The internet is proving a powerful tool in forging a global culture, according to the latest research from the World Economic Forum, conducted in collaboration with professors at Insead, the Oxford Internet Institute and comScore.

According to the research, users worldwide share similar values and attitudes related to online freedom of expression, privacy, trust, and security. In particular, they do not see freedom of expression and privacy and security as being mutually exclusive.

One of the most interesting findings of the research, conducted by Soumitra Dutta and Ginette Law at Insead, and William Dutton at Oxford University, is that in terms of numbers, it is not the US or Europe that is leading the field. The newly emerging nations online, such as those in Asia and Latin and South America, are becoming dominant: although they have lower levels of internet adoption, they have the greatest number of users. Moreover, internet users in these developing countries are more likely to adopt tools such as social networking - perhaps witnessed in the recent uprisings in noth Africa - while users in older-adopting countries are more conservative, and tied to more traditional Internet applications.

This study reports the results of an online survey of more than 5,400 adult internet users in 13 different countries.

Meanwhile at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge, Michael Pollitt, reader in business economics, tackles another of today’s big issues - energy consumption. Mr Pollitt, who is also assistant director of the ESRC Electricity Policy Research Group, says that domestic energy-saving devices are the way forward in reducing household energy consumption, and in a podcast he concludes that energy-saving measures are popular with consumers.

By 2030, he predicts, “We will see everybody with a smart meter and everybody signed up to smarter tariffs. With new homes the smartness is going on in the background, your thermostat will be self-adjusting, and everything will be done as automatically as possible for you.”

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