After the Digital Tornado


Book about major recent technology trends for Internet Policy. Update for politicians and career-makers. I am not so sure about it, but I trust Kevin Werbach to have made a nice compilation as a tutorial. Bit expensive for me though.

Here is what the publishers say at the announcement of the book on Amazon:

“Networks powered by algorithms are pervasive. Major contemporary technology trends – Internet of Things, Big Data, Digital Platform Power, Blockchain, and the Algorithmic Society – are manifestations of this phenomenon. The internet, which once seemed an unambiguous benefit to society, is now the basis for invasions of privacy, massive concentrations of power, and wide-scale manipulation. The algorithmic networked world poses deep questions about power, freedom, fairness, and human agency. The influential 1997 Federal Communications Commission whitepaper “Digital Tornado” hailed the “endless spiral of connectivity” that would transform society, and today, little remains untouched by digital connectivity. Yet fundamental questions remain unresolved, and even more serious challenges have emerged. This important collection, which offers a reckoning and a foretelling, features leading technology scholars who explain the legal, business, ethical, technical, and public policy challenges of building pervasive networks and algorithms for the benefit of humanity.”

This is the result of a conference in November 2017, which was announced as follows:

Many of the contemporary technology trends with the greatest significance for the economy and for public policy—Internet of Things, Big Data, Platform Economy, Blockchain, and Algorithmic Society—should be seen as manifestations of this larger phenomenon. Growing tensions around governance, innovation, surveillance, competition, consumer/worker protection, privacy, and discrimination are best understood within a broader frame. The algorithmic networked world poses deep questions about power, freedom, fairness, and human agency.

Ubiquitous networking means the transformation of every form of economic activity, and a large chunk of non-economic activity, along the same lines as the internet. Algorithmic control means that increasingly dynamic software will manage not just transactions and communication, but also human systems. Our cultures and institutions are not well-adapted to this new environment. Equally important, systems engineered for a distinct and limited digital world can be ill-suited for the complexities of the “real” world. Already, a number of controversies have arisen, many of which are difficult to address under established legal rules.

Twenty years ago, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission ((FCC)) issued Kevin Werbach’s working paper, Digital Tornado, one of the first examinations by a government agency of the transformative potential of the internet. Today we find ourselves in a world where little remains untouched by the wave of digital connectivity. Yet fundamental questions remain unresolved, and even more serious new questions have emerged.

In November 2017, the Wharton School will host a major academic conference on this topic, organized by Professor Werbach. An edited volume of essays based on the presentations will be published by Cambridge University Press.

I am writing a chapter for a book and concentrate on every thing but the issues in this book. I doubt that Trump has read it or the present FCC.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist 

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