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  • Gerrit Eicker 11:36 on 6. January 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Internet Access, , , , , , , , , , , , , Technology, UN, Universal Service, Universal Service Policy,   

    Internet Access: a Human Right? 

    A UN report declared Internet access a human right last summer: Cerf argues why it’s not; http://eicker.at/InternetHumanRight

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 11:36 on 6. January 2012 Permalink | Reply

      UN: “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression – This report explores key trends and challenges to the right of all individuals to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds through the Internet. The Special Rapporteur underscores the unique and transformative nature of the Internet not only to enable individuals to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression, but also a range of other human rights, and to promote the progress of society as a whole. Chapter III of the report underlines the applicability of international human rights norms and standards on the right to freedom of opinion and expression to the Internet as a communication medium, and sets out the exceptional circumstances under which the dissemination of certain types of information may be restricted. Chapters IV and V address two dimensions of Internet access respectively: (a) access to content; and (b) access to the physical and technical infrastructure required to access the Internet in the first place. More specifically, chapter IV outlines some of the ways in which States are increasingly censoring information online, namely through: arbitrary blocking or filtering of content; criminalization of legitimate expression; imposition of intermediary liability; disconnecting users from Internet access, including on the basis of intellectual property rights law; cyber-attacks; and inadequate protection of the right to privacy and data protection. Chapter V addresses the issue of universal access to the Internet. The Special Rapporteur intends to explore this topic further in his future report to the General Assembly. Chapter VI contains the Special Rapporteur’s conclusions and recommendations concerning the main subjects of the report.”

      Wired: “U.N. Report Declares Internet Access a Human Right – A United Nations report said Friday that disconnecting people from the internet is a human rights violation and against international law. – The report railed against France and the United Kingdom, which have passed laws to remove accused copyright scofflaws from the internet. It also protested blocking internet access to quell political unrest… The report, by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, comes the same day an internet-monitoring firm detected that two thirds of Syria’s internet access has abruptly gone dark, in what is likely a government response to unrest in that country.”

      Cerf, NYT: “Internet Access Is Not a Human Right – It is no surprise, then, that the protests have raised questions about whether Internet access is or should be a civil or human right. … In June, citing the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, a report by the United Nations’ special rapporteur went so far as to declare that the Internet had ‘become an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights.’ … But that argument, however well meaning, misses a larger point: technology is an enabler of rights, not a right itself. There is a high bar for something to be considered a human right. Loosely put, it must be among the things we as humans need in order to lead healthy, meaningful lives, like freedom from torture or freedom of conscience. It is a mistake to place any particular technology in this exalted category, since over time we will end up valuing the wrong things. … Indeed, even the United Nations report, which was widely hailed as declaring Internet access a human right, acknowledged that the Internet was valuable as a means to an end, not as an end in itself. … While the United States has never decreed that everyone has a ‘right’ to a telephone, we have come close to this with the notion of ‘universal service’… Improving the Internet is just one means, albeit an important one, by which to improve the human condition. It must be done with an appreciation for the civil and human rights that deserve protection – without pretending that access itself is such a right.

      GigaOM: “Cerf’s position is somewhat surprising because, as even he acknowledges in his piece for the NYT, the events of the ‘Arab Spring’ in 2011… Cerf is also the ‘chief Internet evangelist’ at Google, so it seems a little odd he would be downplaying the need for widespread internet access and the benefits that it brings to society. … In a nutshell, Cerf’s argument seems to be that if we define Internet access itself as a right, we are placing the focus on the wrong thing. The ‘Net, he says, is just a technological tool that enables us to exercise other fundamental rights, such as the right to free speech or access to information – and rights should not be awarded to tools, but to the ends that they enable us to reach. … The Internet is a fundamental method of communication and connection, and is becoming more fundamental all the time, as we’ve seen in the Middle East and elsewhere. Seeing it as a right is an important step towards making it available to as many people as possible.

      TL: “As I noted in my earlier essay, the best universal service policy is marketplace competition. When we get the basic framework right – low taxes, property rights, contractual enforcement, anti-fraud standards, etc. – competition generally takes care of the rest. But competition often doesn’t develop – or is sometimes prohibited outright – in sectors or for networks that are declared ‘essential’ facilities or technological entitlements. … So, while I appreciate and agree with Cerf’s humorous point that ‘Today, if I were granted a right to have a horse, I’m not sure where I would put it,’ the more interesting question is this: If government would have decreed long ago that everyone had a right to a horse, would that have meant everyone actually got one? … These are the sort of questions rarely asked initially in discussions about proposals to convert technologies or networks into birthright entitlements. Eventually, however, they become inescapable problems that every entitlement system must grapple with. When we discuss the wisdom of classifying the Internet or broadband as a birthright entitlement, we should require advocates to provide us with some answers to such questions. Kudos to Vint Cerf for helping us get that conversation going in a serious way.

      TC: “So, is the internet a human right? It is our best and most effective way of achieving a universal freedom of expression, and it should be treated as such. But to enshrine it, as others have said, as a human right when it is in fact merely a powerful enabler thereof, is an unnecessary step. Laws and regulations, and things like UN guidelines, should be aimed at enshrining rights in their pure and timeless forms, not in derivative forms, however widespread and important those derivatives may be.

      TR: “It might be argued that internet access was a civil right, since it is something that people look to governments to provide as a matter of course. But even this argument is shaky, he warns. Instead we should look not to the technology, but to the technology industry, to protect human rights, and it is up to engineers to ensure universal, safe internet access. … Cerf, whose current day job is being an internet evangelist for Google, may well have a point. But based on current evidence, there’s a mixed record from the technology industry thus far, not least from Silicon Valley itself. … From a technical perspective, El Reg suspects that Cerf has it right: the internet is no more a human right than a road or telephone. But looking to a relatively amoral industry like technology to act as a human rights guardian is asking for trouble.

