The political reality of the internet in China

The internet played a major role in the Arab Spring of 2010, but in China today, digital technology has a very different function.

By the Center staff

Ever since the emergence of the internet, its economic and political implications have captured the imagination of the academia and the press. While people easily agree about its revolutionary economic impact, judgments diverge about the internet and politics.

There are two basic camps: the first argues that the internet will promote citizens’ participation in the political process and empower internet users politically.  Those in the second camp are less optimistic, contending that the powerful will use the internet to suppress political expression.

While the democratizing potential of the internet has been largely realized in developed countries in the West, that is not the case in China, where rather than a technology of freedom, the internet has become a technology of control.  (more)

What comes after smartphones?

By Brad Berens

With all the press and the inescapable ads for new iPhones, Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel and other snazzy devices, it’s hard to think of the smart phone as a transitional technology.

But it is.

Instead of smartphones in our pockets or purses as our single, do-everything devices, we’ll have Personal Area Networks (PANs)– clusters of devices worn on different parts of our bodies or hovering nearby.

Instead of the glass-and-metal rectangle of today’s smartphone, we might have the computer guts of our PANs in the shape of a silver dollar, or distributed across a series of beads worn as a necklace. (more)

Center report explores the future of transportation

The Center has unveiled a first-of-its-kind study on the future of transportation — a project that explores the spectrum of American behavior and views about their cars, public transit, reasons to give up driving, new competitors in the automobile industry, distracted driving, and the arrival of self-driving cars.

“Most research covers the transportation revolution from an industry perspective, but our new study focuses on the actual behavior and attitudes of the U.S. population,” said Brad Berens, chief strategy officer for the center and project lead for the study.

Download the Future of Transportation Report here.

The 42-page Future of Transportation Study explores more than 100 issues involving behavior and views about cars, their alternatives, and emerging needs for technology,

Center for the Digital Future releases 15th annual report on the impact of digital technology in the U.S.

The 152-page “Surveying the Digital Future” includes findings on more than 160 issues, among them: the importance of the internet in political campaigns, government regulation and the internet, online buying and effects on retail shopping, personal freedom online, privacy and personal security, and negative attention (bullying and sexual harassment).

More about the report here.

Download the report here.

Web Insight: talking sports on social media

Each week we examine a new issue to clarify how the world uses digital technology today — and how it will change tomorrow.

Our current topic comes from findings in the Center’s study of sports fans and how they use sports content: how frequently do sports fans comment on a game through social media?

Explore the current Web Insight topic here.

See all Web Insights from the Center

Center director Jeff Cole explores "cutting the cord"

Center director Jeffrey Cole highlights the unbundling of content from cable providers, pricing models, and new consumer behavior at 2015 annual leadership meeting of the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

View the video.