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 2013/2014
Digital disruptions : making time for collective foresight


 A yearly creative foresight cycle
At the intersection of technological innovation, economic change and social
transformation, what "Digital Disruptions" will exert their influence
in the coming years? Which emerging phenomena, transformative opportunities,
and challenges can we no longer afford to ignore?
In order to anticipate rather than react, we all ask ourselves these questions
in our own way, as they pertain to our activities. Usually, we do so independently,
closed off from external ideas and interactions. Yet the most profound questions,
the most fecund visions, will almost certainly emerge from the most unexpected
places and people. Thinking about the future should be a collective exercise.
“Digital Disruptions” offers its participants a chance to be part of an ongoing,
collective cycle of foresight that unites innovators and policymakers, researchers
and designers, entrepreneurs and activists together in a unique future-oriented
community. Its goal: to collectively explore the "Digital Disruptions" that will
become central during the coming years - and begin to conceive of ways
to anticipate them and respond to their challenges.


 A publication, a tool, and a process
Since its inception in 2010, the "Digital Disruptions” program has evolved
into:
	   A yearly reference publication, the Digital Disruptions Actionbook,
presented during several major events featuring high-level international  
speakers.
	   A continuous co-production process, online and face to face, joining
together nearly 300 decision-makers, idea-generators and influencers from  
an exceptional variety of backgrounds, sectors, and places of origin.
	   A tool to incorporate foresight into your own strategic
thinking processes: Digital Disruptions partners benefit from strategic  
seminars and special workshops (internal, or open to clients and partners),
presentations to management or in other spheres…



 Digital Disruptions on the Web
www.fing.org/digitaldisruptions




Digital Disruptions was initiated by Fing (Paris) and is now
a joint initiative with Waag Society (Amsterdam), Picnic (Amsterdam)
and FutureEverything (Manchester)
Credits

 Coordination

Daniel Kaplan  Véronique Routin  Jacques-François Marchandise   
Margaux Pasquet  Renaud Francou.


 Participative methods
Nod-A


 facilitators and editors
Marine Albarede  Amandine Brugière  Loup Cellard  
Jean-Michel Cornu  Fabien Eychenne  Renaud Francou  
Fabienne Guibé  Hubert Guillaud  Daniel Kaplan  Frank Kresin 
Aurialie Jublin  Carole Leclerc  Lucie Le Moine  Amadou Lo  
Jacques-François Marchandise  Thierry Marcou  Juliette Maroni  
Françoise Massit-Folléa  Charles Népote  Philippe Nikolov  
Pierre Orsatelli  Denis Pansu  Margaux Pasquet  Valérie Peugeot  
Véronique Routin  Rémi Sussan  Thomas Thibault  
and the students of Ecole Boulle.


 FR/EN translation
Jianne Whelton


 Workshops hosted by
The Waag Society (Amsterdam) - Picnic (Amsterdam) - Ecole Boulle
(Paris) - Belle de Mai Media Park (Marseille) - Cap Digital (Paris)


 Graphic design
Isabelle Jovanovic


 Photos
All rights reserved




Fondation Internet Nouvelle Génération
www.fing.org - www.internetactu.net
 8, passage Brulon  75012 Paris  (+) 33 1 83 62 98 28  infos@fing.org
 CMCI  2, rue Henri Barbusse  13001 Marseille  (+) 33 4 91 52 88 08
Promises that "stick" express widely shared hopes,               Great ambitions, and modest ones
Ever since being named the technological pillar supporting the "Third Industrial Revolution",
                                                                                                                            dreams, beliefs and intuitions. They fuel creativity,
the digital world has not been short of promises. At one time or another, ICT gurus, industry                               entrepreneurial energy, and human desire, as much               As we embarked on our search for the ways the
leaders and public institutions have heralded the end of work; the impossibility of economic crises;                        as they are fuelled by them. They inspire concrete              d
                                                                                                                                                                                            ­ igital promises have been expressed, especially
the dawn of social harmony and world peace through the miracle of sharing and mutual                                        technical, economic or political choices. Through               by institutions and political figures, a dichotomy
understanding between people; a reinvigorated democracy; access to development for even                                     them, we tell the story of a future we hope to build.           between American and European ambitions was
                                                                                                                            We have to take these promises seriously, even if they          immediately apparent.
the poorest of the poor; the advent of a global consciousness to face environmental challenges...
                                                                                                                            are not kept.
Before any eye rolling at such naiveté, let us ask ourselves where such promises arise, who they are                                                                                        For the European Commission, as for most of its
destined for, who listens to them, and what they bring about–and admit that in doing so, we are                                                                                             member governments, the role of ICT is:
holding up a mirror to ourselves.                                                                                            Using promises to invent the future
                                                                                                                                                                                               "to address the challenges facing society like
                                                                                                                            With this in mind, from May to October 2012, Fing                  climate change and the ageing population."
 Promises made, and received                                    exciting challenges that they then strive to meet.          mobilized over 300 individuals to identify the most                (Digital Agenda, 2010), and to turn the European
                                                                Because their ambitions usually go beyond simply            significant "digital promises" of recent years, assess             Union into "the most competitive and dynamic
Technology foresight often describes the future as              achieving some kind of technical feat, what might           their progress and project them into the future.                   knowledge-based economy in the world, capable
the product of mechanical advances in technology                have begun as an individual challenge often gets                                                                               of sustainable economic growth with more and
applied to external challenges (ecological, economic,           picked up by industry and institutions, who translate       After laying the groundwork in the spring, we                      better jobs and greater social cohesion". (Lisbon
demographic, etc.). Tending as it does toward per-              them into promises.                                         consolidated material from workshops and online                    Strategy, 2000).
formance, optimisation and automation, this way                                                                             exchanges and converged around 21 "promises."
of thinking struggles to account for the diverse, un­                                                                       Wearing our caver’s lamps, we went in search of their           From this standpoint, digital technologies are
predictable and generally disruptive ways that users             The traces of our our dreams and desires                   expressions in the world, from the most conven­ ional
                                                                                                                                                                            t               e
                                                                                                                                                                                            ­ xpressed as a given context to which we must
adopt these technologies.                                                                                                   to the most heterodox. By late August, the raw mate-            adapt, and which can (among other things) help us
                                                                If these promises merely served to illustrate the dis-      rial for the "Digital Disruptions" workshops had been           to solve our current and future problems–especially
Conversely, in using the "promises" that digital tech-          course of technology suppliers, they would hardly           published online#.                                              in terms of efficiency and productivity.
nology has made to society as our starting point, we            deserve our attention. But the Internet is distribu-
are bound to focus on disruptions, on the transfor-             ted and decentralised, digital transformations have         In September and October 2012, workshops held in                Things are quite different on the other side of the Atlan-
mative role of technology. Almost by definition, a              affected nearly every domain of human activity,             Amsterdam (in conjunction with the Waag Society                 tic. By the early 1990s, the "information super­ ighway"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            h
promise envisions profound and positive changes in              and the boundaries that once separated supply and           and PICNIC), Marseille (with Lift) and Paris took a             promoted by Al Gore met with the fiery proclamations
the systems to which it is applied. It helps to flush out       demand are becoming increasingly blurred. It is             closer look at those promises that participants consi-          of a "vastly increased human freedom" made by the
human desire and spirit, past and future. It is formu­          getting harder and harder to figure out who is pro-         dered most meaningful. In small groups, they res-               co-authors of the Magna Carta for the Knowledge Age
lated and made by an entity, targets an audience, and           mising what to whom, when no single actor has all           ponded to four successive questions:                            (1994). The authors of Wikinomics (2006) heralded "a
intends to mobilise both the givers and the receivers.          the resources needed to keep a single one of these                                                                          new era, perhaps even a ­ olden one, on par with the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         g
Those are its strengths.                                        promises.                                                     How would we assess the status of the promise?                Italian renaissance, or the rise of ­ thenian demo-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A
                                                                                                                            What worked or didn’t work, what surprised us, what             cracy." In their report entitled ­ onverging Technologies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              C
Local and national governments–stakeholders with                When the barriers separating top from bottom are            have we learned?                                                for Improving Human ­ erformance (2003), Roco and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       P
a vested interest in the success of the Internet or             lifted, there is greater porosity between talkers and                                                                       B
                                                                                                                                                                                            ­ ainbridge drew on sources close to science fiction and
mobile telephony–praise ICTs as levers for (preferably          doers. The promises made by intellectual prophets             What about tomorrow’s world might change the                  transhumanism to define the technological strategy
"sustainable") growth, competitiveness, democratic              are not always so very distant from the pledges             context of the promise’s formulation, reformulation,            for the National Science Foundation. Later still (2011),
and administrative modernisation and universal                  made and fulfilled by reclusive software developers.        or fulfilment?                                                  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defends Internet free-
i
­ nclusion in a "knowledge society" that we assume to           Exploring this terrain means being able to cross                                                                            dom in the name of
be better than today’s society. From the "­ eclaration
                                          D                     vast expanses of the overblown and naïve; it means            Considering everything we have learned, if we were
of the Independence of Cyberspace" (1996) to pirate             s
                                                                ­ ailing entire oceans of storytelling and vapourware       to make a promise for tomorrow’s world, how would                  "the protester using social media to organize a
parties, activists have also assigned ideolo­ ical
                                                 g              (not always an unpleasant task) and ultimately              we rephrase it in a forward-thinking, credible and                 march in Egypt; the college student emailing her
charac­ eristics to technology, be they libertarian,
        t                                                       d
                                                                ­ etecting desirable horizons, far-off aspirations and      ambitious way?                                                     family photos of her semester abroad; the lawyer
neoliberal, collective or authoritarian.                        a will to act.                                                                                                                 in Vietnam blogging to expose corruption; the
                                                                                                                             Finally, again using experience as a guide, what steps            teenager in the United States who is bullied and
Similarly, large technology firms have construc-                Thus this "promising" is becoming a more and more           would be needed to keep this new promise?                          finds words of support online; for the small busi-
ted "grand narratives", which are often reinforced              collective act.. It carries with it the pledges we make                                                                        ness owner in Kenya using mobile banking to
and conveyed throughout an ecosystem of inno-                   to ourselves. First and foremost, this ‘ourselves’ stands   The material generated during these workshops was                  manage her profits; the philosopher in China rea-
vative entrepreneurs: "Think different" (Apple), ­ A  "         for ‘we the people’: the direct and indirect users,         assembled, arranged and cultivated by the team at                  ding academic journals for her dissertation; the
S
­ marter Planet" (IBM), "Your potential. Our passion."          beneficiaries, and receivers of the promises. Secon-        Fing. You hold the results of this work in your hands:             scientist in Brazil sharing data in real time with
(­ icrosoft)… These slogans do more than target see-
 M                                                              dly, it represents those who try to imbue technology        use it as a source of inspiration, and to support your             colleagues overseas; and the billions and billions
mingly gullible consumers: they bolster employee                with some kind of intention – whether innovative,           work, your future aspirations, and your efforts. Think             of interactions with the internet every single day
morale and send a clear message to markets and                  encyclo­ aedic, activist, military, service-oriented,
                                                                          p                                                 of it as a tool, rather than an intangible reference.              as people communicate with loved ones, follow
investors. They also entail a certain degree of risk.           environmental, creative or any other – so long as they                                                                         the news, do their jobs, and participate in the
                                                                benefit others.                                             A careful reading of this collective work in its entirety          debates shaping their world."
Research labs, clusters, and communities of deve-                                                                           does reveal a few overriding impressions, however.
lopers, hackers and other makers come up with                                                                                                                                               What European politician could make such a speech?



