Internet Experts Split On Impact of Digital Life

August 23, 2018
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A survey of more than 1,100 technology experts and scholars shows that the Internet’s impact on daily lives, while far-reaching, is somewhat of a mixed bag. 

The non-scientific study, conducted by the Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center, asked experts to share at least one personal anecdote about how technology has changed their lives – for better or worse. 

As part of the ninth “Future of the Internet” study, the project’s authors solicited responses from more than 10,000 people, including individuals who are actively involved with global Internet governance and access research entities, such as the Internet Engineering Task Force, the International Telecommunications Union, the Association of Internet Researchers and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. About half of the respondents chose to remain anonymous. 

The results primarily spread across eight themes, four positive and four negative, including trolling and other personality identification issues and the ability to invent, reinvent and innovate through easier access to information. 

“I probably spend more waking hours looking at a screen than not. And this seems to be the new normal, which is a bit jarring,” National Opinion Research Center Scientist Timothy Leffel wrote. “If you’d told me 10 years ago that this is what everyday life would be like today, I’m not sure what I’d think.”