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Hear our Voice! Exploring Citizens' Perspectives on the Digitalization of Life



Hear our voice! The digitalization of life has transformed what we believe, how we think, feel and act. Much of this digitalization of life has been brought to citizens by large companies focused on connecting us via internet platforms. But, what do citizens need or wish for from the internet? Questions have been raised around the privacy, security, and integrity of information provided over the web. However, if the voice of citizens is missing, we cannot make an imprint for change. ‘We, the Internet’ is a global consultation project which aims to redress this imbalance by asking citizens their thoughts and feelings on the internet. Their input will help to shape this technology for a better future. The citizen participation events and forecasting methods, aim to question ideas on the digitalization of life – what are citizen’s views on the internet, its opportunities, and risks? How do citizens feel about the prevalence of disinformation? What is the role of artificial intelligence in decision-making and how will it impact citizen choice? This engagement will yield valuable insights in shaping a digital policy for the future.
25-27 June 2008
Madrid, Spain
Hear our Voice!
Dr Wendy Rowan, Dr Stephen McCarthy & Dr Carolanne Mahony
EITIC, BIS, CUBS, University College Cork, Ireland
We, The Internet: With over 50%of the
world’s population having access to and
using the internet, now is the time to ask
questions about its present and its future.
(Fig.1.). We are more connected than ever
before, but this connection is changing our
relationships and our society to unknowns.
We are being challenged about how we
think, feel and act in this online world.
There are benefits for humanity but also
Citizen Engagement:
The purpose of this dialogue was to open
connections between the citizen and the
decision-makers. It was an opportunity to
discuss and reflect upon ourselves our
interaction with and on the internet. It is
about shaping new futures.
Objective: To hear the voice of citizens in relation to the privacy, security and integrity of
information provided through the internet. Hearing the citizen voice will yield valuable insights
into their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Ultimately helping to shape the digital policies of the
Problem Statement: To question current ideas and practices around the internet, by engaging
citizens in dialogue.
Citizen Science methodology was utilised
via online focus groups. Theses were held
over a period of two consecutive days.
The interpretation of data was undertaken
via qualitative analytic software.
Thematic analysis was conducted on the
data yielded from the focus group
The Future of the Internet:
Sharing Information:
We share so much, it is no longer possible to be
private. We should be able to offer protection to
Finding Balance:
We need to think about where automation and
our online life is taking us. It is important to find
a balance for the future of humanity.
Data Use:
We use the internet and data for everything. We
have become heavily reliant upon it. Not being
able to access this data can have a huge impact
upon us. It can test our resilience.
Data Quality:
Misinformation, errors, and propaganda are
changing our societies. Governance is needed.
Online Opportunities:
Online life provides us with work, social, creative
connections that are borderless we have the
potential to become a global community.
Data Use
“It’s about
getting the
right balance
between the
on/off line
“The trouble
is finding
good quality
data online”
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