                                                            4                                                                                                                           5
At first reading, one might conclude that the                  It would be too easy to chalk this up to inertia, or to    platforms for whom it acts as both raw material and
A
­ mericans are talking politics while the Europeans            the resistance of the establishment. They are factors,     bounty. Relying as it does on their users’ voluntary (or
are talking economics. But the challenge that the              of course. But let us look to a few markets that digital   a least passive) contributions, their business model
Americans set for themselves is clearly economic:              technologies have already transformed profoundly           is based on capturing the most comprehensive and
the only real difference lies in the degree of their           and forever, such as those of cultural goods and the       sustainable levels of individual work, information
ambition. For them, the function of technology is to           media. The stakeholders and economic models have           and attention. Instead of being applied to collective
profoundly transform whatever it touches, to alter             indeed changed, and new stakeholders have emer-            issues, this massive energy is absorbed into a kind
its terms of reference. It points toward new fron-             ged. But has a new golden age of creativity arisen?        of private black hole, only to emerge in the form of
tiers that innovative organisations go off to conquer.         Are culture and knowledge more widely distributed?         financial value – because "if you’re not paying for it,
W
­ ithout necessarily adhering to the overblown ora-            Is the media more incisive, more independent from          you’re the product".
tory, at the heart of this ambition lies one of the rea-       economic and political power? We think not.
sons for the continued dominance of the Internet by                                                                       It is no small wonder, then, that most of our pro-
American giants, and their formidable capacity for             So what is missing? A vision that far exceeds the          mises devote increasing attention to choice, skills
scientific and entrepreneurial initiative and renewal.         scope of technology, and will no doubt partly orient       development, the individual mastery of technologies
                                                               its development and deployment.                            and content, and ultimately, to the balance between
                                                                                                                          contribution and some kind of "return" (symbolic or
  The more things change, the more they                        Even when it has been massively adopted, techno-           tangible) for community contributors.
stay the same?                                                 logy alone cannot solve problems whose origins can
                                                               be traced to the political and economic organization                                  ***
Some of the promises made by digital techno­                   of our societies, or back through history. If we want
logies have clearly not been kept. ICTs help to upset          systemic change, we have to describe it clearly, and       The first cyber utopias were based on the idea that
dicta­ orships, but have yet to solve the crisis facing
     t                                                         display an iron, common will to apply it that is unwa-     the physical, social and economic constraints of
democracy. They have not made growth more stable               vering yet accepting of confrontation.                     the "real world" would disappear into an infinitely
or more environmentally sustainable–in fact, they                                                                         reconfigurable and plastic space without gravity or
actually enabled the disruptions that triggered                We typically assign the task of identifying and imple-     friction, without scarcity or conflict of use. Inevitably,
recent instability in the financial market. They have          menting the collective will to political institutions.     their encounter with reality proved disappointing.
also not rescued LDCs from underdevelopment. Were              But these days there is doubt as to their ability to       And yet, the digital world remains the place where
these promises out of reach? Were the technologies             perform either role. Which is probably why most            contemporary hopes are discussed and instantiated,
misused? If not, what else is missing?                         of the groups working on the promises seemed to            where creators and innovators dissatisfied with the
                                                               converge around a similar idea: that the mission of        current state of the world converge.
Even more interesting–and more disturbing–is the               technology itself should be to more widely distribute
disjunction seen in several areas between, on the              information, power and the capacity for action, to         That’s why promises are so important, and why we
one hand, the rapid and massive development of                 facilitate the emergence and growth of alternatives.       must doubt them and cherish them at the same
digital tools, services and practices; and on the other,                                                                  time – and also why we chose to make of them both
systemic effects that are weak or non-existent, if not                                                                    raw material and finished product of our collective
downright paradoxical. ICTs have released us from a             The risk of capture                                       effort.
myriad of temporal constraints, yet we feel ever more
pressed for time. Although dematerialisation has               However, such distribution of power will not be the        Ultimately, it is probably the reformulation of the
become a large part of our lives at home and at work,          mechanical result of even the quasi-universal pres-        p
                                                                                                                          ­ romise related to gamification (original title:
it has neither simplified our lives nor our managerial         ence of digital devices and online access. We need to      "Games that transform us and transform the world")
practices, nor has it reduced paper consumption. ICTs          will it into existence!                                    that best expresses what we should expect from
have transformed the way we get around, the way                                                                           technology. The name of the game, if we may say so, is
we organise our daily lives, and the ways we commu-            Technology places huge demands on us...and more            no longer to escape from reality, nor to find fun ways
nicate... and yet our everyday experience of mobility          from some than others. We spend valuable time and          to tackle serious subjects, but "to make reality itself
has hardly changed at all. Nearly every teacher and            energy learning how to use it, manage it, stay secure,     more playful." Now there’s a handsome promise.
the vast majority of parents use the Internet for              and solve the countless daily problems it produces.
educational purposes, and yet virtually nothing in             Becoming autonomous, active and productive users
the educational system reflects this. Online, we are           has proven more demanding still. Time, resources
all becoming authors, innovators and producers; we             and skills are unevenly distributed: often the poorest     Daniel Kaplan
know how to produce collective intelligence on an              (locally and globally) pay more for their digital prac-    and Jacques-François Marchandise
unprecedented scale, and yet we have proven inca-              tices in both time and money. Do digital technologies
pable of responding to the greatest collective chal-           evenly distribute power to "everyone" or do they pri-
lenges, and worry more and more about our future.              marily pave the way for new elites to replace the old
                                                               ones?
In other words, many promises are simultaneously
kept (i.e., practices that were predicted have materia-        A multitude participating in information and object
lized, often more rapidly than expected) and broken            production, innovation and value creation, and
(we are no closer to solving the hassles of everyday           d
                                                               ­ ebate across a range of issues–from the side effects
life, social injustice, economic aberrations, and              of a given drug to U.S. diplomatic secrets–is indeed
environ­ ental impasses than we were yesterday).
         m                                                     one of the major changes that ICTs have produced.
Everything has changed, and nothing has changed!               But the content created through this participation
                                                               is usually generated using (often privately-held)



                                                           6                                                                                                                           7
ODAY TOM                                              DAY TOM                                     DAY TOM                                             DAY TOM
              Y T                                                   TO                                          TO                                                  TO
                                                                  Y                                           Y                                                   Y 



       YESTERDA




                                                           YESTERDA




                                                                                                       YESTERDA




                                                                                                                                                           YESTERDA
                                                                              OR




                                                                                                                          OR




                                                                                                                                                                              OR
                        OR




                                                                               ROW AFT




                                                                                                                           ROW AFT




                                                                                                                                                                               ROW AFT
                        ROW  A F T
          W




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                                                                                                                                                              W
              ER                                                  ER                                          ER                                                  ER
                -TO ORRO                                            -TO
                                                                        MO R R
                                                                               O                                -TO
                                                                                                                    MO R R
                                                                                                                           O                                        -TO
                                                                                                                                                                        MO R R
                                                                                                                                                                               O
                   M



      a promise                                      its assessment                             what is tomorrow’s                                 potential action
                                                                                                     promise?



