The map (hi-res pdf) shows fast tech adopters in bright colors and slow adopters in grays.
Nafus hopes that the work will help break the current business paradigms about what countries are ready for which technologies.
The map (hi-res pdf) shows fast tech adopters in bright colors and slow adopters in grays.
Nafus hopes that the work will help break the current business paradigms about what countries are ready for which technologies.
The series seeks to understand the practices and culture of the digital natives, the cultural implications of their phenomenon and the implications for education to schools, universities and libraries.
A Washington Times article today and some Library of Congress press releases provide some more insight:
The Washington Times writes: “Ms. Ackermann, a visiting scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, spoke almost affectionately of young people’s affinity for sharing, “even before they think,” and their “fascination with freedom,” defined, in part, as having “the ability to do the right thing even when they have not got all the knowledge.” Because of their affinity for texting and borrowing sources available widely on the Internet and social networking sites, she concluded that “the gap between reading and writing is closing down.”
On 12 May, a spirited defense of the digital generation was presented by the writer Steven Berlin Johnson (site) based on his 2005 best-selling book, “Everything Bad is Good for You” (wikipedia). [A video is not yet available].
According to the Library of Congress press release, Johnson discussed the response to his argument that popular culture is growing more complex and cognitively challenging, and is not racing downward towards a lowest common denominator. He also talked about the future of books in this digital age.
Michael Wesch (site), assistant professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University, is the man behind the viral internet video “The Machine Is Us/ing Us“, which with over 600,000 views has become somewhat of a phenomenon. Welsch will discuss the three-year-old video-sharing Web site in a lecture titled “The Anthropology of YouTube” on 23 June.
“More video material has been uploaded to YouTube in the past six months than has ever been aired on all major networks combined, according to cultural anthropologist Michael Wesch. About 88 percent is new and original content, most of which has been created by people formerly known as “the audience.”
According to Wesch, it took tens of thousands of years for writing to emerge after humans spoke their first words. It took thousands more before the printing press appeared and a few hundred again before the telegraph did. Today a new medium of communication emerges every time somebody creates a new web application. “A Flickr here, a Twitter there, and a new way of relating to others emerges,” Wesch said. “New types of conversation, argumentation and collaborations are realized.”
Douglas Rushkoff (site), a teacher of media theory at New York University who recently wrote a pamphlet for the UK think tank Demos, will close the series with a lecture entitled “Open Source Reality” on 30 June.
The series should eventually be available on video webcasts.
The Washington Times article also refers to a few other resources, including Digital Native, an international online academic research project that explores the “digital media landscape” and its implications. (Check the links at the end of that page).
By the way, check out the gorgeous illustration that Linas Garsys made for the Washington Times. Click on the image on the left so see it in its full size.
The programme should also result in the development of new products, services, and concepts. Finally, the programme should increase the qualifications of employees to take part in the innovation processes in the participating companies and public institutions.
The programme, which has a yearly budget of DKK 100 million (13.4 million euro or 20.9 million USD) and runs for four years, 2007-2010, is administered by Danish Enterprise and Construction Authority, which is part of the Danish Ministry for Economic and Business Affairs.
The activities are grouped in three areas: strategic, regional, and other important areas.
The strategic effort concerns three broad thematic areas: (1) areas where Denmark has particular business skills (e.g. environment and energy technology, construction, health, design and food); (2) cross-sectoral issues relating to social problems with promising market potential (e.g. healthy and energy saving construction, or fighting obesity); and (3) welfare areas, in particular where the citizen interacts with the public sector (e.g. care for children and elderly citizens and the health sector). Fifteen projects are currently running:
Desinova is the name of this last project, an historic, systematic, and longitudinal study of strategic design and co-creation innovation in services happening now in Denmark. The project’s outcomes are expected to have global implications for innovation in industry and civil society.
The Desinova project objectives are:
- to generate ten successful service innovation projects;
- to make participating service companies and agencies more capable of service innovation;
- to develop a Service Innovation Model that explains how service company personnel, strategists, marketing people, designers, anthropologists and users successfully co-create;
- to evolve policy recommendations for business, education and research.
