Columns: the Center explores key issues and emerging trends in the digital realm

The Center’s leadership, fellows, and guest writers expand on the findings from the Digital Future studies with commentaries that illuminate the evolving challenges and opportunities for individuals, communities, corporations, governments, and NGOs.


Jeffrey Cole, Ph.D., founder and director

Brad Berens, Ph.D., strategic advisor

More voices from the center


Jeffrey Cole, Ph.D., founder and director


Why won’t you be my neighbor?  (June 16)

Phone companies and entertainment don’t mix  (June 2)

The post-COVID paradox  (May 19)

Movies, concerts, sports, theme parks: which in-person events will survive?  (May 5)

The most powerful company in the world? How big can Amazon get?  (April 21)

Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz and Dr. Drew: do no harm (unless it is good for ratings)  (April 7)

Business travel will never be the same.   (March 24)

Then there was one: With Paramount’s entry into streaming, only one studio is sitting on the sidelines.  (March 10)

Battleground Australia: Mark Zuckerberg vs Rupert Murdoch. Facebook blinks for now.  (February 24)

Twitter shutting down Trump and Smartmatic suing Fox News: It’s about time or a dangerous precedent?
(February 10)

That didn’t last long: Fox News is back — to its old ways  (February 2)

The Roaring 2020s   (January 13)


Home (and nowhere else) for the holidays!  (December 8)

Warner Media blinks: the plan for Wonder Woman 1984  (November 24)

A warm welcome back: media gatekeepers  (November 4)

HBO Max: The “New Coke” of 2020?  (October 21)

Can the tech companies continue to grow? Case study: Amazon  (October 7)

Googling, Ubering and Xeroxing: How Zooming became a verb in six months  (September 23)

It’s a Wonderful Internet: What if the Internet had never been born?   (July 21)

The billion-dollar movie: R.I.P.   (July 1)

Starting college in your parents’ basement  (June 17)

The psychological impact of the events of 2020: effects that may last for a very long time  (June 2)

Going to work: a commute of ten miles or ten feet?  (May 13)

Has the coronavirus killed movie theaters?  (April 22)

Quibi: the best laid plans meet the Coronavirus  (April 6)

Welcome to The Coronavirus Zone   (April 1)

Disney’s self-disruption success saga  (March 4)

Disruption comes to health care  (February 19)

Netflix launches a major offensive in the Streaming Wars  (February 4)



Entertainment: disruption in full force (December 20)

An epidemic of loneliness? (December 4)

“OK Boomer” — the opening shot in the generational war (November 20)

Why NBC Universal’s Peacock will be “must-stream TV” (November 6)

Television sets: a 1940s device reimagined for the 2020s (October 16)

The ghost of television past (October 2)

Microsoft: back from the brink (September 18)

Would breaking up Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google be bad for consumers?(July 24)

The disruption of Netflix: a plan for its survival(July 10)

Hulu moves to “the happiest place on Earth” (June 16)

Streaming Wars begin: how Disney beats Apple — and perhaps a surprise ending? (June 5)

Foreign disinformation: the plot to kill 5G (May 22)

America’s cashless future (May 8)

Why HBO doesn’t want you to watch the end of the Game of Thrones (April 24)

Why 5G is a really big deal (April 10)

Parenting in the Digital Age: new rules for safety (March 27)

Buyer’s remorse? AT&T’s $85 billion purchase of Time Warner (March 13)

A tale of two reports: Mueller and Starr (February 25)

The coming war against technology (February 13)

Will the Oscar go to Black Panther? (January 30)

Facebook — the way back: four steps to salvation (January 17)



Facebook’s arrogance and amorality: (December 11)

Can Facebook survive? (November 28)

Die, Netflix, die: how the studios are planning to starve the streaming giant (November 7)

Will anyone have a job in the digital future? (October 24)

Electric cars have passed the tipping point (October 10)

How MoviePass won the war but lost the company (August 15)

Leave HBO alone (August 1)

The secret meeting that never happened (July 18)

“I think it would be fun to run a newspaper” (July 2)

Now that AT&T has acquired Time Warner, what should its biggest rival do?
(June 18)

Why did Amazon build a studio rather than buy one? (June 6)

The great deal of digital media (May 23)

De-cluttering: the real digital revolution (May 9)

Why you need a friend when you turn 50 (April 25)

Why Amazon Go means the end of traditional retail (April 11)

Uber’s accident won’t stop driverless cars for long (March 28)

Two guys in a garage: where will the next disruptive company come from?
(March 21)

Five years later: the prediction on the end of printed newspapers (March 7)

A 2005 prediction 13 years later: teenagers and social networks (February 21)

Cinematic staring contest: MoviePass vs. movie theaters (February 7)

As the movie studios consolidate, which one is next? (January 25)

Subscription models move to the movie theater (January 11, 2018)



How regulation is used to stifle competition (December 7, 2017)

