Correcting the record: Spiegel & Grau removes false claims about Pew Internet authors
A low-cost global network will be thriving and creating new opportunities in a flattening world.
Humans will remain in charge of technology, even as more activity is automated and "smart agents" proliferate. However, a significant 42% of survey respondents were pessimistic about humans' ability to control the technology in the future. This significant majority agreed that dangers and dependencies will grow beyond our ability to stay in charge of technology. This was one of the major surprises in the survey.
Virtual reality will be compelling enough to enhance worker productivity and also spawn new addiction problems.
Tech "refuseniks" will emerge as a cultural group characterized by their choice to live off the network. Some will do this as a benign way to limit information overload, while others will commit acts of violence and terror against technology-inspired change.
People will wittingly and unwittingly disclose more about themselves, gaining some benefits in the process even as they lose some privacy.
English will be a universal language of global communications, but other languages will not be displaced. Indeed, many felt other languages such as Mandarin, would grow in prominence.
In September 2008 Spiegel & Grau, a division of Random House, removed material in a book that wrongly accused authors of Pew Internet Project reports of writing favorably about the internet because they have a stake in the internet. In fact, our writers do not have stakes either professionally or financially in the fate of the internet.
In early 2008, Spiegel & Grau published Lee Siegel's Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob. In the book, Siegel referred to the Pew Internet Project report entitled: The Future of the Internet II: A survey of technology thinkers and stakeholders shows they believe the internet will continue to spread in a flattening and improving world. There are many, though, who think major problems will accompany technology advances by 2020. Available here.
In discussing his views of the report, Mr. Siegel falsely claimed that "eight of the twelve people who wrote [the report] have a financial or professional stake in the internet."
Pew Internet wrote to Random House to point out that the report was written by two people, not twelve, and that the two authors have no stake in the internet. Random House responded to this information by revising the passage at issue in future editions of the book and contacting certain third-party websites to have them remove or correct citations to the incorrect text.
Mr. Siegel's implication that Pew Internet reports are authored the way they are in order to further the Project's financial circumstance is belied by the fact that the Project is part of the Pew Research Center), a non-profit that provides all its research reports and its data for free.
The Pew Internet Project is non-partisan and does not take positions on technology policy issues, on technological applications, on companies creating technology or on individuals who are connected to the technology matters.
(Note: Lee Rainie discussed the findings in this report on the future of the internet on the Lehrer NewsHour on September 26, 2006, The clip can be viewed here.)
A survey of internet leaders, activists, and analysts shows that a majority agree with predictions that by 2020:
At the same time, there was strong dispute about those futuristic scenarios among notable numbers of 742 respondents to survey conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project and Elon University. Those who raised challenges believe that governments and corporations will not necessarily embrace policies that will allow the network to spread to under-served populations; and that serious social inequalities will persist.
The experts and analysts also split evenly on a central question of whether the world will be a better place in 2020 due to the greater transparency of people and institutions afforded by the internet: 46% agreed that the benefits of greater transparency of organizations and individuals would outweigh the privacy costs and 49% disagreed.