The Next 50 Years of Digital Life


Dr. Micah Altman – Director of Research, Center for Research in Equitable and Open Scholarship (CREOS) at MIT – recently made me aware of a Survey that probed several questions about the future of our Digital world. The survey was conducted by Elon University and the Pew Research Internet and Technology Project to imagine social and technological evolution over the next 50 years. The respondents were technologists, scholars, practitioners, strategic thinkers and others.

These questions about our future are something each of us must consider. We as individuals, organizations, and societies must shape this future – or it will shape us. So how would you answer the primary question in the survey:

The Next 50 Years of Digital Life: The year 2019 will mark the 50th anniversary of the first host-to-host internet connection. Please think about the next 50 years. Where will the internet and digital life be a half century from now? Please tell us how you think connected technology, platforms and applications will be integrated into people’s lives. You can tackle any dimension of this question that matters to you. You might consider focusing on questions like this: What changes do you expect to see in the digital world’s platform companies? What changes do you expect to see in the apps and features that will ride on the internet? How will digital tools be integrated into everyday life? What will be entirely new? What will evolve and be recognizable from today’s internet? What new rules, laws or innovations in its engineering over the intervening years will change the character of today’s internet? And, considering your expectations for the next 50 years, how will individuals’ lives be affected by the changes you foresee? Please take this same poll that the survey participants responded to. Feel free to enter a different response in the other category.

Those who administered the survey asked the respondents to explain their answer and describe the ways they see changes in digital life influencing individuals in the next 50 years. Take a look at the survey responses from some of today’s thought leaders. Feel free to post your own thoughts in the comments section.