Challenges, Opportunities and Risks for a Smart Future

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We live in times that are as exciting as unsure at once. For many it is the most stunning and promising era in human society and for others it is a scary derangement of the old world. To find a path which leads us into a great future we created a comprehensive study to get insights about possible ways and hypotheses.
MLOVE and VISITOR FIRST plan to expand their initial scoping research on the relations between people and future technologies of Mobility, Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Cities. It considers important questions such as the consequences of bringing cutting edge technology into everyday life and the hopes, visions and fears tied to this process. The social frameworks that produce these technologies will also be analyzed.
MLOVE is a global community that brings together CEOs, CMOs, innovators and startup entrepreneurs from across multiple disci- plines to share, learn and inspire ideas with an array of scientists, artists and other pioneers.
In VISITOR FIRST, MLOVE found a partner with several years of experience in the field of ethnographic research and holistic research designs within a business context.

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Challenges, Opportunities and Risks for a Smart Future

  1. 1. 1 Challenges, Opportunities and Risks for a Smart Future Internet of Things, Mobility and Smart City Authors: Diana Beata Krüger Katharina v. Sohlern Felix M. Wieduwilt Curated by Harald Neidhardt
  2. 2. 2 IMPRESSUM PUBLISHER MLOVE ConFestival UG Am Int. Seegerichtshof 20 22609 Hamburg CEO & Curator: Harald Neidhardt harald@mlove.com +49 160 94477555 mlove.com AUTHORS VISITOR FIRST Diana Beata Krüger Katharina v. Sohlern Felix M. Widuwilt mail@visitorfirst.com +49 40 6485 7591 visitorfirst.com ARTWORK Henning Neidhardt les amis design COPYRIGHT This study is intellectual property of VISITOR FIRST, represented by Diana Beata Krüger, Katharina v. Sohlern, and Felix M. Wieduwilt and curated by MLOVE ConFestival UG, represented by Harald Neidhardt PHOTO CREDITS Commercial license from istock.com INTRODUCTION TABLE OF CONTENT INTRODUCTION EXECUTIVE SUMMARY SMART TECHNOLOGY & CITY SMART FUTURE & SOCIETY SMART FUTURE & THE INDIVIDUAL RÉSUMÉ PROSPECT ABOUT ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH ABOUT MLOVE ABOUT VISITOR FIRST
  3. 3. 3 INTRODUCTION We live in times that are as exciting as unsure at once. For many it is the most stunning and promising era in human society and for others it is a scary derangement of the old world. To find a path which leads us into a great future we created a comprehen- sive study to get insights about possible ways and hypotheses. MLOVE and VISITOR FIRST plan to expand their initial scoping research on the relations between people and future technologies of Mobility, Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Cities. It considers important questions such as the conse- quences of bringing cutting edge technology into everyday life and the hopes, visions and fears tied to this process. The social frameworks that produce these technologies will also be analy- zed. MLOVE is a global community that brings together CEOs, CMOs, innovators and startup entrepreneurs from across multiple disci- plines to share, learn and inspire ideas with an array of scientists, artists and other pioneers. In VISITOR FIRST, MLOVE found a partner with several years of experience in the field of ethnographic research and holistic research designs within a business context. INTRODUCTION “Our future is accelerating at an unprecedented speed. While society embraces digital innovation & smart technologies, we have to make sure to reflect upon its opportunities, challenges, ethics and a vision to advan- ce humankind in a meaningful way.” Harald Neidhardt, CEO & Curator, MLOVE
  4. 4. 4 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY “So I think my perception of a smart city will be a city that can learn from its inhabitants and can do something with the data. Not just learn from it but actually help create a diffe- rent environment.” EXECUTIVE SUMMARY For the study, VISITOR FIRST designed a special research model based on the method of ethnographic research. This social research method relies on in-depth interviews, participant observation and associative procedures. The first interviews are conducted with experts participating at the MLOVE ConFestival 2015 in Hamburg and are documented on video. In total, 12 experts from the fields of Smart Cities, Mobility, Governance and IoT were interviewed on camera, four of them female and eight male. The age span ranged between 26 - 60 years. The video documentation contains 22 hours of in depth interviews. Data was gathered in the following topics: 1. SMART TECH & SMART CITY 2. SMART FUTURE & SOCIETY 3. SMART FUTURE & THE INDIVIDUAL The first key findings of the study are presented to you as part of the MLOVE FutureCity Campus and will lay the foundation of a broader research program. The following text presents an overview of the collected data.
