Throughout 2018, we are a running an inquiry into citizens in the digital age. The key questions are as follows:
- What is the role of a citizen in the digital age? What are our rights and responsibilities in the digital age?
- What are the main issues you are concerned about? Which emergent technological threats are you most fearful of?
- What can we practically do to address the issues you are concerned about?
The answers to these questions will help shape a citizen-created Global Agenda to be launched at Politics Summit 2018.
The following outlines notes which accompany the questions of the inquiry. They are meant to act as contextual guidance, rather than directions to the answers we are looking for, to help you understand the framework of our inquiry.
Question 1: What is the role of a citizen in the digital age? What are our rights and responsibilities in the digital age?
- Throughout history organised citizens have always played a role in supporting each other, campaigning for social justice, and holding power to account. How should this play out in the digital age? What do fellow citizens need support with? What new social injustices have arisen? Who needs to be held accountable? What should we do as citizens in the digital age?
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted in 1948. How have our rights and responsibilities changed 70 years later? For example, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has given citizens the rights to be informed, of access, to erasure, and to object. As another example, some say that users of technology have the responsibility to know what they’re signing up to when they tick terms and conditions, and others say citizens should play a more active role in reporting fake news and online hate. What do you think?
- What rights are most important to you in the digital age? Privacy; protection of user data; freedom of expression; accessibility of latest digital tools; net neutrality; access to the internet; digital education; other
- What responsibilities do we have as citizens in the digital age? Understanding the terms and conditions we sign; don’t download apps that that use our data; be aware of bad online actors; hold companies to account in our interests; educate ourselves to detect fake news; organise with others to run campaigns; vote for political representatives who understand impact of tech on society; notify tech companies and governments of malignant acts online; other.
Question 2: What are the main issues you are concerned about? Which emergent technological threats are you most fearful of?
- We are increasingly becoming aware of new social problems arising out of the technological revolution. What are you most concerned about in the digital age today? Cyberbullying; bad working conditions for gig economy workers (e.g. Amazon distribution centre workers; Deliveroo and Uber drivers); bad supply chains (e.g. child labour in Congolese mines providing minerals for Apple iPhones); social media echo chambers; misuse of personal data; fake news; AI ethics; inequality caused by new tech monopolies; Other.
- As well as issues we are now aware of, there are issues which people fear could become major political and social problems in the future. Which emergent technological threats are you most fearful of? Cyber warfare; AI-enabled weapons; AI singularity; job losses (e.g. automated vehicles replacing truck-drivers; other.
Question 3: What can we practically do to address the issues you are concerned about?
- There are a new set of challenges caused by the fourth industrial revolution. What action can actors take to address them?
- What actions should be taken done by citizens to address the issues raised above? (Individuals: Petitions; engage with political representatives / Groups: Lobby governments; protest)
- What actions should be taken done by international/regional/national/local governments to address the issues raised above? (Regulation: GDPR / Prioritisation: Growth and/or social and environmental impact?)
- What actions should be taken done by tech companies to address the issues raised above? (Self-regulation: Social media companies developing AI to weed out fake news and online hate / Employees: Hire staff to address social issues)
Here are some recent headlines about the impact of tech on society which might interest you:
- Rushed Amazon warehouse staff pee into bottles as they’re afraid of ‘time-wasting’
- Deliveroo wins right not to give riders minimum wage or holiday pay
- Meet Dorsen, 8, who mines cobalt to make your smartphone work
- Google workers resign in protest as AI experts call for end to autonomous weapons project
- 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach
These notes are by no means exhaustive. If you have other points to add, please share them with firstname.lastname@example.org, or reply directly to our online survey.