The Future of the Internet

The Future of the Internet

October 28, 20192 min read

Fifty years ago, the first computer-to-computer connection was made through ARPANET, the precursor to the modern internet. What will the internet look like 50 years from now?

That's the topic of a new report by Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center and Pew Research. The report, "The Next 50 Years of Digital Life," is part of a series on the future of the internet and features insights from 530 technology pioneers, innovators, developers, business and policy leaders, researchers and activists. They were asked to respond to a series of questions about how individuals' lives might be affected by the evolution of the internet during the next 50 years.


“In just 50 years the internet grew from a handful of interlinked computers to a worldwide network connecting billions of active users across all corners of the globe,” said Kathleen Stansberry of Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center, the lead author of the report. “This vast experiment in human collaboration has not been without cost, but these experts believe that by enacting thoughtful reform today the vision of the internet as a tool of equality and enlightenment can still be realized.”

Overall, 72 percent of these respondents said they hope and expect that the next 50 years might bring significant change for the better; 25 percent say they fear there could be significant change for the worse and 3 percent said they expect there will be no significant change.

You can find a list of key themes from the report here, and the full report, including scores of comments from experts, here.

If you're interested in talking with Professor Stansberry about the reportplease reach out to Owen Covington, director of the Elon University News Bureau, at or (336) 278-7413. Professor Stansberry is available for phone, email and broadcast interviews. 

Spotlight By Elon University

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