Review: Nesta: Pulling the plug: what should a human-centric European Internet look like?, 2018

On Wednesday early evening in London Nesta is hosting the first of a series of provocations on ‘how European citizens can retake control over the future of the internet’. Pulling the plug: what should a human-centric European Internet look like? Is part of the Next Generation Internet initiative, the European Commission’s programme focused on building a more democratic, inclusive and resilient Internet by 2025.

The event will start from the observation that the Internet is dominated by two ruling narratives: ‘an American one, where power is concentrated in the hands of just a few big players, and a Chinese model, where government surveillance appears to be the leitmotif’. It asks ‘Between Big Tech and Beijing, where does this leave citizens? What could Europe do create a more human-centric future internet?’.

Debaters include Professor John Naughton, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), who has spoke at my events in the past; Marleen Stikker, Managing Director and Co-Founder of the Waag Society, which has been key to thinking about digital culture in the Netherlands and beyond; Adam Rang, Head of Location-Independent Investment, e-Residency, for the Republic of Estonia; Katja Bego, EU Engineroom Project Coordinator and Senior Researcher at Nesta; and Nesta’s CEO Geoff Mulgan.

The question on which they will focus are:

  • Could Europe build the kind of alternatives that would put citizens back in the driver’s seat?
  • Rather than trying to build the next Google, should Europe focus on building the decentralised infrastructures that would prevent the next Google instead?

This event is aimed at policymakers, civil society leaders, innovators, activists and everyone else involved with shaping and thinking about the future of the internet. I will be there, adding my bit of analysis, insight and shaping.

Nico Macdonald on Twitter

On Wed @Nesta_UK hosts an event on the Next Generation Internet initiative, the EC’s programme to build a more democratic/inclusive/resilient Internet; speakers inc. @adamrangpr John Naughton (@jjn1) @marleenstikker @katjabego (cc @jim_boulton @EvaPascoe)


My report on the event, shared via Evernote.

Katja Bego (chair), John Naughton, Marleen Stikker, and Adam Rang
Katja Bego (chair), John Naughton, Marleen Stikker, and Adam Rang

Published by Nico Macdonald

Communication, facilitation and consultancy around design and technology

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