Internet use now almost universal
Almost everyone in the Netherlands now uses the internet. And the digital city has come to mean something quite different: technology is smaller, more portable and increasingly inconspicuous. Internet-enabled devices are everywhere: from the smart thermostats in our homes to sensors that track our movement around the city.
Digital technology has a huge impact on everyday life
Digital technology is all around us and has a huge impact on everyday life. It's used to identify and address all sorts of social issues, for example. Neighbourhood residents use on-line platforms to form community groups and other social support systems. Sensors around cities monitor traffic congestion and air quality. And algorithms can flag up late-night public order incidents before they get out of hand. However, the interaction between local authorities and the firms that supply the platforms, algorithms and sensors is kept secret. Indeed, the authorities often seem unaware of operational details, such as where sensors are located or what data is collected.
Communal nature of the internet is threatened
Internet companies have an increasing presence in public areas of the city, thus threatening the communal nature of the internet. The digital public space that we envisaged twenty-five years ago is now a marketplace, dominated by a handful of powerful corporations with an insatiable hunger for data. Are commercial mores compatible with our social values? And who defines the rules, now that the on-line and off-line worlds are so closely intertwined?
More information and registration
Waag is organising The State of the Internet 2019 in partnership with SIDN, XS4ALL, OBA, Amsterdam Municipal CTO's Office and the University of Amsterdam's Faculty of Science. For details of the programme and to register, visit https://waag.org/nl/event/staat-van-het-internet-2019