Digital life in 2035: Experts Predict the Best and Worst Changes

Posted 28/9/2023 by Arianna Adamo



Pew Research Centre run a report which covers results from the 16th “Future of the Internet” where some experts showed deep concerns about people’s and society’s overall well-being due to the digital development and the spread of generative AI; but they also expect great benefits in health care, scientific advances and education.


They foresee a world in which wonder drugs are conceived and enabled in digital spaces; where personalized medical care gives patients precisely what they need when they need it; where people wear smart eyewear and earbuds that keep them connected to the people, things and information around them; where AI systems can nudge discourse into productive and fact-based conversations; and where progress will be made in environmental sustainability, climate action and pollution prevention.


The predictions reported here came in response to a set of questions in an online canvassing conducted between Dec. 27, 2022, and Feb. 21, 2023. In all, 305 technology innovators and developers, business and policy leaders, researchers and activists responded in some way to the question covered in this report. More on the methodology underlying this canvassing and the participants can be found in the section titled “About this canvassing of experts.”


They were also asked to indicate how they feel about the changes they foresee.


  • 42% of these experts said they are equally excited and concerned about the changes in the “humans-plus-tech” evolution they expect to see by 2035.


  • 37% said they are more concerned than excited about the changes they expect.


  • 18% said they are more excited than concerned about expected change.


  • 2% said they are neither excited nor concerned.


  • 2% said they don’t think there will be much real change by 2035



The best and most beneficial changes in digital life likely by 2035


  1. The future benefits to human-centered development of digital tools and systems:

These experts covered a wide range of likely digital enhancements in medicine, health, fitness and nutrition. They believe that digital and physical systems will continue to integrate, bringing “smartness” to all manner of objects and organizations, and expect that individuals will have personal digital assistants that ease their daily lives.


  1. The future benefits to human rights:

These experts believe digital tools can be shaped in ways that allow people to freely speak up for their rights and join others to mobilize for the change they seek. They hope ongoing advances in digital tools and systems will improve people’s access to resources, help them communicate and learn more effectively.


  1. The future benefits to human knowledge:

They wish for improved digital literacy that will revive and elevate trusted news and information sources in ways that attract attention and gain the public’s interest. And they hope that new digital tools and human and technological systems will be designed to assure that factual information will be appropriately verified, highly findable, well-updated and archived.


  1. The future benefits to human health and well-being

These experts expect that the many positives of digital evolution will bring a health care revolution that enhances every aspect of human health and well-being. They emphasize that full health equality in the future should direct equal attention to the needs of all people while also prioritizing their individual agency, safety, mental health and privacy and data rights.


  1. The future benefits to human connections, governance and institutions

They predict that people will develop new norms for digital life and foresee them becoming more digitally literate in social and political interactions. They said in the best-case scenario, these changes could influence digital life toward promoting human agency, security, privacy and data protection.



The most harmful or menacing changes in digital life that are likely by 2035:


  1. The future harms to human-centered development of digital tools and systems:

These experts worry that ethical design will continue to be an afterthought and digital systems will continue to be released before being thoroughly tested. They believe the impact of all of this is likely to increase inequality and compromise democratic systems.


  1. The future harms to human rights:

These experts fear new threats to rights will arise as privacy becomes harder, if not impossible, to maintain. They foresee crimes and harassment spreading more widely, and the rise of new challenges to humans’ agency and security. A topmost concern is the expectation that increasingly sophisticated AI is likely to lead to the loss of jobs, resulting in a rise in poverty and the diminishment of human dignity.


  1. The future harms to human knowledge:

They fear that the best of knowledge will be lost or neglected in a sea of mis- and disinformation, that the institutions previously dedicated to informing the public will be further decimated, that basic facts will be drowned out in a sea of entertaining distractions, bald-faced lies and targeted manipulation.


  1. The future harms to human health and well-being:

A share of these experts said humanity’s embrace of digital systems has already spurred high levels of anxiety and depression and predicted things could worsen as technology embeds itself further in people’s lives and social arrangements.


  1. The future harms to human connections, governance and institutions

The experts who addressed these issues fear that norms, standards, and regulation around technology will not evolve quickly enough to improve the social and political interactions of individuals and organizations.











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