Smart citizens need to wake up over the topic of subtle or not really subtle surveillance done by the spread of mobile devices and social media. In fact, “taking control of tools has been a central factor in promoting a participatory, hands on approach to our relationship with technology” (Future Everything, Tools for Unknown Futures, 1995-2016).
Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a speaker at Future Everybody, is crystal clear that, in order to be smart citizens and active members of a community, citizens need to understand the importance of participation by being co-creator of the society. In her words,
“I am a hacker in Parliament, I went into the system in order to understand how it works and my conclusion is clear: Install new system with a new form of democracy of the future, where we move away from democratic dictatorship with many representative heads to a direct responsibility of direct liquid democracy.” (Future Everybody, p.33, http://futureeverything.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/FutureEverybody.pdf)
Is she being naïve and too idealistic or is she foreshadowing the future for real? What are certain are the new proposal projects for smart citizens sponsored by the EU. One of these, COMRADE aims to be a practical technologic help in crisis situations, crisis caused either by nature (earthquakes, floods) or by men (war).
Going thorough this server, the enormous amount of data is filtered so to have useful and reliable information at hand when most needed. By using it, people take collective actions to respond to moment of crisis by actively participating. Both locals and remote users interact together, as explained by COMRADE creators:
“Enabling local (communities in crisis zones) and remote (digital activists and responders) individuals and communities to come together and share knowledge through their crises reports (community reporters), to produce and access filtered and quality collective information, and to be connected with others based on emergency needs and offers”(COMRADE fact sheet, 2016, p.2, http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/dae/document.cfm?action=display&doc_id=13776).
It does seem a very thoughtful idea and hope it may work because, after having experienced a bad earthquake, having the certainty of being connected and having access to news, whether you are living in a central area or not, might be vital.
Future Everything, Tools for Unknown Futures, http://futureeverything.org/ideas/tools-for-unknown-futures/, [Accessed: 25 April 2016]
Hemment, D., Gere, C eds (2012) Future Everybody. Future Everything: Manchester, UK, http://futureeverything.org/ideas/future-everybody/, [Accessed: 25 April 2016] and PDF http://futureeverything.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/FutureEverybody.pdf [Accessed: 25 April 2016]
COMRADE Fact Sheet, (2016), http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/dae/document.cfm?action=display&doc_id=13776 [Accessed: 25 April 2016]