scenarios included in the survey were structured to provoke reaction, not because we think any of them will necessarily come to fruition.
The scenarios for this survey and survey analysis were crafted after a study of the responses from our previous surveys and of the predictions made in reports by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Multistakeholder Group on Internet Governance, the Metaverse Roadmap, The Institute for the Future, Global Business Network, and other foresight organizations and individual foresight leaders. Many previous reports and other materials were consulted in researching the questions and content of this study.
The 2020 scenarios were constructed to elicit engaged responses to many-layered issues, so it was sometimes the case that survey participants would agree with most or part of a scenario but not all of it. In addition to trying to pack several ideas into each scenario, we tried to balance them with “good,” “bad,” and “neutral” outcomes. The history of technology is full of evidence that technology adoption brings both positive and negative results.
After each portion of the survey, we invited participants to write narrative responses providing an explanation for their answers. Not surprisingly, the most interesting product of the survey is the ensuing collection of open-ended discussion, predictions, and analyses written by the participants in response to our material. We have included many of these responses in this report. A great number of additional responses are included on the Imagining the Internet site, available at http://www.imaginingtheinternet.org.
Since participants' answers evolved in both tone and content as they went through the questionnaire, the findings in this report are presented in the same order as the original survey. The respondents were asked to “sign” each written response that they were willing to have credited to them in the Elon-Pew database and in this report. The quotations in the report are attributed to those who agreed to have their words quoted. When a quote is not attributed to someone, it is because that person chose not to sign his or her written answer.