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The Internet Society (ISOC), a non-profit body for the open development, evolution and use of the Internet, has released a report on the future of the Internet.
It suggested that AI (Artificial Intelligence), and the Internet of Things, hold huge potential to simplify and enhance people’s lives – but only if ethical considerations steer technology development and guide its use. As AI and IoT enable the collection of massive amounts of personal information, there is a risk that without appropriate safeguards and user control, a “surveillance society” could emerge.
Cybersecurity issues will pressure governments to take decisions that could erode the open and distributed global governance of the Internet, according to the report. Measures that may be intended to secure cyberspace may undermine personal rights and freedoms. Without a change of course, online freedoms may be nearing a point of irreversible decline.
It’s not all gloom. Younger users and those in developing countries are particularly optimistic about the future of the Internet and the ability to use the technology to better their lives.
Sally Wentworth, Vice President of Global Policy for the Internet Society said: “We found that people share a sense of both optimism and disillusionment for the Internet’s future in equal measure. While there are no guarantees of what lies ahead, we know that humanity must be at the center of tomorrow’s Internet. The Internet must continue to benefit people and create new social and economic possibilities to fulfill the premise on which it was built. We should heed the warnings in this report and begin to take the actions today that will help to keep the Internet working for everyone, everywhere far into the future.”
To download or browse the 2017 Global Internet Report online visit: https://www.internetsociety.org/globalinternetreport/2017.