  5. 5. 5 SMART TECHNOLOGY & SMART CITY
  6. 6. 6 SMART TECHNOLOGY & SMART CITY SMART TECHNOLOGY & SMART CITY The key question in this part of the study was how these two concepts are defined and put in relation to each other. SMART TECHNOLOGIES We found two concepts of Smart Technologies to be prevailing. The first concept follows a technical approach: Smart technologies are considered to be an advanced holistic system, which is supposed to be perfectly functioning. By sensing the surroundings and gathering data, they are able to react to and modify changing environments. The second concept puts a focus on the relation between humans and technology. Smart Technologies are seen as tools with the potential to free humans from tasks and provide time to focus on other aspects of human life, such as creativity and passions. On an individual level, it is seen as a means to support a more sustainable lifestyle: On macro level, it can potentially help to create a more integra- tive society by e.g. providing tools for global communication or devices to support challenged people with disabilities. A point stressed by many participants is that technology should not replace humans but expand their scope for action. “Technology that makes our ordinary life easier. We don’t have to think about how we are using water or light because it’s already there. It helps us in our daily life to be a better person.”
  7. 7. 7 SMART CITY Our findings highlight two aspects of Smart Cities. One aspect emphasizes the technical functioning: by adding sensors to objects and elements of the city it is possible to gather big amounts of data about the behavior of its citizens. By evaluating and connecting the data, solutions can be found to optimize life: This urban landscape is considered to be more efficient in ordertoprovidebetteraccesstoe.g.information,communication, participation and in general to a more sustainable lifestyle. “So I think my perception of a smart city will be a city that can learn from its inhabitants and can do something with the data. Not just learn from it but actually help create a different environment.” SMART TECHNOLOGY & SMART CITY
  8. 8. 8 In addition, the majority of the respondents felt that the focus should be on the citizens and not on the technical side: A smart citizen is considered to connect their life to the resources and services of the city and to use them in a smart way. Many participants think that the implementation of measures that lead the city to become a smart city has to be introduced and developed by the citizens in order to be accepted: Few stated that the process has to be introduced top-down by the administration. The majority of the respondents see Smart Technologies as one of the key factors to create Smart Cities. One position pointed out, that smart cities are not necessarily dependent on new technologies. The quality or advancement of technology must not be confused with its application or effectiveness. A Smart City is therefore an integrated city with good communi- cation between citizens, public and the private sector. “We don‘t need technologies beyond those that we have now, to create very, very smart cities that are socially and culturally integrated with existing social media and professional networking platforms.” “Smart city really is about the people, not so much about its transistors.” “If you want the technology to be accepted by the citi- zens, it has to be designed by the citizens, otherwise they would be sceptical about it.” SMART TECHNOLOGY & SMART CITY
  9. 9. 9 SMART FUTURE & SOCIETY
  10. 10. 10 SMART FUTURE & SOCIETY This part of the study considers the challenges, opportunities and risks of a smart future for society. The influences of developments in the fields of Mobility, Smart Technologies and IoT become evident in the following subcategories. ENVIRONMENT Our respondents observed that an interest in environmental issues and sustainability becomes increasingly compulsory and natural for citizens. Technology is seen as a potential means to decrease negative effects of climate change. At the same time, there is a strong consciousness of future fundamental shifts due to the rapidly changing environment caused by an overall use of technology. “As technologies accelerate, the way the world is changing, the risks to the environments, and to our status quo of lives accelerates, all those things create fundamentally more instability in terms of how governments work, how societies work, how cultures develop.” SMART FUTURE & SOCIETY
  11. 11. 11 CULTURE Smart technology is considered useful during the daily usage. The overall connectivity at any time is perceived as practical, but also as negative. We observed a longing for times of freedom and serendipity that are not driven by the maxim of smart technologies, which is perceived as rational and efficient. The majority of the respondents prefers to be disconnected from time to time e.g. during weekends. Technologies are also perceived to give a false sense of connectivity and lead to a loss of social competence and the quality of real human communication and interactions. Another concern is to be manipulated and controlled by tech- nology. Moreover, participants were worried about privacy. The constant measuring, localization and verifiability of human behavior are seen as restriction of freedom for the individual. “I think we need to draw a line there. The human mind needs to understand that technology should help the individual not make it loose connection to reality. I don’t want us to become a Matrix – plugged into a virtual system.” SMART FUTURE & SOCIETY
