This feature explores a vision of the internet of the future: a world, in 2035, in which people have greater control of their data. The descriptions were developed from a workshop held in May 2017 on the future of the personal data economy. Attendees included a range of activists, researchers, and policymakers, who constructed broad scenarios and individual personas to help us explore what the future might look like, based on a number of existing trends. These scenarios and personas are developed further in Me, My Data and I, Nesta’s first report for the DECODE project.
With acute problems facing the personal data economy today, focusing on the far-off future may seem like a distraction. But to fully understand the implications of giving people more control of their data - a fundamental shift in how the internet economy functions - it is necessary to consider a longer-term horizon.
This is not intended as a prediction of the future, nor of which technological advancements are most likely to take hold. The purpose and value of this kind of exercise lies in the ability to think freely about the kinds of services, and society, that could emerge based on trends, technologies and movements visible today.
Below we explore this future through four scenarios, each with imagined personas illustrating what it would be like to live in this world.