                                             Our experience of digital technologies                                                            The Choice Project: reclaiming
                                             has improved, but they continue to place                                                        control
                                             huge demands on us, and impose                                                                    Technology as the new Latin
                                                                                                                                             of the 21st century
                                             their logic upon us.
                                                                                                                                             The New Laws of Robotics




                                             We have managed to speed up our daily life                                                       Give time real value
                                             and may even enjoy this, but we have yet
                                                                                                                                              Episodic "time capital"
                                             to really master our time.
                                                                                                                                               Temporal culture, official time
                                                                                                                                             policies




                                                                                                                                              A less nebulous "cloud"
                                             Convenience and encumbrance.                                                                      Hybridization as a substitute for…
                                             Freedom and dependance. Mobility and                                                            substitution
                                             dehumanisation. A questionable
                                                                                                                                               The other kind of dematerialisation:
                                             environmental impact. Dematerialisation
                                                                                                                                             sharing
                                             is a fact, not yet a value.
                                                                                                                                               Materialising individual
                                                                                                                                             empowerment




                                         	   Time for assessment                          	   What is tomorrow’s promise?                	   What action can we take?
                                             .……………………………………………………………………………                   .……………………………………………………………………………                 .……………………………………………………………………………


                                             .……………………………………………………………………………                   .……………………………………………………………………………                 .……………………………………………………………………………

       A promise                                                                              .……………………………………………………………………………                 .……………………………………………………………………………
To be addressed...by you!                    .……………………………………………………………………………
                                                                                              .……………………………………………………………………………                 .……………………………………………………………………………
                                             .……………………………………………………………………………
                                     8                                                                                               9
What worked                What didn’t work
                                                          DAY TOM                                                                                      The sheer number of people              Personal robots (not yet), wearable computing…
                                                       TO
                                                     Y                                                                                      who have adopted digital technologies.              Technology still requires a lot of our attention,  




                                              YESTERDA




                                                                       OR
                                                                                                                                    Technology connecting people, and facilitating            our time, our money. We need to learn and relearn
                        yesterday,                                                a promise




                                                                        ROW AFT
                                                                                                                                  communication and collaboration. It is a vehicle            every time it evolves; obsolescence is rapid. We tend  
                                                                                                                                                 for self-expression and creativity.          to accept from digital machines what we’d never
                                                                                                                                Digital technology has provided us with thousands             accept from humans, and tend to blame ourselves




                                                 W
                                                         ER
                                                                                                                                                                                              when they fail.
                                                           -TO        O
                                                               MO R R                                                         of useful tools and services. It works as an extension
                                                                                                                            of our bodies and minds. It has allowed us to delegate              Some of the worst aspects of technology-centered
                                                                                                                                      many tasks to machines and to "externalize"             development still remain prevalent: programmed
                                                                                                                                                          a portion of our memory.            obsolescence, excessive energy use, feature creep…
                                                                                                                                Interfaces have become better and more "natural",               Labor conditions are still problematic in many  
                                                                                                                                       using voice, touch, gestures… Although there           plants that produce electronic devices.
                                                                                                                                 are still many exceptions, overall, we have become             We’re more depressed now than before we had all
                                                                                                                                     better at creating user-friendly and accessible          this technology–but technology might not be  
                                                                                                                                                                        applications.         the cause…


                                                                                                                                                             What surprised us                What we learned
                                                                      Man feels that he has lost touch with reality.                The slow evolution of technological paradigms:              Technology changes us as we change it. We co-evolve.
                                                                   The development of polysensuality, soft touch,                           the Windows/mouse interface is more               It forces us to discuss what is human or non-human,
                                                                   odor encapsulation, or more generally the use                                                 than 30 years old.           and reminds us that the answers might change
   The best computer is a quiet, invisible servant                 of materials that appeal to all the senses,                  Digital technology is still prone to failure for which        over time (In some cultures, "inert" things are not
                                                                                                                                                                                              ontologically different from living things).
             (...). The most profound technologies                 are all a response to this loss of contact."                       technological firms assume no responsibility.
are those that disappear. They weave themselves                                                                                    Self-publicity, and the extent of the privacy loss           Interfaces are not just about usability, they change
                                                                   Monique Large, Dezineo, 2004                                                                                               the nature of what we do with/through technology.
              into the fabric of everyday life until                                                                                                         related to digital uses.
                                                                                                                                                                                              The right balance between features, simplicity,  
               they are indistinguishable from it."                                                                                           Less time to think: digital technology 
                                                                                                                                                                                              and openness to tinkering and unforeseen usage,  
                                                                                                                                                                 is all about action!
                                     Marc Weiser, 1991                                                                                                                                        is and will remain hard to find.
                                                                                                                                         "Emotional technologies", friendly robots,
                                                                      If technology is cold today, the challenge                                                                                Technology will continue to evolve faster than social
                                                                                                                                                             Tamagotchi, Furby…
                                                                                                                                                                                              customs and organizations, thus excluding some parts
                                                                   of the coming years will be to warm it up with
                                                                                                                                     "Emerging" phenomena on wholly automated                 of the population.
                                                                   the kind of human warmth that gives meaning                        markets: e.g., the 2010 NASDAQ "Flash Crash".
                                                                                                                                                                                                We also use machines to take less personal care of
                                                                   to life. Only on this condition can it become                                  Captcha: "Prove you’re a human!"            others, such as our elderly parents.
                                                                   an extension of life’s domain."
                                                                                                                                                                                                Technology can only become human if those  
                                                                   Didier Fass, Futur 2.0, 2007                                                                                               who design, produce and put it to use have humane
                                                                                                                                                                                              purposes and behaviors.




                                                          DAY TOM                                                                                                                     DAY TOM
                                                       TO                                                                                                                          TO
                                                     Y                                                                                                                           Y 




                                                                                                                                                                          YESTERDA
                                              YESTERDA




                                                                                                                                                                                                  OR
                                                                       OR




                                   time                                           for assessment...                                               tomorrow                                                   what will change




                                                                                                                                                                                                   ROW AFT
                                                                       ROW AFT




                                                                                                                                                                             W
                                                 W




                                                                                                                                                                                 ER
Digital technology is human enough to                                           t
                                                                                ­ hinking"... They have ­contributed to
                                                     ER                                                                                                                                       O
                                                       -TO        O                                                                                                                -TO
                                                           MO R R                                                                                                                      MO R R
have been massively adopted by people,                                        c
                                                                              ­ reating a less humane society: automated
often well beyond market expectations and                                  systems are replacing workers, dehumanizing
                                                                                                                               What will change                                                Society
ahead of organizational readiness. It has provided                  relationships within organizations as well as between
a significant contribution to human aspirations and                organizations and their customers, threatening pri-      Technology                                                        Aging population in the North  "Digital natives"
endeavors, especially in the area of communication,                vacy, and allowing autonomous behaviors to eme­ ge r                                                                         Growth of values-oriented lifestyles and consump-
                                                                                                                              Ambient I.T., "smart" objects and spaces  Big data, au-
expression and cooperation.                                        over which no one has full control, as can be seen on                                                                      tion  Mixed digital-virtual relationships, with effects
                                                                                                                            tomatic knowledge discovery, nowcasting, ­ lgorithmic
                                                                                                                                                                        a
In many areas, our experience of digital techno­ ogies
                                                   l               financial markets.                                                                                                         on work, socializing, etc.
                                                                                                                            decision-making  Personal robots to reach maturity
has improved. However, they continue to place huge                 In the past few decades, we have learned a lot about       "Nano-Bio-Info-Cogno" convergence                                  … And what won’t
demands on us. We need to learn how to use new                     how we co-evolve with our technology. This knowledge     Tangible interfaces using all five senses  Progress in            The language barrier, despite attempts at improving
devices and software. Programmed obsolescence uses                 is increasingly important, given that technology         speech recognition and language comprehension                     automatic translation technology  Our perception
time, attention and money. When things break down or               makes it possible to deliberately alter our minds,         "Affective computing": the ability to understand and            (and shortage) of time  Technology mostly designed
fail, we’re usually left on our own. Digital techno­ ogies
                                                   l               b
                                                                   ­ odies, and key elements of our society and economy.
                                                                                                                            communicate emotions  Bio-inspiration…                            for the few, before (more or less) slowly trickling down
fuel constant acceleration, and cause information                  This knowledge needs to be shared, and used to inform
                                                                                                                                                                                              to the masses
overload, attention deficit, standardized "Powerpoint              the design of future technologies.                       Economy
                                                                                                                            Impoverished middle classes and smaller, ­      poorer
                                                                                                                            g
                                                                                                                            ­ overnments (in the North)  "Smart" environments
                                                                                                                            and systems: homes, cities, grids…  Increasing
                                                                                                                            d
                                                                                                                            ­ ependency on technology  "Do-It-Yourself" elec-
                                                                                                                            tronics, manufactured objects, biotech…  Pressure
                                                                                                                            t
                                                                                                                            ­ owards energy efficiency, slower obsolescence
                                                              10                                                                                                                         11
TO
                                                      DAY TOM                                                                              How does this differ
                                                 Y 
                                                                                                                                        from the original promise?




