THE BLOG

Stop Using Future Technologies As Political Leverage - We Are Not Ready, Yet

23/11/2016 14:55

To the general populous words such as smart cities, digital democracy, civic technology and open source platforms mean absolutely nothing. Is this 'experts' harping on again about stuff we do not understand or is there substance to it?

Why do I ask?

The media and a lot of the traditional left wing have been getting themselves in a tizzy this week with Jeremy Corbyn's tweet on smart industries.

The Tweet read:

"We now face the task of creating a New Britain from the fourth industrial revolution - powered by the internet of things and big data to develop cyber physical systems and smart factories."

Well, he's actually right, he's just making a hash of talking about it. After all, the digital age offers a whole world of openness from holding policy makers accountable, giving the general public an opportunity to participate in civic decisions and improving heath services.

But what does it actually mean?

It's pretty simple, using technological practice alongside creatives such as designers and coders to improve services that affect you, that can be anything from the Government, how you pay your bills to green efficiency.

These people or organisations identify social problems by analysing data which can be pretty easy to find on the internet, for the most part. For example, you can view how much crime is in your neighbourhood simply by visiting police.uk, you may be shocked by the results and then create a social media campaign to raise awareness if you really wanted, it's not as complicated as the babble suggests.

Do we need to change the language in regards to getting the voting demographic on board?

Yes, absolutely and I can say that confidently as I am part of the problem. I am the Director of a civic innovation organisation called New Union; I make call outs for civic hackers to join me on social media, I design open source projects for social change and I actively encourage the practice of hackathons.

Unless you work in the field or you have an interest in open government, none of that means anything to you and quite frankly, why should it?

But it's important that the community realises that there is something out there that can help you portray your voice and actually enable you to influence how your country works.

As politics is changing and the increasing distaste of the political establishment grows across the world, encouraging the use of this practice can actually make the life of your local MP and elected officials a living hell if you feel they are not living up to their word.

We already have www.theyworkforyou.com, you can go and check their election pledges and see if they are doing what they said they would. If it's something that affects local services approach local charities and create a project off the back of your evidence, you'll be the bane of your MPs life and maybe next time they'd think of their constituents first.

There is a whole world of potential but politicians can't just assume we understand stuff like this, this could just be perceived as the elite spouting yet more intellectual twaddle.

Ultimately, before the powers that be tell us what they plan to support, they need to invest time and indeed money in regards to educating the public on what future technology is before we even comprehend actually voting for it, otherwise surely that's just a waste of time and undermining the great work people who are already doing.

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