What springs to mind when you think of the Next Generation Internet? In the first of three position papers, we dare to outline a bold plan for an Internet that is better than the current version and that responds better to our needs. Re-imagining and re-engineering the Internet to be fit for the future we want, while we continue using it to help run our societies and economies will require an immense collaborative effort.
Our opening paper, ‘For An Internet of Humans’ takes a long hard look at the Internet we use every day and questions issues that many of us take for granted, because ‘that’s just how it is’. Online transactions remain subject to hacking and security flaws, the personal data of end-users are used in inappropriate ways, and the risk remains of companies dominating through market rather than human interest. As the Internet of Things takes shape, the Internet we are building must ensure that the increased access to data and the AI that manipulates information are in line with our values.
NGI was established with the purpose of restoring trust, which entails protection of personal data, ensureing privacy and security, combating disinformation online, guaranteeing access and freedom of choice, respecting fundamental rights and enforcing ethics and sustainability by design.
Following on from GDPR legislation, which grants EU citizens strict control over their personal data (with financial penalties for violation), NGI supports projects on privacy and trust enhancing technologies and decentralised data governance, such as blockchain.
NGI will support initiatives to ensure that European citizens trust that their online environment is safeguarded against hacking and cyber-attacks, by funding projects on Internet architecture renovation. NGI will also invest in Open Source software and hardware, making key internet technology building blocks available for continued improvements.
NGI plans to harness collective intelligence, supported by data-collecting sensors and Artificial Intelligence to tackle societal challenges, such as sustainable cities, climate action and a positive evolution of Social Media. The NGI upholds and integrates fundamental EU values such as linguistic diversity and accessibility for persons with disabilities, to allow everyone to take part in the digital economy and society.
NGI is building a vibrant NGI community with innovators as agents of change with funding a nurturing environment with networking opportunities, business mentoring and researcher-in-residence opportunities. More of this in the second position paper.
With an investment plan for the next 10 years, the NGI initiative will shape the development of an Internet that is trustworthy, open, and that contributes to a more sustainable and inclusive society. Any citizen should feel part of the NGI initiative, because we are the Internet of Humans!
The position paper was produced by the NGI Outreach Office, coordinated by Dr Monique Calisti, CEO of Martel Innovate.