                                                             OR
                                          YESTERDA
                          what is                                       tomorrow's promise?




                                                             ROW AFTE
                                                                                                        The original promise focused on the simplicity and the "naturalness" of digital technology. This one
                                                                                                        recognizes that technology is a medium that can be used to change ourselves and our environment, and
                                                                                                        that humans have always created non-natural artifacts. Technology is human, the issue being whether




                                             W
                                                     R-
                                                       TOM RO
                                                          OR                                            those who create it and apply it do so in a humane way. Therefore:



                                                                                                                  The promise recognizes the creative tension              It considers technology as a cultural production  
                                                                                                          that exists between empowerment (which assumes                 that is (or should be) shaped by a society’s values,
                                                                                                         a certain level of understanding of, and control over,          while contributing to the evolution of these values.
                                                                                                         technology) and simplicity (which makes technology              Cultures are diverse, and technology should value  
                                                                                                              and its application more usable and accessible).           this diversity and allow it to express itself  
                                                                                                             It acknowledges the fact that technology embeds             in all possible ways.
                                                                                                                power, and that its goal should be to distribute           Digital technology will interact more and more
                                                                                                                  that power and allow citizens and consumers            profoundly with all our senses; it will be embedded
                                                                                                         to have their say about how it is applied, rather than          in objects and spaces. This development will open
Digital technology will:                                                                                            to make (corporate as well as institutional)         up new possibilities and diversify the way in which
 Empower humans, not alienate and estrange them;                                                                                           power more opaque.            different people will use it toward their own ends.
  Help humans reach new personal and collective frontiers, while showing them respect and empathy,                It embraces openness and open-endedness:               However, the result should not be that technology
and helping them be resilient when things fail;                                                              Technology is a product of human creativity and             becomes "invisible", more magical and mysterious to
                                                                                                        should welcome further creativity. It should be visible,         people – instead, technology should make it easier
 Strive for simplicity and accessibility, while embracing the diversity of users and allowing those  
                                                                                                                      understandable, and open to discussion             for everyone to decode their own world and organize
who wish to understand how it works and tinker with it;
                                                                                                                                                 and tinkering.          their own relationship with their environment.
 Provide more human interaction and cooperation, rather than less;
 Enlarge the space of future possibilities, rather than predetermine outcomes.




                                  How might this work?                                                                                                       Y 
                                                                                                                                                               TO
                                                                                                                                                                  DAY TOM

                                                                                                                     making good                                                        direct action




                                                                                                                                                      YESTERDA




                                                                                                                                                                             OR
                                                                                                                    on the promise




                                                                                                                                                                              ROW AFT
       The important thing is not that machines       We are all chimeras, theorized,
      sympathise with us, or become our friends,   and fabricated hybrids of machine and




                                                                                                                                                         W
            but that we sympathise with them."     organism; in short, we are cyborgs. This cyborg
                                                                                                                                                             ER
                                                                                                                                                               -TO        O
                                                                                                                                                                   MO R R
                               Ben Bashford, 2012  is our ontology; it gives us our politics. (...)
                                                   A cyborg world might be about lived social             Decisions to make                                                Grand challenges
         When human beings acquired language, and bodily realities in which people are not               	 Reorient a significant portion of European R&D                The Choice Project: through technology, industry
       we learned not just how to listen but how afraid of their joint kinship with animals             programs towards open-ended technologies/devices/                consensus and regulation, provide users with real,
   to speak. When we gained literacy, we learned and machines, not afraid of permanently partial        applications with multilevel interfaces, from 100%               informed, permanent choice, especially pertaining to
           not just how to read but how to write. identities and contradictory standpoints. (...)       "back-end" (users as consumers) to 100% "hackable"               their rights. Opt-in should be the default. Users should
                                                                                                        (users as producers).                                            never be in a position to permanently relinquish any of
     And as we move into an increasingly digital Cyborg unities are monstrous and illegitimate;                                                                          their rights. They should have the right to easily access,
                                                                                                          	 Invest part of R&D budgets in anthropology,
        reality, we must learn not just how to use in our present political circumstances,                                                                               reuse and transmit all their personal data. Organiza-
                                                                                                        e
                                                                                                        ­ thnography, sociology...
                programs but how to make them." we could hardly hope for more potent myths                                                                               tions should be held liable for unacceptable or opaque
                                                   for resistance and recoupling."                                                                                       ‘Terms of Service’ or privacy policies, even if users have
                                Douglas Rushkoff,                                                         Hurdles to overcome                                            "accepted them".
                 Program or be programmed, 2010 Donna Haraway, 1985
                                                                                                        	 Real, 2-way interfaces using the 5 senses                      "Technology as the new Latin": educate all
                                                                                                         	 Automatic, real-time, natural speech recognition              children (and if possible, adults) about digital techno-
         This existential, philosophical dimension,                                                     and translation                                                  logy: how it works, what it does, where it comes from,
     hints at the transformation of humans into                                                                                                                          how to use it, how to program it, what its potential
                                                                                                                                                                         risks and benefits are...
    digital objects, and also objects of the digital:
                                                                                                                                                                         "The New Laws of Robotics": create and discuss
      cultural digital beings that are convertible,
                                                                                                                                                                         the simple set of "laws" (after Isaac Asimov’s "Laws of
  extendible and capable of moving in ways that                                                                                                                          Robotics") that new and future "converging" techno­
           have never been seen before, thanks to                                                                                                                        logies should obey.
    the convergence of technology and the body."
                              Milhad Doueihi, 
            Pour un humanisme numérique, 2012




                                                        12                                                                                                          13
What worked                What didn’t work
                                                          DAY TOM
                                                       TO
                                                     Y                                                                                        The availability of relevant and effective              The dictatorship of urgency, the impossibility  




                                              YESTERDA




                                                                        OR
                                                                                                                                     information and services to help us make choices               of prioritising, shortened forecast and decision
                            yesterday,                                             a promise




                                                                         ROW AFT
                                                                                                                                                                      and act remotely…             horizons.
                                                                                                                                                 The widespread use of mobile phones,                 Hyperconnectivity, incessant importunity  
                                                                                                                                      especially to constantly synchronise, and now to              and cognitive overload.




                                                 W
                                                         ER
                                                                                                                                              access the Internet and various services.
                                                           -TO        O
                                                               MO R R                                                                                                                                 The collective organization of time within political
                                                                                                                                            The synchronisation of productive activites             regions: actors and activities establishing schedules
                                                                                                                                              on a local and global level: "Just in Time",          without considering others’ schedules.
                                                                                                                                                                    precision logistics...            The technology itself remains complex, fragile,
                                                                                                                                                                          Digital agendas.          shifting, and time consuming.
                                                                                                                                                  The improvement, diversification, and
               After twenty centuries of mostly trying                 The pace of modern life is fast – and only                           interpenetration of the means for distance
            to [advance] the frontiers of space, now it             getting faster. In previous eras, we had fewer                           communication: email, social networking,
                                                                                                                                                     microblogging, instant messaging,
    is the frontiers of time that we seek to overcome.              choices and more time in which to make them.                                                visiocommunications...
          The man of the twenty-first century will do               Today, we need all the assistance we can get
                                                                                                                                           The densification of time: with the capacity 
        whatever he wants from wherever he chooses                  to make our choices easier and faster, and                        to double up on our activites, and do everything 
                 and at whatever time suits him best.               digital technology helps with that. (...) Our new                           from wherever we may be, we are able 
     The conquest of life will no longer be a question              technologies also save time by letting us get so                               to accomplish more in a single day.
      of reducing distances by accelerating time, but               much more done without leaving the house."
                      of erasing distances altogether."             Simone Zhang, Euro RSCG Shanghai
         Christian Loviton, La vie à distance, Belfond,                                                                                                           What surprised us                 What we learned
                                                   1989
                                                                       Chrometa gives you a gift like nothing                                        New forms of time management,                    The total amount of time shared by a human
                                                                    else can. It gives you the gift of time! It is fully          especially in some "local exchange trading systems"               community is abundant, but it is unevenly
                                                                    automatic, and you do not have to work                                         where time is the unit of exchange.              distributed and uncoordinated. This uneven
                                                                                                                                         The "slow" movement: initially individual, now             distribution  
                                                                    at keeping records of how you account
                                                                                                                                       adopted on a grand, city-sized, scale (Cittaslow).           is inversely reflected in social inequalities:  
                                                                    for your time for work." Advertisement                                                                                          the ‘excluded’ earn less income, have fewer contacts,
                                                                                                                                       The rapid development of hybrid, shared, "third"
                                                                                                                                                                                                    enjoy less mobility...and often have an excess  
                                                                                                                                                spaces: "coworking" spaces, telecentres, 
                                                                                                                                                                                                    of free time.
                                                                       The experience of modernity and                            cafés that fulfill different functions, grocery-delivery
                                                                                                                                                                                                      16% of France’s employees work at least occasionally
                                                                    modernization has always been the experience                                          centers, public service centres...
                                                                                                                                                                                                    at night, half work on Saturdays, one quarter  
                                                                    of an incessant acceleration."                                                                                                  on Sundays: a sharp increase since 1990 (INSEE).
      Publicité de 1980 [source                                     Rosa, Hartmut and William Scheuerman, eds.                                                                                        Digital technologies are involved  
http://www.flickr.com/photos/                                       High-Speed Society: Social Acceleration,                                                                                        in the general acceleration and confusion of time,  
jbcurio/3367196078/sizes/o/in/
                                                                    Power and Modernity, 2009                                                                                                       the individualisation of rhythms, as well as  
                 photostream/
                                                                                                                                                                                                    the resynchronization and organization of time.  
                                                                                                                                                                                                    They help fill up whatever time remains unoccupied.
                                                          DAY TOM
                                                       TO
                                                     Y 
                                              YESTERDA