  • Gerrit Eicker 07:38 on 16. August 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , 3D Bioprinting, , , , , , , Biometric Authentication, , , Computer-Brain Interface, , Context-Enriched Services, , , Extreme Information Management, Extreme Information Processing, , Gesture Recognition, Group Buying, Hosted Virtual Desktops, Human Augmentation, , , Image Recognition, In-Memory Database Management Systems, , , Internet TV, , , , Machine-to-Machine Communication Services, , , , Mesh Networks, , , , , Mobile Robots, Natural Language Question Answering, , NFC Payment, , Peak of Inflated Expectations, Plateau of Productivity, , , Private Cloud Computing, , , Quantum Computing, Slope of Enlightenment, , Social TV, , Speech-to-Spech Translation, , , , Technology, Technology Trigger, Trough of Disillusionment, , Video Analytics, , , , , Wireless Power   

    Gartner Hype Cycle: Technologies 2011 

    Gartner Hype Cycle: eReaders, mobile apps, predictive analytics mainstream adopted soon; http://eicker.at/HypeCycle2011

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 07:39 on 16. August 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Gartner: “‘The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies report is the longest-running annual Hype Cycle, providing a cross-industry perspective on the technologies and trends that IT managers should consider in developing emerging-technology portfolios… ‘Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies‘ targets strategic planning, innovation and emerging technology professionals by highlighting a set of technologies that will have broad-ranging impact across the business,’ said Jackie Fenn, vice president and Gartner fellow. ‘It is the broadest aggregate Gartner Hype Cycle, featuring technologies that are the focus of attention because of particularly high levels of hype, or those that may not be broadly acknowledged but that Gartner believes have the potential for significant impact.’ – ‘Themes from this year’s Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle include ongoing interest and activity in social media, cloud computing and mobile,’ Ms. Fenn said. ‘On the social media side, social analytics, activity streams and a new entry for group buying are close to the peak, showing that the era of sky-high valuations for Web 2.0 startups is not yet over. Private cloud computing has taken over from more-general cloud computing at the top of the peak, while cloud/Web platforms have fallen toward the Trough of Disillusionment since 2010. Mobile technologies continue to be part of most of our clients’ short- and long-range plans and are present on this Hype Cycle in the form of media tablets, NFC payments, quick response (QR)/color codes, mobile application stores and location-aware applications.’ – Transformational technologies that will hit the mainstream in less than five years include highly visible areas, such as media tablets and cloud computing, as well as some that are more IT-specific, such as in-memory database management systems, big data, and extreme information processing and management. In the long term, beyond the five-year horizon, 3D printing, context-enriched services, the ‘Internet of Things’ (called the ‘real-world Web’ in earlier Gartner research), Internet TV and natural language question answering will be major technology forces. Looking more than 10 years out, 3D bioprinting, human augmentation, mobile robots and quantum computing will also drive transformational change in the potential of IT.”

      Gartner: “Many of the technologies featured on this Hype Cycle contribute to the four themes featured in Gartner’s recent report on top technology trends ‘Technology Trends That Matter’. – The connected world: Advances in embedded sensors, processing and wireless connectivity are bringing the power of the digital world to objects and places in the physical world. This is a slow-moving area, but one that is now accelerating with the growing pervasiveness of low-cost, embedded sensors and cameras. Relevant entries on this year’s Hype Cycle include the broad trend referred to as the Internet of Things; identification technologies, such as NFC payments (which will lead to broader use of NFC for other applications); QR/color code and image recognition; application layers, such as augmented reality, context-enriched services and location-aware applications; and communication technologies, such as machine-to-machine communication services and sensor mesh networks. Although this area will take at least another decade to unfold fully, many interesting and profitable opportunities will arise along the way. – Interface trends: User interfaces are another slow-moving area with significant recent activity. Speech recognition was on the original 1995 Hype Cycle and has still not reached maturity, and computer-brain interfaces will evolve for at least another 10 years before moving out of research and niche status. However, a new entry for natural language question answering recognizes the impressive and highly visible achievement of IBM’s Watson computer in winning TV’s Jeopardy! general knowledge quiz against champion human opponents. Gesture recognition has also been launched into the mainstream through Microsoft’s Kinect gaming systems, which is now being hacked by third parties to create a range of application interfaces. Other areas continue to progress more slowly, including speech-to-speech translation, augmented reality and virtual assistants, while virtual worlds remain entrenched in the trough after peaking in 2007. – Analytical advances: Supporting the storage and manipulation of raw data to derive greater value and insight, these technologies continue to grow in capability and applicability. Predictive analytics is approaching maturity, but researchers and developers continue to apply and improve the core techniques for new data sources. Image recognition is driving new capabilities in search, retail and social media, and also contributes to advances in other areas, such as augmented reality and video analytics, for customer service. Social analytics continues to take advantage of new sources and types of social information. Computational advances, such as in-memory database management systems and big data, take the scope and scale to new levels. – New digital frontiers: Crossing the traditional boundaries of IT, new capabilities are reaching levels of performance and pricing that will fundamentally reshape processes and even industries. Examples on this year’s Hype Cycle include 3D printing and bioprinting (of human tissue), and mobile robots.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 11:14 on 16. February 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , Common Sense, , , , , Crossdisciplinary, Deeper Education, Disciplinary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , MNT, Molecular Nanotechnology, Nanotechnology, Narrow in Content, Narrow Topics, Narrower Education, , , , , , , , , , , , Research Strategy, , , , , , , , Technology, Transdisciplinarity, , Vocabulary   

    Understanding and Learning 

    Drexler: How to understand; http://eicker.at/2aand learn about everything; http://eicker.at/2c (via @Optimistontour)

     
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