Social and Economic Factors Shaping the Future of the Internet and Health

September 26, 2007

On 31 January 2007 US National Science Foundation (NSF) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCDE) co-organise a workshop titled “Social and Economic Factors Shaping the Future of the Internet”.

The workshop’s goal was to discuss strategic directions for the future of the Internet, from both a technological and a policy viewpoint. To this end, a group of experts, including economists, policy makers, social scientists and technologists, were brought together to consider a broad range of issues and questions relating to the future of the Internet, examples of which are listed under the following guiding themes:

  • The openness of the Internet has been a clear factor in fostering competition and innovation, and is increasingly enabling users to develop, collaborate and distribute content and customise applications, driving a range of new social and economic opportunities.
  • Security threats endanger network operation and a trusted online environment at a time when an increasing number and variety of communities and businesses critically rely on the Internet.
  • Convergence between previously distinct networks and services toward the use of TCP/IP generates new demands on the Internet and places strains on existing regulatory models.

In the Workshop proceedings published by the OCDE there is a figure titled “Issues related to the Future of the Internet, based on complexity, urgency and importance” that perfectly describes the key points of the Internet:


As an example if you click the figure you will see two bubbles strongly related with Health: Empowerment Consumer (bubble 8 ) and Protect Personal Data (bubble 23). Those issues represent challenge to health care systems in the short term and medium complexity.