The Internet of the future:
Challenges and prospects for Switzerland
What will the Internet of the future look like?
New uses are emerging for the Internet, in parallel with the development of new technologies. The current trend is towards a collaborative network based on the notions of sharing and participation. «Web 2.0» or «social networking» are two concepts that illustrate this evolution. By contrast with the first-generation Internet, born in the 1990s (the «Web 1.0»), whose function is to publish information, the role of the Web 2.0 is to actually share information, with users creating or modifying available Internet content.
In the longer term, specialists expect to see applications appear that are capable of giving meaning to a set of random online data (semantic web), or perhaps an «Internet of things», where the objects would communicate among themselves.
Opportunities and risks of the Internet of the future
Developments of the Internet offer Internet users and companies new opportunities, the common element of which will be the optimisation of data exchanges. But, just as we have seen with the first generation Web, technological innovation raises social, legal, political and economic questions which should be analysed and discussed.
Why conduct a TA-SWISS study on the Internet of the future?
In view of the hold that the Internet has on our daily lives and on the economy, TA-SWISS has launched a long-term project which aims to clarify the current and future shapes of the Web, to highlight the challenges arising from it, and to stimulate reflection and debate.
Aims of the project
The project aim at eliciting reflexions and debats about the evolution of the Internet, its potential for Swiss economy and society, and about its social implications. It will also have to consider how individuals and community groups are adapting to the new possibilities of the Web, to what extent these practices are contributing to the emergence of a «collective intelligence». Moreover, it consider the questions and expectations of the public regarding this new medium.
The project comprises a number of modules, which enable us to consider the subject from a variety of angles, and to take into account at each stage recent developments and applications.
The aim of the first module is to make the elements of the debate intelligible, on the one hand by creating an inventory of Internet sites, on the other hand by suggesting the aspects that could be considered for the remainder of the project. The results of this first module were published in an informative brochure (“The challenge of Internet”), which is intended for a non-specialist audience.
In the second module experts' opinions on Internet evolution were gathered. A number of experts had been interviewed and their proposals had been presented and analyzed within the publication “Weiter knüpfen am Netz der Netze”.
In a third module around thirty citizens coming from all over Switzerland had gathered to listen to experts'opinions and their answers to pre-made questions, then they had space for discussion and the proposal of recommendations aimed at the decision makers. Considerations and recommendations had been collected and summarized in a report.
The fourth module had focused on young people's point of view: students, 16 to 18 years old, had been asked to speak of their experiences and opinions about Internet within the procedure of PubliTalks.
March 2008 - January 2009 (publication of the information brochure)
Module 2 (experts' opinions)
February 2009 - December 2009
Module 3 (participatory process)
April 2009 - April 2010
Module 4 (participatory process)
May 2010 – May 2011
Estimated completion of the project
Results and Downloads
The Challenge of the Internet
An interpretative guide to major topics and issues
This brochure illustrates the hold that the Internet has over the economy, education, politics and leisure activities, and poses a series of questions which those who make the decisions in our country will be expected to express their views on.
Weiter knüpfen am Netz der Netze (German)
What the professionals say to the Internet of the future.
Citizen recommendations (German, French, Italien)
Articles and Broadcasts
20.05.2010, RSR La 1ère, Médialogues (francese)
Conference «The Challenge of the Internet, today and tomorrow»
17th April 2010, 9.30-17.00, Hotel Bern
Program available in German and French
Internet et jeunes: Est-ce grave docteur?
28th November 2011, 18.00 – 20.00 , Café-théâtre Le Bourg (51 rue du Bourg) Lausanne
More informations (in French)...
- Dr Sergio Bellucci, Centre for Technology Assessment (TA-SWISS)
- Charlotte Sgier de Cerf, Coordination office, information society, OFCOM
- Dr Pascal Sieber, The Innovation Promotion Agency CTI
TA-SWISS Project supervisors
- Dr Danielle Bütschi, TA-SWISS
- Dr Fulvio Caccia, President TA-SWISS , (Chairman of the supervisory group)
- Florence Bettschart, Fédération Romande des Consommateurs, Lausanne
- Dr Thomas Dübendorfer, Google, Zurich
- Prof. Christa Dürscheid, Deutsches Seminar, University of Zurich
- Dr. Olivier Glassey, Observatoire Science, Politique et Société, Université de Lausanne
- Stéphane Koch, Internet Society Geneva
- Prof. Friedemann Mattern, Department of Computer Science, Institute for Pervasive Computing, ETH Zurich
- Prof. Thomas Merz-Abt, University of Teacher Education of Zurich (PHZH)
- Dr Gérald Page, Brown & Page, Avocats, Geneva
- Prof. Bernhard Plattner, Computer Engineering and Networks Laboratory, ETH Zurich
- Charlotte Sgier de Cerf, Coordination office, information society, OFCOM, Bienne
- Dr Pascal Sieber, CTI The Innovation Promotion Agency, Berne
- Detlef Vögeli, Stapferhaus, Lenzburg
The Future of the Internet: Thematic portal of Europe's Information Society
Digital Agenda for Europe
Enquete-Kommission Internet und Digitale Gesellschaft, Deutscher Bundestag
EU Kids Online: cross-national survey of European children's experiences of the internet.
WWF and sustainable ICT: List of publications
elternet.ch - unterstützt Eltern in der Medienerziehung
CH-3011 Bern T + 41 31 310 99 60
F + 41 31 310 99 61
The project in brief
In recent years, the Internet has revolutionised our everyday lives. It has become an indispensable information and communication tool, and the available consumer and entertainment goods meet a strong and rising demand. The “Internet of the future” project endeavours to examine and to initiate discussion on the consequences of Internet developments for individuals at work, at home, at school, for shopping or even for leisure.
Project start: February 2008
Module 1: (publication of the information brochure) March 2008 - January 2009
Module 2: (experts' opinions) February 2009 - December 2009
Module 3: (participative process) April 2009 - August 2010
Estimated completion of the project: middle of 2011
Project Manager: Danielle Bütschi, TA-SWISS