                                                                        OR




                                                                                                                                                                                           DAY TOM
                                    time                                           for assessment...                                                                                    TO
                                                                         ROW AFT




                                                                                                                                                                                      Y 




                                                                                                                                                                               YESTERDA




                                                                                                                                                                                                        OR
   Digital technology was supposed to have                                     between peak and off-peak, day and night,
                                                                                                                                                      tomorrow                                                     what will change




                                                                                                                                                                                                         ROW AFT
                                                 W




                                                     ER
   made us more productive and flexible, and           -TO
                                                           MO R R
                                                                  O            weekday and weekend are blurry… Besides,
   generally save us time. We are certainly ac-                              technology itself requires dedicating copious
   complishing more at a faster rate, yet we always                       amounts of time to selecting, installing, lear-




                                                                                                                                                                                  W
                                                                                                                                                                                      ER
                                                                                                                                                                                        -TO        O
   seem to feel pressed for time… Because as we speed up,           ning, protecting, repairing, updating, and networking                                                                   MO R R
   so does everything around us. Decision-making, inno­             devices and software.
   vation, and product life cycles are all getting shorter          Our (sometimes weak-willed) desire to slow things
   and shorter. Public and corporate strategies are more            down shows us that our relationship to time is no                                                      Technology               Economy  Society
   and more focussed on the short term.. The level of our           b
                                                                    ­ etter today than it was in the past. For some –                       Ambient computer technology, the "cloud":                 Less anchoring in the spatial and temporal:  
   impatience with any form of waiting is only equalled             e
                                                                    ­ specially the most integrated – time is lacking, while                                      never unplugged.                  dematerialisation, teleconferencing, mobile working
   by the impatience others feel toward us.                         others have too much time on their hands, with no                                                                               and telecentres, "flexible" spaces...
   Digital technology was supposed to enable us to orga-            i
                                                                    ­ nkling as to how it might be spent. Some experience                                   "Contemplative computing": 
   nise our time more fluidly and improve how we use                the "taylorization" of service activities: call centre cus-              technologies, tools, and methods designed                An increase in economic spatial constraints:  
   it. And yet we often feel as though our time isn’t even          tomer service, the timed-to-the-minute rounds made                          to help us manage the pace of our lives.            energy economies, "relocalisation".
   our own:  we can no more control the constant flux of            by salespeople, technicians and carers… Time is as                 "Human augmentation": (digital and biological)                 Longer lifespans and – after a long period  
   attention-grabbing messages and requests than we                 poorly distributed, and as unequally fluid, as capital.                         technologies that help us think                 of reduction – longer working hours over a year  
   can the distinction between working hours and off                We have definitely managed to accelerate the pace of                                                                            and over a lifetime.
                                                                                                                                                                  and react more quickly.
   hours, or the constant fluctuations in our daily sche-           daily life, and even enjoy the tempo some of the time,
   dules. Lifestyle individualisation and economic trans-                                                                                                                                             Employment flexibility: variable work schedules  
                                                                    but we haven’t yet managed to get time under our
   formations have pulled us out of synch; distinctions                                                                                                                                             and status, less secure jobs, non-linear careers,  
                                                                    control.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    "lifelong learning"...
                                                               14                                                                                                                              15
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"
Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"

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Digital Disruptions 2013 / 2014 : "Digital promises"