E-nuff Already! (November 17)

Will banks do anything about the disruption coming their way? (November 2)

The battle for the consumer’s wallet (October 19)

What really happened to this summer’s box office (October 4)

“Incremental” is not what Apple fans were waiting for (September 13)

Implantables and the war between convenience and privacy (August 31)

Apple’s future hangs in the balance (August 17)

How driverless cars change everything (August 3)

Amazon, sports, and the future of the broadcast networks (July 13, 2017)


Brad Berens, Ph.D., strategic advisor


Technologies of grief (May 27)

Who will create the best streaming video experience  (January 22)


Will Twitter decide the 2020 presidential election? (October 30)

Should you look at your kid’s smartphone? Digital parenting tips continue (October 23)

Have this talk before your kid gets a phone: digital parenting tips #1 (October 9)

This is the kinder, gentler Uber? (September 13)

Why Amazon made “The Boys”(July 31)

Am I B.L.U.E (Bored, Lonely, Uncomfortable…Ever)(July 16)

The challenge of deepfakes (June 12)

A better streaming model (May 29)

When businesses ask the wrong question (May 15)

Netflix’s only hope is to advertise (May 2)

Ride-hailing’s “iPod moment” (April 17)

Ho hum, Apple’s boring choices with TV+ (April 3)

Why Amazon’s house brands will win big (March 20)

Why Google should buy eBay: digital assistant wars (March 6)

Why direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies fail (February 20)

No algorithm for serendipity (February 6)

Analog pleasures in a digital world (January 23)

The Flip (January 9, 2019)



Nonprofits are the real threat to Uber and Lyft (December 5)

All the news that’s fit to ignore (November 14)

2023: why Comcast should worry (October 31)

Can self-driving cars save local businesses? (October 17)

Beware the “Words with Friends” Scammers” (September 26)

Amazon’s real reason for launching “Free Dive” isn’t about ad revenue
(September 12)

Paging Dr. Alexa (August 22)

Why the NRA should worry about “ghost guns” (August 8)

Streaming superheros and the DC Universe (July 25)

What is a movie and why does it matter? (July 11)

The half-life of brands: Amazon’s algorithmic strategy (June 27)

Will Oculus Go kill the TV set? (June 13)

The future that is already here (May 30)

The challenge of OOOIO: opting out of information overload (May 16)

Marvel’s new “Avengers: Infinity War” movie and the structure of special experiences (May 2)

Why it’s easy to label things as “fake news” (April 17)

Apple and original TV: a strategy teardown (April 4, 2018)

The not-caring economy (March 14)

It’s not information overload: it’s information hoarding (February 28)

Retro futures and how they can help us to see what’s next (February 14)

It’s about so much more than health care (February 1)

Facebook needs a Surgeon General’s warning (January 18)

Why using cash won’t protect your privacy (January 4, 2018)



Death Star Scenario: Amazon Prime Bank (December 14, 2017)

Adapt-amnesia, and why it matters (November 30)

Ready, AIM, Fired… (November 9)

Email: a modest proposal (October 26)

What comes after smartphones? (October 12)

Is your next car an Apple sedan? (September 28)

Why Amazon should buy Warby Parker (September 21)

Car ownership is changing, not dying — yet (September 7)

Disney & Netflix & Amazon…oh my! (August 24)

Liquid Behavior (August 10)

Smartphones and drained brains (July 27)

The fall and rise of the visual internet (July 20, 2017)


More voices from the Center


Madeline Albright and Marc Nathanson

Opinion: Trump has pulled out of the global battle for hearts and minds  (August 13, 2020)


Ruozhu Zhao, visiting scholar, Communication University of China

Will artificial intelligence replace human news anchors on television?  In China, it is already happening  (July 18, 2020)


Maxwell Votey, guest columnist

Law school during the pandemic: a new challenge in changing times for education
(May 11, 2020)


Xin Song, guest scholar

How did Korean K-Pop group BTS beat Trump on Twitter?
(September 4, 2019)


Kumar Mehta, senior fellow

Seven steps: how to build a sustained environment for innovation
(January 30, 2019)

How to bet on the right ideas (January 17, 2019)


Jian Wang, guest scholar

Why hasn’t mobile payment taken off in the United States?
(May 15, 2018)


Bruce Ramer, Center Board of Governors

The future ain’t what it used to be (February 27, 2018)


Susanne Chan, guest scholar

Cybersecurity under Xi Jinping: a new model for broad control in China
(January 15, 2018)


Analysis by the Center staff

The political reality of the internet in China (October 11, 2017)


Harlan Lebo, senior fellow

Are internet non-users a volunteer underclass? (September 6, 2017)


Michael Suman, research director

How much privacy should we expect? (July 26, 2017)


To learn how the Center provides global companies and NGOs with perspective and guidance to keep ahead of the trends, contact the Center at [email protected], or (310) 235-4444.