The regional effort ensures that knowledge of and experience with methods for user-driven innovation is disseminated throughout the country. Regional actors in each of the country’s six geographic regions organise a yearly project in their region:
The third area of effort covers applications from projects that work with any other important issues, businesses and institutions, notd covered by the strategic or regional effort, such as the 180º Academy and the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design.
- Presentation by Dorte Nøhr Andersen, Head of Division, Danish Enterprise and Construction Authority – (pdf)
- Presentation by Lars Bo Jeppesen, Director, Danish User-Centered Innovation Lab, Copenhagen Business School – (pdf)
“It is migrants, rather than geeks, who have emerged as the “most aggressive” adopters of new communications tools, says [Swisscom anthropologist Stefana] Broadbent. Dispersed families with strong ties and limited resources have taken to voice-over-internet services, IM and webcams, all of which are cheap or free. They also go online to get news or to download music from home.”
That same trend is also present in the United States, with Latinos depending on their cell phones for more services than other [major] ethnic groups, turning to it for messaging, downloading music, surfing the Web and e-mailing, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.
“According to [a Pew Internet & American Life Project survey released last month], on a typical day, Latinos were more likely to use their phone to send or receive a text message, play a mobile game, send or receive e-mail, access the Internet, play music, instant message, or get a map or directions. Fifty-six percent of Latinos said they did at least one of these activities, compared with 50 percent for African Americans and 38 percent for whites.
The numbers are supported by a Forrester Research survey last year that found Latinos were more likely than other users to text, instant or picture message, send e-mail, check the weather, get news or sports updates, research entertainment, check financial accounts and receive stock quotes through their phone.”
Interestingly, “the cell phone in some cases is being used as the primary computer for Latinos, serving up e-mail and the Internet, in the process bridging what has been called the digital divide that still exists for some minority and disadvantaged groups.”
The article mentions many reasons for this: economic (lower mean household income, so less broadband access at home), demographic (family and friends are spread out across the United States and across the border), and cultural (a higher value is placed on staying in touch with family and friends).
But even though these ethnic minorities are advanced users, mobile phone marketing companies consider them as only interested in the cheap offers: “Hendrik Schouten, director of marketing for the Hispanic segment at AT&T, said carriers assumed Latino users wanted the cheapest phones and were more likely to use prepaid plans because of limited budgets.” This now seems to be changing.
The machine will come software that allows users to manage prescriptions as well as simplified tools for everyday use, such as managing photos.
The machine, which it is developing in partnership with charities Age Concern and Help the Aged, is one of several projects the firm is working on.
The plans were unveiled at a Digital Inclusion conference in London.
One in five adult Britons is unable to open a word processing document on a computer, and just under 20 per cent still cannot use e-mail, a survey suggests.
Searching the internet using engines like Google, meanwhile, is a problem for 16 per cent of people, and when it comes to using social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, 28 per cent say they are at a loss.
The figures, detailed in an ICM poll, reveal the extent of the digital divide in Britain, where despite broadband penetration of about 65 per cent, one in five people does not yet own a computer, and 7 per cent of adults say that their lack of IT skills “greatly restricts” what they can do.
“From essentially zero, we’ve passed a watershed of more than 3.3 billion active cellphones on a planet of some 6.6 billion humans in about 26 years. This is the fastest global diffusion of any technology in human history — faster even than the polio vaccine.” [...]
“The mobile phone is the way social cohesion is taking place. It tightens the bonds between us,” says Ling, an American who researches the social consequences of mobile telephony for Telenor, the Oslo-based global phone company. [...]
“The cellphone allows us to create that local sphere” that was the hallmark of pre-industrial villages, says Ling. Cellphone circles tend to be small and full of people who “know what you’re up to, who you are, what’s in your refrigerator. That’s a way of being attached to society. It has a socializing effect.”
The project will employ psychologists to closely study a small group of people to reveal what stops them joining the net-using majority.
The BT project website provides further insight:
For millions in the UK, the online social networking phenomenon, commonly referred to as web 2.0, has really brought the internet to life. People can now go online to access hundreds of services that make their lives easier and help to connect them to friends and family around the world. But 33 per cent of adults are still not online and remain excluded from the increasing number of web-based resources, services and information that many of us take for granted.
The digital divide is not always about a lack of access to the internet. From our work with the charity Citizens Online, we know that some of the biggest barriers are fear and lack of confidence.
