This week, I have attended the 4th plenary meeting of the Network of Excellence in Internet Sciences (EINS), which has taken place at the School of Engineering of Bologna. My relation with this network started in 2012 when I participated in its 1st Summer School. Since then, I became an affiliate of EINS and I’m currently involved in the collaborative project Contropedia, funded by the EINS call “Disruptive ideas for an Internet Science”.
The event also included a workshop where the following topics where discussed:
- Measuring the Internet
- Net neutrality
- Internet governance and IETF protocols after Snowden
- Virtual community building for privacy
- How do future/upcoming Internet technologies and Internet based applications affect the way the global society/economy is taking shape?
- To what extent can/will Internet based technologies and applications reduce the limitations of human sociality traits (of evolutionary origins)
- Interdisciplinarity in Internet Science: interdisciplinary influences, research methods, and network models and architectures.
Additionally, besides the academic value of the event, it was a perfect scenario to reunite with good friends and colleagues.
Yesterday, I participated in the #DaTactic2 workshop which took place simultaneously in Barcelona (Col·legi de Periodistes de Catalunya) and Madrid. The workshop was an initiative launched to boost voter awareness in upcoming EU Election due to the expected abstention caused by the disaffection towards European institutions. To this purpose, the event gathered professionals from diverse fields such as social media, data journalism and programming.
The session, similar to a hackaton, included both the preparation and launch of an awareness action on Twitter with the hashtag #occupyEP2014 (Trending Topic in Spain for 5h 25′).
I participated as an instructor giving two lectures in Barcelona:
In the end, I explained, step by step, how to visualize the network of interactions during the action on Twitter (see next figure) and attendants were able to learn how to implement similar interactive visualizations in the future.
Last week, I attended to the third in the series of four EMAPS sprints mapping climate change controversies. The focus of the sprint was on local adaptation projects: how they are defined, what they are, and where funding goes at the local level. This workshop, which took place at the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford, was based on the model of ‘hackathons’ organized by communities of programmers gather:
- issue experts of the climate debate
- specialists of digital methods
in small interdisciplinary groups to respond to the mapping needs of the alpha-users.
The group I was part of focused on how is the private sector helping fight climate change impacts. We first generated databases from reports and lists of projects recorded by the:
Then we explored the data to visualize them in different templates. The following world map describes the coverage of drought/water scarcity hazard by the public sector (blue) and the insurance industry (green).
The following network explains who is talking about insurance themes within the adaptation online community showing that skeptics are more picking up on insurance themes.
Finally, I should also mention the delightful experience of being in Oxford again (3 times in the last 2 years), hosted in the impressive Keble College.
In May and June 2012 Arnau Monterde, coordinator of the program “Communication and Civil Society” at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (Open University of Catalonia) organized two workgroups:
I was invited to the first one to discuss with very valuable people as Gala Pin, Carlos Tomás Moro, Javier Toret, Débora Lanzeni, Carlos S. Almeida, Adrià Rodríguez and Cristina Cullell March. Our discussion has been recently synthesized and documented by Arnau, Adrià and the professor Ismael Peña-López as part of the following working paper which has been recently released:
From the Arab Spring, through movement occupywallstreet or 15M it has been opened a new cycle of political network movements which propose many new elements regarding the political use of new technologies and the Internet to collective action. These new movements see the network not only as a tool or battlefield, but also as an organizational form, establishing a relationship that commonly has been linked to ethics and ways to do of hacker communities.
Moreover, the financial crisis in Europe is deepening blocking political institutions that have been building since the beginning of modernity. This crisis is expressed not only in the inability of these institutions to tackle the current economic, social and political, but also in its complicity with the mechanisms of financial dispossession. Such institutional crisis determines the need to exercise both a critical and process of invention and construction work that starts from the new technological possibilities and lessons of network movements, hacker culture and free software, which enable reinventing institutional and constitutional forms, and therefore also of democracy itself.