  • 1. P romises DAY TOM TO Y OR YESTERDA ROW AFT W ER -TO O MO R R 2013/2014
  • 2. Digital disruptions : making time for collective foresight  A yearly creative foresight cycle At the intersection of technological innovation, economic change and social transformation, what "Digital Disruptions" will exert their influence in the coming years? Which emerging phenomena, transformative opportunities, and challenges can we no longer afford to ignore? In order to anticipate rather than react, we all ask ourselves these questions in our own way, as they pertain to our activities. Usually, we do so independently, closed off from external ideas and interactions. Yet the most profound questions, the most fecund visions, will almost certainly emerge from the most unexpected places and people. Thinking about the future should be a collective exercise. “Digital Disruptions” offers its participants a chance to be part of an ongoing, collective cycle of foresight that unites innovators and policymakers, researchers and designers, entrepreneurs and activists together in a unique future-oriented community. Its goal: to collectively explore the "Digital Disruptions" that will become central during the coming years - and begin to conceive of ways to anticipate them and respond to their challenges.  A publication, a tool, and a process Since its inception in 2010, the "Digital Disruptions” program has evolved into:  A yearly reference publication, the Digital Disruptions Actionbook, presented during several major events featuring high-level international   speakers.  A continuous co-production process, online and face to face, joining together nearly 300 decision-makers, idea-generators and influencers from   an exceptional variety of backgrounds, sectors, and places of origin.  A tool to incorporate foresight into your own strategic thinking processes: Digital Disruptions partners benefit from strategic   seminars and special workshops (internal, or open to clients and partners), presentations to management or in other spheres…  Digital Disruptions on the Web www.fing.org/digitaldisruptions Digital Disruptions was initiated by Fing (Paris) and is now a joint initiative with Waag Society (Amsterdam), Picnic (Amsterdam) and FutureEverything (Manchester)
  • 3. Credits  Coordination Daniel Kaplan  Véronique Routin  Jacques-François Marchandise    Margaux Pasquet  Renaud Francou.  Participative methods Nod-A  facilitators and editors Marine Albarede  Amandine Brugière  Loup Cellard   Jean-Michel Cornu  Fabien Eychenne  Renaud Francou   Fabienne Guibé  Hubert Guillaud  Daniel Kaplan  Frank Kresin  Aurialie Jublin  Carole Leclerc  Lucie Le Moine  Amadou Lo   Jacques-François Marchandise  Thierry Marcou  Juliette Maroni   Françoise Massit-Folléa  Charles Népote  Philippe Nikolov   Pierre Orsatelli  Denis Pansu  Margaux Pasquet  Valérie Peugeot   Véronique Routin  Rémi Sussan  Thomas Thibault   and the students of Ecole Boulle.  FR/EN translation Jianne Whelton  Workshops hosted by The Waag Society (Amsterdam) - Picnic (Amsterdam) - Ecole Boulle (Paris) - Belle de Mai Media Park (Marseille) - Cap Digital (Paris)  Graphic design Isabelle Jovanovic  Photos All rights reserved Fondation Internet Nouvelle Génération www.fing.org - www.internetactu.net  8, passage Brulon  75012 Paris  (+) 33 1 83 62 98 28  infos@fing.org  CMCI  2, rue Henri Barbusse  13001 Marseille  (+) 33 4 91 52 88 08
  • 4. Promises that "stick" express widely shared hopes,  Great ambitions, and modest ones Ever since being named the technological pillar supporting the "Third Industrial Revolution", dreams, beliefs and intuitions. They fuel creativity, the digital world has not been short of promises. At one time or another, ICT gurus, industry entrepreneurial energy, and human desire, as much As we embarked on our search for the ways the leaders and public institutions have heralded the end of work; the impossibility of economic crises; as they are fuelled by them. They inspire concrete d ­ igital promises have been expressed, especially the dawn of social harmony and world peace through the miracle of sharing and mutual technical, economic or political choices. Through by institutions and political figures, a dichotomy understanding between people; a reinvigorated democracy; access to development for even them, we tell the story of a future we hope to build. between American and European ambitions was We have to take these promises seriously, even if they immediately apparent. the poorest of the poor; the advent of a global consciousness to face environmental challenges... are not kept. Before any eye rolling at such naiveté, let us ask ourselves where such promises arise, who they are For the European Commission, as for most of its destined for, who listens to them, and what they bring about–and admit that in doing so, we are member governments, the role of ICT is: holding up a mirror to ourselves.  Using promises to invent the future "to address the challenges facing society like With this in mind, from May to October 2012, Fing climate change and the ageing population."  Promises made, and received exciting challenges that they then strive to meet. mobilized over 300 individuals to identify the most (Digital Agenda, 2010), and to turn the European Because their ambitions usually go beyond simply significant "digital promises" of recent years, assess Union into "the most competitive and dynamic Technology foresight often describes the future as achieving some kind of technical feat, what might their progress and project them into the future. knowledge-based economy in the world, capable the product of mechanical advances in technology have begun as an individual challenge often gets of sustainable economic growth with more and applied to external challenges (ecological, economic, picked up by industry and institutions, who translate After laying the groundwork in the spring, we better jobs and greater social cohesion". (Lisbon demographic, etc.). Tending as it does toward per- them into promises. consolidated material from workshops and online Strategy, 2000). formance, optimisation and automation, this way exchanges and converged around 21 "promises." of thinking struggles to account for the diverse, un­ Wearing our caver’s lamps, we went in search of their From this standpoint, digital technologies are predictable and generally disruptive ways that users  The traces of our our dreams and desires expressions in the world, from the most conven­ ional t e ­ xpressed as a given context to which we must adopt these technologies. to the most heterodox. By late August, the raw mate- adapt, and which can (among other things) help us If these promises merely served to illustrate the dis- rial for the "Digital Disruptions" workshops had been to solve our current and future problems–especially Conversely, in using the "promises" that digital tech- course of technology suppliers, they would hardly published online#. in terms of efficiency and productivity. nology has made to society as our starting point, we deserve our attention. But the Internet is distribu- are bound to focus on disruptions, on the transfor- ted and decentralised, digital transformations have In September and October 2012, workshops held in Things are quite different on the other side of the Atlan- mative role of technology. Almost by definition, a affected nearly every domain of human activity, Amsterdam (in conjunction with the Waag Society tic. By the early 1990s, the "information super­ ighway" h promise envisions profound and positive changes in and the boundaries that once separated supply and and PICNIC), Marseille (with Lift) and Paris took a promoted by Al Gore met with the fiery proclamations the systems to which it is applied. It helps to flush out demand are becoming increasingly blurred. It is closer look at those promises that participants consi- of a "vastly increased human freedom" made by the human desire and spirit, past and future. It is formu­ getting harder and harder to figure out who is pro- dered most meaningful. In small groups, they res- co-authors of the Magna Carta for the Knowledge Age lated and made by an entity, targets an audience, and mising what to whom, when no single actor has all ponded to four successive questions: (1994). The authors of Wikinomics (2006) heralded "a intends to mobilise both the givers and the receivers. the resources needed to keep a single one of these new era, perhaps even a ­ olden one, on par with the g Those are its strengths. promises.  How would we assess the status of the promise? Italian renaissance, or the rise of ­ thenian demo- A What worked or didn’t work, what surprised us, what cracy." In their report entitled ­ onverging Technologies C Local and national governments–stakeholders with When the barriers separating top from bottom are have we learned? for Improving Human ­ erformance (2003), Roco and P a vested interest in the success of the Internet or lifted, there is greater porosity between talkers and B ­ ainbridge drew on sources close to science fiction and mobile telephony–praise ICTs as levers for (preferably doers. The promises made by intellectual prophets  What about tomorrow’s world might change the transhumanism to define the technological strategy "sustainable") growth, competitiveness, democratic are not always so very distant from the pledges context of the promise’s formulation, reformulation, for the National Science Foundation. Later still (2011), and administrative modernisation and universal made and fulfilled by reclusive software developers. or fulfilment? Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defends Internet free- i ­ nclusion in a "knowledge society" that we assume to Exploring this terrain means being able to cross dom in the name of be better than today’s society. From the "­ eclaration D vast expanses of the overblown and naïve; it means  Considering everything we have learned, if we were of the Independence of Cyberspace" (1996) to pirate s ­ ailing entire oceans of storytelling and vapourware to make a promise for tomorrow’s world, how would "the protester using social media to organize a parties, activists have also assigned ideolo­ ical g (not always an unpleasant task) and ultimately we rephrase it in a forward-thinking, credible and march in Egypt; the college student emailing her charac­ eristics to technology, be they libertarian, t d ­ etecting desirable horizons, far-off aspirations and ambitious way? family photos of her semester abroad; the lawyer neoliberal, collective or authoritarian. a will to act. in Vietnam blogging to expose corruption; the  Finally, again using experience as a guide, what steps teenager in the United States who is bullied and Similarly, large technology firms have construc- Thus this "promising" is becoming a more and more would be needed to keep this new promise? finds words of support online; for the small busi- ted "grand narratives", which are often reinforced collective act.. It carries with it the pledges we make ness owner in Kenya using mobile banking to and conveyed throughout an ecosystem of inno- to ourselves. First and foremost, this ‘ourselves’ stands The material generated during these workshops was manage her profits; the philosopher in China rea- vative entrepreneurs: "Think different" (Apple), ­ A " for ‘we the people’: the direct and indirect users, assembled, arranged and cultivated by the team at ding academic journals for her dissertation; the S ­ marter Planet" (IBM), "Your potential. Our passion." beneficiaries, and receivers of the promises. Secon- Fing. You hold the results of this work in your hands: scientist in Brazil sharing data in real time with (­ icrosoft)… These slogans do more than target see- M dly, it represents those who try to imbue technology use it as a source of inspiration, and to support your colleagues overseas; and the billions and billions mingly gullible consumers: they bolster employee with some kind of intention – whether innovative, work, your future aspirations, and your efforts. Think of interactions with the internet every single day morale and send a clear message to markets and encyclo­ aedic, activist, military, service-oriented, p of it as a tool, rather than an intangible reference. as people communicate with loved ones, follow investors. They also entail a certain degree of risk. environmental, creative or any other – so long as they the news, do their jobs, and participate in the benefit others. A careful reading of this collective work in its entirety debates shaping their world." Research labs, clusters, and communities of deve- does reveal a few overriding impressions, however. lopers, hackers and other makers come up with What European politician could make such a speech? 4 5
