrime or the widespread deployment of the Internet of Things impact the Internet, its users and society?

At the Internet Society, we are always thinking about what’s next for the Internet. And now we want your help!

The Internet is an incredibly dynamic medium, shaped by a multitude of pressures – be they social, political, technological, or cultural. From the rise of mobile to the emergence of widespread cyber threats, the Internet of today is different than the Internet of 10 years ago.

The Internet Society and our community care deeply about the future of the Internet because we want it to remain a tool of progress and hope. Last year, we started a collaborative initiative – the Future Internet project – to identify factors that could change the Internet as we know it. We asked for your views and heard from more than 1,500 members across the world – thank you! That feedback provided a strong foundation for the development of our Future Internet work.

We have consolidated that input into nine driving forces for the Internet. The list is posted on our future Internet webpage, along with the challenges and uncertainties raised by our community.   Our community identified these forces as the things that will influence how the Internet will evolve in the future.  They include:

  • Convergence of the Internet and the Physical World
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
  • New and Evolving Digital Divides
  • Increasing Role of Government
  • Future of the Marketplace and Competition
  • Impact of Cyberattacks and Cybercrime
  • Evolution of Networks and Standards
  • Impact on Media, Culture, and Human Interaction
  • Future of Personal Freedoms and Rights

Now, we need your help again. Please review this work and let us know what you think by sending your answers to the following questions to

  • Which of the nine drivers do you think will have the biggest impact on the future of the Internet in the next seven to 10 years?
  • Are there major issues that are missing from this list?
  • What 2-3 issues would you prioritize in our Future Internet project?

2017 is the Internet Society’s 25th anniversary.  It is an opportunity to look back and see how the Internet has grown and evolved since our earliest days.  It is also a chance to look ahead and imagine the future.   Will the Internet continue to be a tool to build community, drive innovation, and create opportunity?

With this Future Internet project, we can imagine some different futures and then think together about what steps we need to take today to bring about the future that we want.

More updates will be coming soon, with a final report in September. Thanks in advance for your participation and input!

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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