Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pew Report Interview

I was interviewed some time ago (here's how I responded, in full) for a Pew report on the future of the internet, which has now come out. I am one of the people featured in the report. The report is being picked up, and I am quoted by Fast Company and ReadWriteWeb.

Here's how I am featured:

"Here are some of the respondents: Clay Shirky, Esther Dyson, Doc Searls, Nicholas Carr, Susan Crawford, David Clark, Jamais Cascio, Peter Norvig, Craig Newmark, Hal Varian, Howard Rheingold, Andreas Kluth, Jeff Jarvis, Andy Oram, David Sifry, Marc Rotenberg, John Pike, Andrew Nachison, Anthony Townsend, Ethan Zuckerman, Stephen Downes, Rebecca MacKinnon, Jim Warren, Sandra Brahman, Seth Finkelstein, Jerry Berman, and Stewart Baker."

Here are my quotes:

“It's a mistake to treat intelligence as an undifferentiated whole. No doubt we will become worse at doing some things ('more stupid') requiring rote memory of information that is now available though Google. But with this capacity freed, we may (and probably will) be capable of more advanced integration and evaluation of information ('more intelligent').” – Stephen Downes, National Research Council, Canada

“The internet generation is being exposed to text and media in unprecedented quantities, and more, is not just consuming this media, but producing it as well. Practice tells. The improvement will be especially dramatic and apparent because new readers will be compared primarily with the previous generation, the television generation, which for the most part did not read at all. Unfortunately, this improvement will be apparent only to the newly literate generation; the older generation will continue to complain that young people cannot read, despite evidence to the contrary. Moreover, it will be apparent by 2020 that a multi‐literate society has developed, one that can communicate with ease through a variety of media, including art and photography, animation, video, games and simulations, as well as text and code.” – Stephen Downes, National Research Council, Canada

“I choose to see personal web‐server technology (Opera Unite, Firefox POW, etc) as a breakthrough technology, so people can put their own data into the cloud without paying Flickr or whomever. It is this sort of 'personal technology' I believe will characterize (what we now call) web 3.0 (and not 3D, or semantic web, etc.). So my dilemma is that, while these technologies are pretty evident today, it is not clear that the people I suspect Pew counts as “the savviest innovators” are looking at them. So I pick “out of the blue” even though (I think) I can see them coming from a mile away.” – Stephen Downes, National Research Council, Canada

“By 2020 online anonymity will be largely a thing of the past, but not because people have been forced into disclosing their identity by pervasive authentication technologies. Indeed, there will be a strong and substantial reaction against being required to prove who we are in order to read a book, watch a movie or buy a cup of
coffee (much less should criticisms at the government). Opportunities, technologies, and legal license will continue to protect anonymity. However, many people will in most circumstances elect to assert their identity in order to protect their own interests. Online banking, personal websites and social networks, etc., require that a person protect his or her identity. Where authentication is voluntary, and clearly in the client's interests, and non‐pervasive, people will gladly accept the constraints. Just as they accept the constraint of using keys to lock the car and house door but have the prerogative to, if they wish, leave either unlocked.” ‐‐ Stephen Downes, National Research Council, Canada

I don't have a full list of citations; this is what is showing up in my Google Alert:

Fast Company
PBS NewsHour
ReadWrite Web

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