  • 5. At first reading, one might conclude that the It would be too easy to chalk this up to inertia, or to platforms for whom it acts as both raw material and A ­ mericans are talking politics while the Europeans the resistance of the establishment. They are factors, bounty. Relying as it does on their users’ voluntary (or are talking economics. But the challenge that the of course. But let us look to a few markets that digital a least passive) contributions, their business model Americans set for themselves is clearly economic: technologies have already transformed profoundly is based on capturing the most comprehensive and the only real difference lies in the degree of their and forever, such as those of cultural goods and the sustainable levels of individual work, information ambition. For them, the function of technology is to media. The stakeholders and economic models have and attention. Instead of being applied to collective profoundly transform whatever it touches, to alter indeed changed, and new stakeholders have emer- issues, this massive energy is absorbed into a kind its terms of reference. It points toward new fron- ged. But has a new golden age of creativity arisen? of private black hole, only to emerge in the form of tiers that innovative organisations go off to conquer. Are culture and knowledge more widely distributed? financial value – because "if you’re not paying for it, W ­ ithout necessarily adhering to the overblown ora- Is the media more incisive, more independent from you’re the product". tory, at the heart of this ambition lies one of the rea- economic and political power? We think not. sons for the continued dominance of the Internet by It is no small wonder, then, that most of our pro- American giants, and their formidable capacity for So what is missing? A vision that far exceeds the mises devote increasing attention to choice, skills scientific and entrepreneurial initiative and renewal. scope of technology, and will no doubt partly orient development, the individual mastery of technologies its development and deployment. and content, and ultimately, to the balance between contribution and some kind of "return" (symbolic or  The more things change, the more they Even when it has been massively adopted, techno- tangible) for community contributors. stay the same? logy alone cannot solve problems whose origins can be traced to the political and economic organization *** Some of the promises made by digital techno­ of our societies, or back through history. If we want logies have clearly not been kept. ICTs help to upset systemic change, we have to describe it clearly, and The first cyber utopias were based on the idea that dicta­ orships, but have yet to solve the crisis facing t display an iron, common will to apply it that is unwa- the physical, social and economic constraints of democracy. They have not made growth more stable vering yet accepting of confrontation. the "real world" would disappear into an infinitely or more environmentally sustainable–in fact, they reconfigurable and plastic space without gravity or actually enabled the disruptions that triggered We typically assign the task of identifying and imple- friction, without scarcity or conflict of use. Inevitably, recent instability in the financial market. They have menting the collective will to political institutions. their encounter with reality proved disappointing. also not rescued LDCs from underdevelopment. Were But these days there is doubt as to their ability to And yet, the digital world remains the place where these promises out of reach? Were the technologies perform either role. Which is probably why most contemporary hopes are discussed and instantiated, misused? If not, what else is missing? of the groups working on the promises seemed to where creators and innovators dissatisfied with the converge around a similar idea: that the mission of current state of the world converge. Even more interesting–and more disturbing–is the technology itself should be to more widely distribute disjunction seen in several areas between, on the information, power and the capacity for action, to That’s why promises are so important, and why we one hand, the rapid and massive development of facilitate the emergence and growth of alternatives. must doubt them and cherish them at the same digital tools, services and practices; and on the other, time – and also why we chose to make of them both systemic effects that are weak or non-existent, if not raw material and finished product of our collective downright paradoxical. ICTs have released us from a  The risk of capture effort. myriad of temporal constraints, yet we feel ever more pressed for time. Although dematerialisation has However, such distribution of power will not be the Ultimately, it is probably the reformulation of the become a large part of our lives at home and at work, mechanical result of even the quasi-universal pres- p ­ romise related to gamification (original title: it has neither simplified our lives nor our managerial ence of digital devices and online access. We need to "Games that transform us and transform the world") practices, nor has it reduced paper consumption. ICTs will it into existence! that best expresses what we should expect from have transformed the way we get around, the way technology. The name of the game, if we may say so, is we organise our daily lives, and the ways we commu- Technology places huge demands on us...and more no longer to escape from reality, nor to find fun ways nicate... and yet our everyday experience of mobility from some than others. We spend valuable time and to tackle serious subjects, but "to make reality itself has hardly changed at all. Nearly every teacher and energy learning how to use it, manage it, stay secure, more playful." Now there’s a handsome promise. the vast majority of parents use the Internet for and solve the countless daily problems it produces. educational purposes, and yet virtually nothing in Becoming autonomous, active and productive users the educational system reflects this. Online, we are has proven more demanding still. Time, resources all becoming authors, innovators and producers; we and skills are unevenly distributed: often the poorest Daniel Kaplan know how to produce collective intelligence on an (locally and globally) pay more for their digital prac- and Jacques-François Marchandise unprecedented scale, and yet we have proven inca- tices in both time and money. Do digital technologies pable of responding to the greatest collective chal- evenly distribute power to "everyone" or do they pri- lenges, and worry more and more about our future. marily pave the way for new elites to replace the old ones? In other words, many promises are simultaneously kept (i.e., practices that were predicted have materia- A multitude participating in information and object lized, often more rapidly than expected) and broken production, innovation and value creation, and (we are no closer to solving the hassles of everyday d ­ ebate across a range of issues–from the side effects life, social injustice, economic aberrations, and of a given drug to U.S. diplomatic secrets–is indeed environ­ ental impasses than we were yesterday). m one of the major changes that ICTs have produced. Everything has changed, and nothing has changed! But the content created through this participation is usually generated using (often privately-held) 6 7
  • 6. ODAY TOM DAY TOM DAY TOM DAY TOM Y T TO TO TO Y  Y  Y  YESTERDA YESTERDA YESTERDA YESTERDA OR OR OR OR ROW AFT ROW AFT ROW AFT ROW  A F T W W W W ER ER ER ER -TO ORRO -TO MO R R O -TO MO R R O -TO MO R R O M a promise its assessment what is tomorrow’s potential action promise? Our experience of digital technologies  The Choice Project: reclaiming has improved, but they continue to place control huge demands on us, and impose  Technology as the new Latin of the 21st century their logic upon us. The New Laws of Robotics We have managed to speed up our daily life  Give time real value and may even enjoy this, but we have yet  Episodic "time capital" to really master our time.  Temporal culture, official time policies  A less nebulous "cloud" Convenience and encumbrance.  Hybridization as a substitute for… Freedom and dependance. Mobility and substitution dehumanisation. A questionable  The other kind of dematerialisation: environmental impact. Dematerialisation sharing is a fact, not yet a value.  Materialising individual empowerment Time for assessment What is tomorrow’s promise? What action can we take? .…………………………………………………………………………… .…………………………………………………………………………… .…………………………………………………………………………… .…………………………………………………………………………… .…………………………………………………………………………… .…………………………………………………………………………… A promise .…………………………………………………………………………… .…………………………………………………………………………… To be addressed...by you! .…………………………………………………………………………… .…………………………………………………………………………… .…………………………………………………………………………… .…………………………………………………………………………… 8 9
  • 7. What worked What didn’t work DAY TOM  The sheer number of people   Personal robots (not yet), wearable computing… TO Y  who have adopted digital technologies.  Technology still requires a lot of our attention,   YESTERDA OR  Technology connecting people, and facilitating our time, our money. We need to learn and relearn yesterday, a promise ROW AFT communication and collaboration. It is a vehicle  every time it evolves; obsolescence is rapid. We tend   for self-expression and creativity. to accept from digital machines what we’d never  Digital technology has provided us with thousands accept from humans, and tend to blame ourselves W ER when they fail. -TO O MO R R of useful tools and services. It works as an extension of our bodies and minds. It has allowed us to delegate  Some of the worst aspects of technology-centered many tasks to machines and to "externalize"  development still remain prevalent: programmed a portion of our memory. obsolescence, excessive energy use, feature creep…  Interfaces have become better and more "natural",  Labor conditions are still problematic in many   using voice, touch, gestures… Although there  plants that produce electronic devices. are still many exceptions, overall, we have become  We’re more depressed now than before we had all better at creating user-friendly and accessible this technology–but technology might not be   applications. the cause… What surprised us What we learned Man feels that he has lost touch with reality.  The slow evolution of technological paradigms:   Technology changes us as we change it. We co-evolve. The development of polysensuality, soft touch, the Windows/mouse interface is more  It forces us to discuss what is human or non-human, odor encapsulation, or more generally the use than 30 years old. and reminds us that the answers might change The best computer is a quiet, invisible servant of materials that appeal to all the senses,  Digital technology is still prone to failure for which over time (In some cultures, "inert" things are not ontologically different from living things). (...). The most profound technologies are all a response to this loss of contact." technological firms assume no responsibility. are those that disappear. They weave themselves  Self-publicity, and the extent of the privacy loss  Interfaces are not just about usability, they change Monique Large, Dezineo, 2004 the nature of what we do with/through technology. into the fabric of everyday life until related to digital uses. The right balance between features, simplicity,   they are indistinguishable from it."  Less time to think: digital technology  and openness to tinkering and unforeseen usage,   is all about action! Marc Weiser, 1991 is and will remain hard to find.  "Emotional technologies", friendly robots, If technology is cold today, the challenge  Technology will continue to evolve faster than social Tamagotchi, Furby… customs and organizations, thus excluding some parts of the coming years will be to warm it up with  "Emerging" phenomena on wholly automated of the population. the kind of human warmth that gives meaning markets: e.g., the 2010 NASDAQ "Flash Crash".  We also use machines to take less personal care of to life. Only on this condition can it become  Captcha: "Prove you’re a human!" others, such as our elderly parents. an extension of life’s domain."  Technology can only become human if those   Didier Fass, Futur 2.0, 2007 who design, produce and put it to use have humane purposes and behaviors. DAY TOM DAY TOM TO TO Y  Y  YESTERDA YESTERDA OR OR time for assessment... tomorrow what will change ROW AFT ROW AFT W W ER Digital technology is human enough to t ­ hinking"... They have ­contributed to ER O -TO O -TO MO R R MO R R have been massively adopted by people, c ­ reating a less humane society: automated often well beyond market expectations and systems are replacing workers, dehumanizing  What will change Society ahead of organizational readiness. It has provided relationships within organizations as well as between a significant contribution to human aspirations and organizations and their customers, threatening pri- Technology Aging population in the North  "Digital natives" endeavors, especially in the area of communication, vacy, and allowing autonomous behaviors to eme­ ge r  Growth of values-oriented lifestyles and consump-  Ambient I.T., "smart" objects and spaces  Big data, au- expression and cooperation. over which no one has full control, as can be seen on tion  Mixed digital-virtual relationships, with effects tomatic knowledge discovery, nowcasting, ­ lgorithmic a In many areas, our experience of digital techno­ ogies l financial markets. on work, socializing, etc. decision-making  Personal robots to reach maturity has improved. However, they continue to place huge In the past few decades, we have learned a lot about  "Nano-Bio-Info-Cogno" convergence  … And what won’t demands on us. We need to learn how to use new how we co-evolve with our technology. This knowledge Tangible interfaces using all five senses  Progress in The language barrier, despite attempts at improving devices and software. Programmed obsolescence uses is increasingly important, given that technology speech recognition and language comprehension automatic translation technology  Our perception time, attention and money. When things break down or makes it possible to deliberately alter our minds,  "Affective computing": the ability to understand and (and shortage) of time  Technology mostly designed fail, we’re usually left on our own. Digital techno­ ogies l b ­ odies, and key elements of our society and economy. communicate emotions  Bio-inspiration… for the few, before (more or less) slowly trickling down fuel constant acceleration, and cause information This knowledge needs to be shared, and used to inform to the masses overload, attention deficit, standardized "Powerpoint the design of future technologies. Economy Impoverished middle classes and smaller, ­ poorer g ­ overnments (in the North)  "Smart" environments and systems: homes, cities, grids…  Increasing d ­ ependency on technology  "Do-It-Yourself" elec- tronics, manufactured objects, biotech…  Pressure t ­ owards energy efficiency, slower obsolescence 10 11
