Documentary coverage of IGF-USA by the Imagining the Internet Center

What We Don’t Know About the Future of the Internet – Part V

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Last point from Lee Rainie, Pew Internet & American Life Project:

What is the value and influence of the Internet?

lee_rainie 5Rainie came up with a bevy of statistics to show how Americans see the Internet bringing value to their lives. Among them:

– 42 percent say they or someone they know has been helped by health advice found online
– 68 percent of broadband users say it is important for finding out what is going on in their communities
– 62 percent say it is vital to economic growth in their communities
– 58 percent say it is important to their ability to share their views with others
– 57 percent say it is valuable in communicating with local officials
– 25 percent say the Internet and cell phones have made their current family life closer than the life they knew when they were young

But, he said we still do not know the economic impact of broadband, the true value of the Internet in formal educational outcomes, the impact on medical outcomes from the sharing of personal experiences, the influence of the Internet on those who might otherwise be politically disengaged.

“We also don’t yet have a deep understanding of the ways that information markets perform,” Rainie said.

There is enormous concern…that the Internet is enabling bad information and bad actors to influence others in bad ways. – Lee Rainie

He noted that medical professionals, media people and librarians, scholars and social critics “are dismayed that those full of hate and ill-intentions have new ways to organize and new outlets for expressing themselves,” adding that “what we don’t know with any certainty is whether those concerns are outweighed by the benefits that are afforded by the Internet.”

-Janna Anderson,


Written by andersj

October 2, 2009 at 3:51 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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