To understand these fears and how to overcome them, BT is running a two month trial with participants across the UK. Individuals who have never had access to the internet are being given the technology and support to explore the web for the first time. They are recording their journeys and, at the end of the trial, their experiences will be shared with government, charities and other businesses to see how the process can be scaled-up in future to bring the benefits of the internet to more and more people across the UK.
Founded by 3 leading Internet associations, including the Internet Society, FING is a collective and open research and development project which focuses on tomorrow’s Internet’s uses, applications and services.
FING views the future Internet as not only more reliable, mobile, fast, user-friendly – but as a different Internet: the disappearing Internet, in which broadband, mobile, pervasive, intelligent technologies make it possible to focus on the user’s needs, lifestyles and desires. We believe this technological change will unleash a new innovation cycle in applications and services. We also believe that the Internet’s decentralised design should and can scale to the next generation and is innovation’s and competition’s best chance for the future.
FING intends to help corporations, public agencies, education and research organizations be at the forefront of this new cycle. Through collective and networked intelligence, creativity and experimentation, Fing seeks to improve the efficiency of the innovation process, as well as reduce risks for all involved parties.
- publishes Internet Actu, a weblog and media which is read by 70,000 professionals;
- supports several workgroups and communities;
- organises visits to research labs and innovative companies throughout the world;
- publishes papers, books and reports;
- moderates or takes part in foresight exercises such as Ci’Num, the Digital Civilizations Forum;
- organises international conferences and industry events such as Mobile Monday France, or the “Crossroads of Possibilities” which showcases very early-stage innovative projects.
FING is networked with other, similar initiatives throughout Europe and the world. FING’s CEO, Daniel Kaplan, is a member of the European Commission’s eEurope Advisory Group.
FING currently has more than 165 members, including: BNP Paribas, EDF, Ericsson, Eutelsat, France Telecom/Orange, Galeries Lafayette, HP, INRIA, Microsoft, the Ministries of Education and Research, Toshiba, etc.
Some browsing around led me to interesting initiatives such as:
Also of interest are a series of videos including this presentation by Fing CEO Daniel Kaplan at LIFT07, as well as a huge amount of rather unorganised project videos from the Crossroads of Possibilities project.
“The report looks at the convergence of three trends:
- technological change
- the way that people engage with culture
- the policy aim of increasing democratic participation in culture, with particular regard to audiences described as ‘hard to reach’.
What these trends have in common is a movement from passivity to engagement, from uni-directional flows to interactivity, and from the few to the many.
Digitisation has changed everything. It has created public expectations for on-demand, constantly available, individualised access to products. It has also challenged the assumptions of cultural sector professionals that their role is to oversee public access to culture in the sense that they act as gatekeepers to what is produced, what is shown and how it is interpreted. In the analogue world, the public was able to engage with culture on terms set by experts and professionals: content, pricing, format and timing were all decided by the producer. In a world of infinitely replicable and manipulable digital content, this no longer applies. The full implications of this for the cultural sector are not yet clear.
In the brief history of the internet, the cultural sector has followed two related paths: on the one hand, the digitisation of content and provision of information and, on the other, interactivity and opportunities for expression. Some have seen these as in binary opposition.
The truth is that they are inexorably merging. But the big question is where do we go next? How can policy intervention best meet with technology to achieve the aim of bringing about a more democratic culture? What will be the role, opportunities and limitations of online culture in a rapidly changing world?”
Download report (pdf, 719 kb, 93 pages)
At one end of the spectrum, the survey identifies the heaviest consumers, most active users, and happiest denizens of the information society. It also locates those who find great satisfaction in the use of ICT even though they have fewer network resources. In the middle range, the typology highlights some users who have invested a lot in services and hardware, but feel uncomfortable with the extra connectivity. And at the other end of the spectrum, it identifies those who get along – many of them just fine – with a relative scarcity of information goods and services.
The ten groups that emerge in the typology fit broadly into a “high end,” “medium users,” and “low-level adopters” framework. However, the groups within each broad category have their own particular characteristics, attitudes and usage patterns.
