Experts Agree The Internet Will Make Us Smarter

    February 21, 2010

The Pew Internet & American Life Project and the Internet Center at Elon University teamed up to survey 895 experts about the future of the Internet and its affect on human intelligence.

Janna-Anderson.jpg "Three out of four experts said our use of the Internet enhances and augments human intelligence, and two-thirds said use of the Internet has improved reading, writing and rendering of knowledge," said Janna Anderson, study co-author and director of the Imagining the Internet Center.

"There are still many people, however, who are critics of the impact of Google, Wikipedia and other online tools."

Two-thirds of those surveyed said reading and writing skills and the rendering of knowledge will be improved by 2020 due to the influence of the Internet.

Eighty percent of the experts agreed that "hot gadgets and applications that will capture the imagination of users in 2020 will often come ‘out of the blue."’

The experts were fairly divided on whether anonymous online activity will exist in 2020, with nearly 40 percent predicting that anonymous Internet users will have their access sharply decreased.

"The privacy and civil liberties battles over the next decade will increasingly focus on the growing demands for identity credentials," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

"New systems for authentication will bring new problems, as more identity information will create new opportunities for criminals."

On the issue of an open Internet in the future, nearly two-thirds said the Internet will remain as its founder envisioned.

More than a third chose to agree with the statement "the Internet will mostly become a technology where intermediary institutions that control the architecture and content will be successful in gaining the right to manage information and the method by which people access it."