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Keynote at Tag der Informatik, Aachen, Germany, 6th December 2013.
From buying plane tickets to eGovernment, participation in consumer and civic society is predicated on continuous connectivity and copious computation . And yet for many at the edges of society, the elderly, the poor, the disabled, and those in rural areas, poor access to digital technology makes them more marginalised, potentially cut off from modern citizenship. I spent three and half months last summer walking 1700 kilometres around the margins of Wales in order to experience more directly some of the issues facing those on the physical edges of a modern nation, who are often also at the social and economic margins. I will talk about some of the theoretical and practical issues raised; how designing software with constrained resources is more challenging but potentially more rewarding than assuming everyone lives with Silicon Valley levels of connectivity. I will also talk about some of the more personal challenges of a major expedition and the lessons from this for those starting out on their careers.