Future Thinking

We're interviewing people around the world on the forces shaping the future of Internet and their impact on Media & Society, Digital Divides, and Personal Rights & Freedoms. Read these diverse perspectives and explore the 2017 Internet Society Global Internet Report: Paths to Our Digital Future.

For further inquiries, contact Constance Bommelaer de Leusse, Senior Director, Global Internet Policy.

The Internet Economy

August 2018
Mozilla Director of Public Policy Chris Riley on consolidation trends in the Internet Economy.


Chris Riley

Chris Riley is Director, Public Policy at Mozilla, working to advance the open Internet through public policy analysis and advocacy, strategic planning, coalition building, and community engagement. Chris manages the global Mozilla public policy team and works on all things Internet policy, motivated by the belief that an open, disruptive Internet delivers tremendous socioeconomic benefits, and that if we as a global society don’t work to protect and preserve the Internet’s core features, those benefits will go away. Prior to joining Mozilla, Chris worked as a program manager at the U.S. Department of State on Internet freedom, a policy counsel with the nonprofit public interest organization Free Press, and an attorney-advisor at the Federal Communications Commission.

IP Addresses for the “Real” World

July 2018
Giles Rhys Jones, chief marketing officer at what3word, on how mapping locations can support social mobility, growth, and development.


Giles Rhys Jones

Giles Rhys Jones is the chief marketing officer at what3words, which has developed an algorithm to convert complex GPS coordinates into unique and memorable three-word addresses; thus becoming the geographical equivalent of an IP address. In doing so, the company is helping to provide addresses to the more than 75% of the world, which still suffers from poor or non-existent addressing, meaning they struggle to open bank accounts, register births, or access basic services like water and electricity. By better or more simply mapping locations, W3W supports social mobility, growth, and development.

The Internet Economy

June 2018
Roxanne Varza, director of Station F, a large startup incubator in Paris, and Biddemu Bazil Mwotta, a 25 under 25 awardee who introduced the mobile-agribusiness-app AgroDuuka, share their thoughts on the Internet economy.


Roxanne Varza

Roxanne Varza is the director of Station F, a large and popular startup incubator in Paris which recently celebrated its first full year of operation and is already reported to be the largest startup campus in the world. Situated in a former railway shed, Station F provides a vibrant hub for more than 3,000 entrepreneurs and businesses, including upcoming as well as established organizations like Facebook, L’Oréal, and Microsoft. Born in California to Iranian parents, Roxanne moved to Paris in 2009 where she led Microsoft’s startup activities in France before joining Station F, which was created by the French billionaire Xavier Niel.


Biddemu Bazil Mwotta

Biddemu Bazil Mwotta, a 25 under 25 awardee, introduced the mobile-agribusiness-app AgroDuuka, which connects farmers directly with buyers in Uganda, his home country. AgroDuuka creates a market for local farmers, where there was none before, and eliminates the cost of working through intermediaries. To date, it has connected more than 800 smallholder farmers from 36 villages to buyers throughout Uganda.


May 2018
Arnaud Castaignet, the head of public relations for the Republic of Estonia’s e-Residency programme, share his thoughts on Estonia's e-citizenship.

Arnaud C_Web Summit

Arnaud Castaignet

Arnaud Castaignet is the head of public relations for the Republic of Estonia’s e-Residency programme, a government-issued digital ID offering the freedom to join a community of digitally empowered citizens and open and run a global EU company fully online from anywhere in the world. Previously, he worked for the French President François Hollande as a digital strategist. Arnaud is also a Board Member of Open Diplomacy, a Paris-based think tank established in 2010, and a member of the Young Transatlantic Network of Future Leaders, a flagship initiative of the German Marshall Fund of the United States specifically geared toward young professionals 35 years old and younger. Estonia not only became the first country to say that Internet access was a human right, but has given their citizens free public WiFi, enabled them to vote online since 2005, and are protecting them with strong privacy, transparency and data protection laws.

Digital Divides

April 2018
Getachew Engida, Deputy Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and Augusto Mathurin, developer of Virtuágora, an open source digital participation platform, share their thoughts on digital divides.


Getachew Engida

Getachew Engida is the Deputy Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). He has spent the past twenty years leading and managing international organizations and advancing the cause of poverty eradication, peace-building, and sustainable development. He has worked extensively on rural and agricultural development, water and climate challenges, education, science, technology and innovation, intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity, communication and information with emphasis on freedom of expression, and the free flow information on and offline.


Augusto Mathurin

Augusto Mathurin is a 25-year-old Argentinian who strongly believes in the need to enable all people to participate in decision-making which can impact them and their communities. With this in mind, Augusto developed an open source digital participation platform as part of a university project. The main goal of this platform, Virtuágora, was to create a common space in which citizens’ opinions and their representatives’ proposals could converge. The concept was derived from the Greek agora – the central square of ancient Grecian cities where citizens met to discuss their society. In 2017, Augusto was awarded the Internet Society’s 25 under 25 award for making an impact in his community and beyond.

Media and Society

March 2018
Nicholas Thompson, Editor in Chief of Wired shares his thoughts on the role of media.


Nicholas Thompson

Nicholas Thompson is Editor in Chief of Wired. Prior to joining Wired, Thompson was a journalist at The New Yorker, where he was also the editor of newyorker.com. Thompson has written about politics and technology for numerous publications, and has spent time reporting from West Africa on the role technology plays there. He is also the author of The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War.

Cyber Threats

February 2018
François Gratiolet, co-founder of Cyrating, a cybersecurity ratings agency, and Niel Harper, Senior Manager, Next Generation Leaders at the Internet Society share their thoughts on the future of cybersecurity.


Niel Harper

Niel Harper is Senior Manager, Next Generation Leaders at the Internet Society and a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum. He has more than 20 years of experience in the areas of telecoms management, cybersecurity, IT governance and strategy, ICT policy research and advisory services, and program management.



Cyrating is the first cybersecurity ratings agency anchored in Europe, and helps forward-thinking organizations maximize their cybersecurity performance and investments. It identifies potential for improvement, benchmarks it against industry best practices, and provides standardized cybersecurity metrics.

Freedom of Expression Online

January 2018
We interviewed two people – the new OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and an emerging leader from Brazil, an Internet Society 25 Under 25 awardee – to hear their different perspectives on the forces shaping the Internet’s future.


Harlem Désir

Harlem Désir is the Operation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media. Prior to his current position, Désir was French Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, and a member of the European Parliament for three consecutive terms from 1999 to 2014.


Paula Côrte Real

Paula Côrte Real is a 24-year-old Brazilian who hopes to help create a safe and secure Internet experience for Brazil’s youth through her involvement in several youth engagement programs. One of those, led by the Commission of Information Technology Law from the Brazilian Bar Association in Pernambuco, helps students learn how to protect themselves while using the Internet. It also tackles current issues such as cyberbullying and cyberstalking. To date, the project has reached approximately 2,000 public school students between the ages of 15 and 18. In 2017, she was awarded the Internet Society’s 25 under 25 award for making an impact on her community and beyond.


The Future of Journalism in the Internet Age: Watchdogs or Lapdogs?

Media watchdogs, increasingly criticized, threatened and attacked by corporate interests and global governments, are also among the prominent victims of falling public trust in the wake of the proliferation of so-called ‘fake’ news...


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