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A number of these experts said that when people try to predict the future it can be helpful to look at the past and assess today’s trends. They drew parallels from the present moment to past eras and extrapolated based on current trends. This section includes comments about how the past can inform the future. These comments were selected from among all responses, regardless of an expert’s answer to this canvassing’s main question about the impact of people’s uses of technology on civic and social innovation. Remarks are organized under two subthemes: The more things change, the more they stay the same; and the future will flow from current trends.

The more things change, the more they stay the same

Many respondents to this canvassing said the story playing out today is quite similar to those of previous eras of great technological change. They pointed out that throughout history as humans have been met with new challenges they have adapted.

Rich Ling, a professor at Nanyang…

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