- Download report (pdf, 284 kb, 55 pages)
- Download questionnaire (pdf, 124 kb, 28 pages)
- “Survey defines split in technology use” [USA Today]
- “Wired but not Web 2.0? That’s normal, study says” [CNET News]
- America: The Growing Digital Divide [TechCrunch]
Usability seems to have been a major issue, as can be read in a report by Thomas Crampton in the International Herald Tribune:
To Neuf, the issue came down to the difficulty that first-time computer users experience in dealing with Windows.
“Nearly 80 percent of all current customer calls relate to problems with Microsoft Windows,” said Frédéric Charrier, manager of the Easy Neuf project. “We decided it was easier to build our own platform to limit potential problems.”
“Our promise of customer service forced us to conceive everything from the consumer perspective in order to reduce calls,” Charrier said. “This starts with the instruction book containing many photos, goes as far as the simplified computer interface and goes down to a redesign of the keyboard.”
Also, the software is entirely open source.
Wilcox would really welcome any comments and/or additions you can offer in the discussion tab.
The age old problem of setting a video recorder still exists for one in three Brits, even though they have been in the mainstream for 27 years.
DVDs offer a more complex challenge with four in five (77%) not feeling confident to set one to record.
Also, mobile phones are now ubiquitous, yet many remain baffled by their features. The majority, almost two thirds (61%), use only four features on their mobile phone – calls, text messages, alarm clock and camera – while two fifths don’t even know if their mobile phone has a camera function.
“Time Magazine’s choice late last month of “You” (by which it meant all the users generating content on the web) as the person of the year was mocked by critics as a poor choice that by-passed several notable political leaders.
Yet the choice may ultimately be viewed as the tipping point when the remarkable outbreak of internet participation that encompasses millions of bloggers, music remixers, amateur video creators, citizen journalists, wikipedians and Flickr photographers broke into the mainstream.
The choice may also cause government leaders and policy makers to contemplate how they fit into the world of a participatory internet and user-generated content. [...]
In the mid-1990s, the emergence of the internet and e-commerce elicited an engaged approach from many governments, who sought to balance the need for a private sector-led, self-regulatory model with e-commerce and privacy legislation that built consumer and business confidence in the new medium.
A decade later, the role of government will be to support the enormous economic and cultural potential of user-generated content, while avoiding steps that might impede its growth. It can do so by focusing on the three “C’s” – connectivity, [free access to] content, and copyright [relaxation].”
In a report launched today (Thursday) the influential think tank Demos calls on schools to get past fears about children’s internet use and harness its learning potential.
The report Their Space: Education for a digital generation draws on research showing that a generation of children have made online activity a part of everyday life, with parents and schools still far behind.
The report argues that children are developing a sophisticated understanding of new technologies outside of formal schooling, gaining creative and entrepreneurial skills demanded by the global knowledge economy.
Schools are failing to develop these skills, with many attempting to limit children’s online activity to ICT ‘ghettos’ while banning the use of social networking sites like MySpace and YouTube.
The research, based on nine months of interviews, focus groups and recording children’s online activity, found that:
The report goes on to make a number of proposals on how formal education in the UK can adapt to the growing dominance of online culture in children’s lives, including the recommendation that children should be given the opportunity to build up a ‘creative portfolio’ alongside traditional forms of assessment, access to which would be determined by the children themselves
The research was commissioned by the UK Office of Science and Innovation‘s Horizon Scanning Centre, and complied by futures researchers, Outsights-Ipsos Mori partnership and the US-based Institute for the Future (IFTF).
The papers look forward at emerging trends in science, health and technology. As well as assessing the current state of thinking they also examine the possible implications for society.
The Sigma Scan is set up as a database of 146 issue papers that provide a brief description of a particular trend or development and a projection of how, given a range of possible conditions, it may unfold in the future and influence the course of events over the next 50 years. The site navigation is rather idiosyncratic and not very user-friendly. But in fact, it is not so bad: you just click on one of the five themes, and on the next page simply hit the “search” button. Here are some of the papers that caught my interest (in no particular order):
Also the Delta Scan works as a forum for scanning the science and technology horizon over the next 50 years. The forum contains a hundred outlook pages covering a wide range of scientific disciplines and technologies. The Delta Scan was produced by the Institute for the Future, a Silicon Valley think-tank, as part of a project for the Horizon Scanning Centre of the United Kingdom’s Office of Science and Innovation. The database is hosted by the Stanford University Foresight Research group, housed in the university’s Wallenberg Center. Also here a selection of papers:
“The Scottish-French venture’s focus is on harnessing the power of crowds to allow inventors and adaptors to take their products [currently mainly electronics] to market. By involving end-users in every aspect of a product’s life-cycle, CrowdSpirit aims to set off a crowdsourced manufacturing revolution.”
