March 11, 2014

Digital Life in 2025

About this Report

This report is the latest research report in a sustained effort throughout 2014 by the Pew Research Center to mark the 25th anniversary of the creation of the World Wide Web by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. He wrote a paper on March 12, 1989 proposing an “information management” system that became the conceptual and architectural structure for the Web.  He eventually released the code for his system  — for free — to the world on Christmas Day in 1990. It became a milestone in easing the way for ordinary people to access documents and interact over the Internet — a system that linked computers and that had been around for years.

The Web became a major layer of the Internet. Indeed, for many, it became synonymous with the Internet, even though that is not technically the case. Its birthday offers an occasion to revisit the ways it has made the Internet a part of Americans’ social lives.

Our first report tied to the anniversary looked at the present and the past of the Internet, marking its strikingly fast adoption and assessing its impact on American users’ lives. This report is part of an effort by the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project in association with Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center to look at the future of the Internet, the Web, and other digital activities. This is the first of eight reports based on a canvassing of hundreds of experts about the future of such things as privacy, cybersecurity, the “Internet of things,” and net neutrality. In this case we asked experts to make their own predictions about the state of digital life by the year 2025. We will also explore some of the economic change driven by the spectacular progress that made digital tools faster and cheaper. And we will report on whether Americans feel the explosion of digital information coursing through their lives has helped them be better informed and make better decisions.

This report is a collaborative effort based on the input and analysis of the following individuals.

Prof. Janna Anderson, Director, Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Project

Lee Rainie, Director, Internet Project                                          

Maeve Duggan, Research Assistant, Internet Project                          

Find related reports about the future of the Internet at http://www.pewInternet.org/topics/future-of-the-Internet/

About Pew Research Center

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does not take policy positions. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. The center studies U.S. politics and policy views; media and journalism; Internet and technology; religion and public life; Hispanic trends; global attitudes and U.S. social and demo-graphic trends. All of the center’s reports are available at www.pewresearch.org. Pew Research Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Alan Murray, President

Michael Dimock, Vice President, Research

Elizabeth Mueller Gross, Vice President

Paul Taylor, Executive Vice President, Special Projects

Andrew Kohut, Founding Director

© Pew Research Center 2014

About the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University

The Imagining the Internet Center’s mission is to explore and provide insights into emerging network innovations, global development, dynamics, diffusion and governance. Its research holds a mirror to humanity’s use of communications technologies, informs policy development, exposes potential futures and provides a historic record. It works to illuminate issues in order to serve the greater good, making its work public, free and open. The center is a network of Elon University faculty, students, staff, alumni, advisers, and friends working to identify, explore and engage with the challenges and opportunities of evolving communications forms and issues. They investigate the tangible and potential pros and cons of new-media channels through active research. The Imagining the Internet Center sponsors work that brings people together to share their visions for the future of communications and the future of the world.

Cite this publication: Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie. “Digital Life in 2025.” Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. (March 11, 2014) http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/03/11/digital-life-in-2025/, accessed on July 23, 2014.