  • 8. TO DAY TOM How does this differ Y  from the original promise? OR YESTERDA what is tomorrow's promise? ROW AFTE The original promise focused on the simplicity and the "naturalness" of digital technology. This one recognizes that technology is a medium that can be used to change ourselves and our environment, and that humans have always created non-natural artifacts. Technology is human, the issue being whether W R- TOM RO OR those who create it and apply it do so in a humane way. Therefore:  The promise recognizes the creative tension   It considers technology as a cultural production   that exists between empowerment (which assumes that is (or should be) shaped by a society’s values, a certain level of understanding of, and control over, while contributing to the evolution of these values. technology) and simplicity (which makes technology Cultures are diverse, and technology should value   and its application more usable and accessible). this diversity and allow it to express itself    It acknowledges the fact that technology embeds in all possible ways. power, and that its goal should be to distribute   Digital technology will interact more and more that power and allow citizens and consumers  profoundly with all our senses; it will be embedded to have their say about how it is applied, rather than in objects and spaces. This development will open Digital technology will: to make (corporate as well as institutional)  up new possibilities and diversify the way in which  Empower humans, not alienate and estrange them; power more opaque. different people will use it toward their own ends.  Help humans reach new personal and collective frontiers, while showing them respect and empathy,  It embraces openness and open-endedness:  However, the result should not be that technology and helping them be resilient when things fail; Technology is a product of human creativity and becomes "invisible", more magical and mysterious to should welcome further creativity. It should be visible, people – instead, technology should make it easier  Strive for simplicity and accessibility, while embracing the diversity of users and allowing those   understandable, and open to discussion  for everyone to decode their own world and organize who wish to understand how it works and tinker with it; and tinkering. their own relationship with their environment.  Provide more human interaction and cooperation, rather than less;  Enlarge the space of future possibilities, rather than predetermine outcomes. How might this work? Y  TO DAY TOM making good direct action YESTERDA OR on the promise ROW AFT The important thing is not that machines We are all chimeras, theorized, sympathise with us, or become our friends, and fabricated hybrids of machine and W but that we sympathise with them." organism; in short, we are cyborgs. This cyborg ER -TO O MO R R Ben Bashford, 2012  is our ontology; it gives us our politics. (...) A cyborg world might be about lived social  Decisions to make  Grand challenges When human beings acquired language, and bodily realities in which people are not Reorient a significant portion of European R&D The Choice Project: through technology, industry we learned not just how to listen but how afraid of their joint kinship with animals programs towards open-ended technologies/devices/ consensus and regulation, provide users with real, to speak. When we gained literacy, we learned and machines, not afraid of permanently partial applications with multilevel interfaces, from 100% informed, permanent choice, especially pertaining to not just how to read but how to write. identities and contradictory standpoints. (...) "back-end" (users as consumers) to 100% "hackable" their rights. Opt-in should be the default. Users should (users as producers). never be in a position to permanently relinquish any of And as we move into an increasingly digital Cyborg unities are monstrous and illegitimate; their rights. They should have the right to easily access, Invest part of R&D budgets in anthropology, reality, we must learn not just how to use in our present political circumstances, reuse and transmit all their personal data. Organiza- e ­ thnography, sociology... programs but how to make them." we could hardly hope for more potent myths tions should be held liable for unacceptable or opaque for resistance and recoupling." ‘Terms of Service’ or privacy policies, even if users have Douglas Rushkoff,   Hurdles to overcome "accepted them". Program or be programmed, 2010 Donna Haraway, 1985 Real, 2-way interfaces using the 5 senses "Technology as the new Latin": educate all Automatic, real-time, natural speech recognition children (and if possible, adults) about digital techno- This existential, philosophical dimension, and translation logy: how it works, what it does, where it comes from, hints at the transformation of humans into how to use it, how to program it, what its potential risks and benefits are... digital objects, and also objects of the digital: "The New Laws of Robotics": create and discuss cultural digital beings that are convertible, the simple set of "laws" (after Isaac Asimov’s "Laws of extendible and capable of moving in ways that Robotics") that new and future "converging" techno­ have never been seen before, thanks to logies should obey. the convergence of technology and the body." Milhad Doueihi,  Pour un humanisme numérique, 2012 12 13
  • 9. What worked What didn’t work DAY TOM TO Y   The availability of relevant and effective   The dictatorship of urgency, the impossibility   YESTERDA OR information and services to help us make choices  of prioritising, shortened forecast and decision yesterday, a promise ROW AFT and act remotely… horizons.  The widespread use of mobile phones,   Hyperconnectivity, incessant importunity   especially to constantly synchronise, and now to and cognitive overload. W ER access the Internet and various services. -TO O MO R R  The collective organization of time within political  The synchronisation of productive activites  regions: actors and activities establishing schedules on a local and global level: "Just in Time",  without considering others’ schedules. precision logistics...  The technology itself remains complex, fragile,  Digital agendas. shifting, and time consuming.  The improvement, diversification, and After twenty centuries of mostly trying The pace of modern life is fast – and only interpenetration of the means for distance to [advance] the frontiers of space, now it getting faster. In previous eras, we had fewer communication: email, social networking, microblogging, instant messaging, is the frontiers of time that we seek to overcome. choices and more time in which to make them. visiocommunications... The man of the twenty-first century will do Today, we need all the assistance we can get  The densification of time: with the capacity  whatever he wants from wherever he chooses to make our choices easier and faster, and to double up on our activites, and do everything  and at whatever time suits him best. digital technology helps with that. (...) Our new from wherever we may be, we are able  The conquest of life will no longer be a question technologies also save time by letting us get so to accomplish more in a single day. of reducing distances by accelerating time, but much more done without leaving the house." of erasing distances altogether." Simone Zhang, Euro RSCG Shanghai Christian Loviton, La vie à distance, Belfond, What surprised us What we learned 1989 Chrometa gives you a gift like nothing  New forms of time management,   The total amount of time shared by a human else can. It gives you the gift of time! It is fully especially in some "local exchange trading systems" community is abundant, but it is unevenly automatic, and you do not have to work where time is the unit of exchange. distributed and uncoordinated. This uneven  The "slow" movement: initially individual, now distribution   at keeping records of how you account adopted on a grand, city-sized, scale (Cittaslow). is inversely reflected in social inequalities:   for your time for work." Advertisement the ‘excluded’ earn less income, have fewer contacts,  The rapid development of hybrid, shared, "third" enjoy less mobility...and often have an excess   spaces: "coworking" spaces, telecentres,  of free time. The experience of modernity and cafés that fulfill different functions, grocery-delivery  16% of France’s employees work at least occasionally modernization has always been the experience centers, public service centres... at night, half work on Saturdays, one quarter   of an incessant acceleration." on Sundays: a sharp increase since 1990 (INSEE). Publicité de 1980 [source Rosa, Hartmut and William Scheuerman, eds.  Digital technologies are involved   http://www.flickr.com/photos/ High-Speed Society: Social Acceleration, in the general acceleration and confusion of time,   jbcurio/3367196078/sizes/o/in/ Power and Modernity, 2009 the individualisation of rhythms, as well as   photostream/ the resynchronization and organization of time.   They help fill up whatever time remains unoccupied. DAY TOM TO Y  YESTERDA OR DAY TOM time for assessment... TO ROW AFT Y  YESTERDA OR Digital technology was supposed to have between peak and off-peak, day and night, tomorrow what will change ROW AFT W ER made us more productive and flexible, and -TO MO R R O weekday and weekend are blurry… Besides, generally save us time. We are certainly ac- technology itself requires dedicating copious complishing more at a faster rate, yet we always amounts of time to selecting, installing, lear- W ER -TO O seem to feel pressed for time… Because as we speed up, ning, protecting, repairing, updating, and networking MO R R so does everything around us. Decision-making, inno­ devices and software. vation, and product life cycles are all getting shorter Our (sometimes weak-willed) desire to slow things and shorter. Public and corporate strategies are more down shows us that our relationship to time is no Technology Economy  Society and more focussed on the short term.. The level of our b ­ etter today than it was in the past. For some –  Ambient computer technology, the "cloud":   Less anchoring in the spatial and temporal:   impatience with any form of waiting is only equalled e ­ specially the most integrated – time is lacking, while never unplugged. dematerialisation, teleconferencing, mobile working by the impatience others feel toward us. others have too much time on their hands, with no and telecentres, "flexible" spaces... Digital technology was supposed to enable us to orga- i ­ nkling as to how it might be spent. Some experience  "Contemplative computing":  nise our time more fluidly and improve how we use the "taylorization" of service activities: call centre cus- technologies, tools, and methods designed   An increase in economic spatial constraints:   it. And yet we often feel as though our time isn’t even tomer service, the timed-to-the-minute rounds made to help us manage the pace of our lives. energy economies, "relocalisation". our own:  we can no more control the constant flux of by salespeople, technicians and carers… Time is as  "Human augmentation": (digital and biological)   Longer lifespans and – after a long period   attention-grabbing messages and requests than we poorly distributed, and as unequally fluid, as capital. technologies that help us think  of reduction – longer working hours over a year   can the distinction between working hours and off We have definitely managed to accelerate the pace of and over a lifetime. and react more quickly. hours, or the constant fluctuations in our daily sche- daily life, and even enjoy the tempo some of the time, dules. Lifestyle individualisation and economic trans-  Employment flexibility: variable work schedules   but we haven’t yet managed to get time under our formations have pulled us out of synch; distinctions and status, less secure jobs, non-linear careers,   control. "lifelong learning"... 14 15