“How it works: inventors submit ideas for innovative new products and contributors submit problems for inventors to work on. Members vote, define a product’s specifications, and can invest money to finance development. After a first prototype has been created, selected members test and help fine-tune in cooperation with manufacturers. Once the stage of product development has been completed, contributors continue to be involved, for example by acting as a product’s ambassador and promoting it to retailers, or by providing product support, like translating instruction manuals.”
Springwise questions how customer-manufacturers will be rewarded for their efforts: “As trendwatching.com points out in its briefing about the customer-made trend (a.k.a. co-creation), “as co-creators get smarter and realise how much they’re worth, expect kick-backs for co-created goods and services to go up. If you don’t pay a fair share, talented members of the global brain will take their business elsewhere”.”
(via David Carlson)
“Participatory media is changing the way we communicate, engage with media and each other and even our approaches to teaching and learning.”
“The generation of digital natives – those that have grown up immersed in digital media – take all of this for granted. There is nothing strange, new or even transformative about the interactive, participative landscape of blogging, social networking and Web 2.0 Read/Write media for them. This is the very starting point, the background canvas on which they live their lives.”
“The promise of participatory media is a democratic media, and a media that strengthens our democratic rights in concrete terms. Howard Rheingold has written extensively about the very real uses people have put mobile and digital media to in fighting street level battles over concrete issues. In his 2002 bestseller Smart Mobs, he writes about the ways that these technologies have been put to use in online collaboration, direct political action and the lives of young people across the planet.”
“But can the use of these emergent socially networked technologies transcend entertainment and personal expression, and push us forward towards an engaged, empowered democracy?”
In this special feature, which was published on the blog of Rome, Italy-based Robin Good, Good has divided Howard Rheingold’s presentation into several audio files, and brought together the key points and questions discussed. You can listen to the original verbal presentation delivered for each key point or browse through the summary notes he has posted next to each.
Rheingold’s lecture was part of the MacArthur Foundation‘s series on Digital Media and Learning, a ”five-year, $50 million digital media and learning initiative to help determine how digital technologies are changing the way young people learn, play, socialise and participate in civic life.”
The report, entitled “A surveillance society”, looks at surveillance in 2006 and projects forward ten years to 2016. It describes a surveillance society as one where technology is extensively and routinely used to track and record our activities and movements. This includes systematic tracking and recording of travel and use of public services, automated use of CCTV, analysis of buying habits and financial transactions, and the work-place monitoring of telephone calls, email and internet use. This can often be in ways which are invisible or not obvious to ordinary individuals as they are watched and monitored, and the report shows how pervasive surveillance looks set to accelerate in the years to come.
Richard Thomas said: “Two years ago I warned that we were in danger of sleepwalking into a surveillance society. Today I fear that we are in fact waking up to a surveillance society that is already all around us. surveillance activities can be well-intentioned and bring benefits. They may be necessary or desirable – for example to fight terrorism and serious crime, to improve entitlement and access to public and private services, and to improve healthcare. But unseen, uncontrolled or excessive surveillance can foster a climate of suspicion and undermine trust.”
The report provides glimpses of life in a surveillance society in 2016, including how:
In a related story, The Guardian reports that according to experts “the internet will hold so much digital data in five years that it will be possible to find out what an individual was doing at a specific time and place”.
“Nigel Gilbert, a professor heading a Royal Academy of Engineering study into surveillance, said people would be able to sit down and type into Google ‘what was a particular individual doing at 2.30 yesterday and would get an answer’.”
“The answer would come from a range of data, for instance video recordings or databanks which store readings from electronic chips. Such chips embedded in people’s clothes could track their movements. He told a privacy conference the internet would be capable of holding huge amounts of data very cheaply and patterns of information could be extracted very quickly. “Everything can be recorded for ever,” he said.”