Inside the digital society

David Souter writes a weekly column for APC, looking at different aspects of the information society, development and rights. David’s pieces take a fresh look at many of the issues that concern APC and its members, with the aim of provoking discussion and debate. Issues covered include internet governance and sustainable development, human rights and the environment, policy, practice and the use of ICTs by individuals and communities.

Inside the Digital Society: Everything changes, everything stays the same
Inside the Digital Society: Everything changes, everything stays the same 20 January 2020 David Souter

Two things are clear: how much has changed in terms of the technology and how little’s changed in public discourse.

Inside the Digital Society: Revisiting 1984
Inside the Digital Society: Revisiting 1984 15 January 2020 David Souter

As the Digital Society develops, more and more people worry that it won’t be the Utopia that internet pioneers once dreamed of; that it might even turn out to more like the dystopias that have featured in film and fiction over the years.

Inside the Digital Society: The gig economy
Inside the Digital Society: The gig economy 16 December 2019 David Souter

What's happening to employment? Last week I looked at the big picture. This week's focus is on platform jobs, ‘the gig economy’.

Inside the Digital Society: What will happen to the jobs?
Inside the Digital Society: What will happen to the jobs? 09 December 2019 David Souter

One of the most important underlying issues of the digital revolution that’s now underway is: what will happen to the jobs?

Inside the Digital Society: Where next for the IGF?
Inside the Digital Society: Where next for the IGF? 02 December 2019 David Souter

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) met last week, for the fourteenth time. I’m one of the few, I suspect, that has been to every one. Some background – because not everyone knows about the IGF. Some comments on its progress. And some challenges for Anriette Esterhuysen, who has just been appointed by the UN Secretary General to chair the IGF’s Multistakeholder Advisory Gro...

Inside the Digital Society: So who are you including?
Inside the Digital Society: So who are you including? 25 November 2019 David Souter

What will ‘people-centred’ mean when decisions that matter are mainly taken by computer algorithms? What is development, or ‘sustainable development’, as now preferred? This week, what is inclusion?

Inside the Digital Society: A phone is not a phone
Inside the Digital Society: A phone is not a phone 18 November 2019 David Souter

Words change their meaning over time – but the words we use have lasting impacts on the ways in which we see things. This week I’m asking what we mean when we talk about the “telephone”.

Inside the Digital Society: Reviewing a World Summit
Inside the Digital Society: Reviewing a World Summit 11 November 2019 David Souter

It’s fifteen years since the World Summit on the Information Society – and the United Nations is pledged to hold a review of what has happened since the Summit in 2025. But are the outcomes of the Summit still relevant today? How should the UN go about reviewing it?

Inside the Digital Society: How do we put the ethics in AI?
Inside the Digital Society: How do we put the ethics in AI? 04 November 2019 David Souter

Last week I wrote about ethical frameworks for artificial intelligence. This week I’ll draw on one initiative among these.

Inside the Digital Society: Why do we need ethics in AI?
Inside the Digital Society: Why do we need ethics in AI? 28 October 2019 David Souter

Artificial intelligence is not such a new idea as many think. The term itself was coined in the 1950s. There’s been talk of ethics round it, too, for more than half a century. But debates on this today are different, for several reasons.

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