  12. 12. 12 GOVERNMENT Regarding the development of smart cities, one aspect is the government’s responsibility for handling data and privacy guidelines. Respondents were concerned that in the case of misuse, people will create parallel non-digital systems, which might lead to a retreat into the “analog” sphere. Governments are challenged to include their citizens in a real democratic decisi- on-making process to provide transparency. One critical aspect mentioned was the observed shift of power from states to private corporations; therefore, governmental regulations have to be strictly mandatory. This leads to a question, which has not been answered yet by our respondents: how will technologies accelerate or influence the social justice issues in a positive or negative way? Another critical aspect is the pace of technological development, which is much faster than the adaptability and agency of governments. This might lead to conflicts in the area of law and society. The highest risk is seen in the dependency on electric power of smart technologies and cities, as well as their likelihood to get attacked. “All of these (smart technologies) fundamentally can have a positive impact – they are things that enhan- ce the human experience. How they are implemented and how they are used, determines if they could also be used in negative ways in terms of creating more exaggerated social injustice situations.” SMART FUTURE & SOCIETY
  13. 13. 13 BODY & HEALTH Our respondents reported that by getting smaller devices, technologies will be integrated in material and the human body. Wearables are seen as the frontier to biotech and give people an extra layer of intelligence by using them. Concerns were stated about whether these technologies, if they are not used in the medical field, are actually useful or necessary. Collected data about body functions by e.g. wearables is not necessarily seen as the ultimate enhancement to control the body but rather as annoying: Big hopes are tied to the field of bacteria biotech and its use in medicine. “I think people don’t really need this technology if you already have the better life. Maybe it can also make people angry when they see the data of not being healthy and it can put more pressure on to you. It can make your life even more stressful when you look at the data constantly.” SMART FUTURE & SOCIETY
  14. 14. 14 WORK For the future of work, a big challenge is seen due to the process of informalization. New technological developments, such as mobile tech, that make physical presence in an office obsolete, or the replacement of human workforce by machines lead to the necessity to rethink and redefine the concept of work. One respondent even considers the concept of employment as a 20th century idea. Another concern is that the competition between humans and machines about work will lead to unemployment and ultimately a higher rate of suicides, especially amongst the elderly struggling to adapt. SMART FUTURE & SOCIETY
  15. 15. 15 SMART FUTURE & THE INDIVIDUAL
  16. 16. 16 SMART FUTURE & THE INDIVIDUAL This part of the study focuses on the challenges, opportunities and risks of a smart future on an individual level. We found a strong interest in human centric approaches and technologies that are developed with a focus on human behavior. In order to design a better future, a set of values has to be added to technological developments, especially in the field of artificial intelligence. Several of the respondents see a high potential of technologies contributing to important improvements, like the development of a more tolerant and integrated society or solutions to environmental problems: “Shared values are agreed values by the whole thinking world. The most important value is life itself which must be protected; the person is important.” “Some days, with the amounts of hate in the world, it’s hard to belief that these things will be used in a positive manner. On the other hand I think life has been improving for most of the population of the world and there is hope. (...) I’m optimistic that we as a species will become more integrated, communicate better, appreciate each others cultures and as result will find ways to move forward in a positive manner.” SMART FUTURE & THE INDIVIDUAL
  17. 17. 17 However, there are also concerns about whether humanity will be able to keep up with future environmental, social and political challenges: Other points of critique are the lack of a neutral discourse about those topics in current society and the problem of a perceived digital analphabetism. Also, it is called into question whether the government or administration will be able to keep up with the pace of technical development and innovation and implement the necessary chan- ges in the legislation and organization of society. “We fucked up super fast the world but we haven’t been in such a place in history to unfuck it superfast either.” “We are just part of a universe what we barely under- stand. It’s surely changing and we have no idea how it’s changing. We have a lot to catch up. We have so many problems on earth to deal with in society I don’t know if we will have this kind of revolution (living on other planets) to be able to pattern the universe.” “Maybe we are making the world a little bit better with all the smart gadgets and all and urban living but I think we do that because we have to change so- mething but we will never be a species that is caring for other things. We just care for us.” “We don’t know what future is, futurists don’t agree and the economists don’t agree, so the only thing there is to do is to experiment a lot (...) and have some sense of ethics about how you’re designing things.” SMART FUTURE & THE INDIVIDUAL “The biggest challenge, however, is for individuals and society to design their future responsibly.”
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  19. 19. 19 RÉSUMÉ The impact of future technological developments on society is perceived as highly ambiguous by our respondents. The overall predicted digitalization in “Smart Cities” is supposed to bring a more efficient practice to the communal life on every level. Smart technologies are thereby mostly seen as tools to cater the needs of the citizens. In order to be accepted by the citizens, the city has to be designed human centered. Huge uncertainties are being expressed about the impact of future technological developments on society. On the one hand, there is a potential of finding solutions to global problems such as climate change, diseases or poverty. But the respondents are also aware of potential risks amplified by technologies which could lead to dependency, misuse and more social injustice. There are huge concerns about the place of the human in a society which is more and more shaped and influenced by machines and A.I.. In order to keep control of such developments, it is necessary to design technologies with human values and create systems of control and regulation on a national and global level. On the individual level, technologies are perceived as useful and a possible support to lead a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. Smart technologies, such as smartphones and laptops, are highly valued especially in the field of communications. At the same time, their influence on (consumer) choices and on the quality of human interaction is called into question. Ultimately, the feeling of being connected all the time is perceived as a lack of freedom. RÉSUMÉ
  20. 20. 20 PROSPECT This expose is a foundation to showcase the complexity and profundity of an unsure smart future. Further studies will go deeper in the field of Smart Future to research in areas like media, mobility, health, biotech, finance, and AI. More detailed studies combined with the foundation of this paper will bring a comprehensive prospect on upcoming technological developments in different fields. For more information please contact us and we are pleased to help you. PROSPECT
  21. 21. 21 ABOUT APPLIED ETHNOGRAPIC RESEARCH The method of ethnography was pioneered in the social and cultural branches of anthropology. It is designed to explore and describe human cultures from the point of view of the subject of the study. Thereby, it helps to gain a deep insight into the systems of meaning and patterns of behavior of the socie- ty in focus. The combination of (participant) observation and in-depth interviews allows discovering tacit knowledge and (hidden) needs. This is a great advantage over quantitative methods, which often times lack the sensitivity to measure these factors. The typical ethnography is a holistic study and so it also includes important aspects such as the social and political context, historic facts and other quantitative data. Unlike traditional market rese- arches, which focus on specific and highly practical questions, anthropological researchers visit consumers in their homes or offices to observe and listen in a nondirected way. The goal is to see and understand people’s behavior on their terms. This empirical and inductive approach often times leads to different outcomes than expected at the beginning of the study. All this makes ethnography the perfect method to discover the unknown and reveal unexpected insights – and an interesting tool for companies and organizations working with a customer- centric approach. It can help to identify customer needs that have yet to be met and test market demand for products that do not exist. It provides a holistic view of a problem space and exposes opportunities for competitive differentiation. It enables companies to understand the human in terms of cultural trends, lifestyle factors, attitudes and how social context influences pro- duct selection and usage. Therefore, it allows to create an experi- ence, that is fully satisfying the needs of the customer. ABOUT
  22. 22. 22 ABOUT MLOVE MLOVE is a global community that shares a passion to drive the future of Mobility, Internet of Things and Smart Cities. Since 2010, MLOVE is creating inspiring event experiences like at a 400-year-old castle North of Hamburg, Germany, or at amazing locations in Silicon Valley or Barcelona. MLOVE SalonsareorganizedlocallyinvariouscitieslikeSingapore,Tokyo, Vienna, Dublin, London and Austin. MLOVE events bring together CEOs, CMOs, innovators and startup entrepreneurs from across multiple disciplines to share, learn and cross-pollinate ideas with an array of scientists, artists and other thought leaders. The events are designed to maximize the opportunity of sharing life-changing services and applications that can impact us all for the better. An important part of the events are creative collisions, provocative insights and some part of an collaborative un-conference. www.mlove.com ABOUT
  23. 23. 23 ABOUT VISITOR FIRST VISITOR FIRST is a consultancy for visitor experiences. We consult enterprises, startups and the public sector on how to optimize products, brands and experiences. As experts for qualitative research we define hopes, worries, expectations, and dreams to localize and evaluate the visitors problems and needs in daily life, which leads back to a better product and service. We always ask why people do how they do. Henceforth, we can easily spot the real matter: the human being. www.visitorfirst.com ABOUT
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