As its name might imply, the Future Internet Lab focuses on the future of the internet. The internet is broken, but we can fix it. Large tech companies control personal data, the digital public space, and the technology that we use in our daily lives. The Future Internet Lab questions this power and looks for alternative solutions. For example, we work on the creation of the Public Stack: a collection of technologies that places public values at the centre of the design process. In this way, we are working towards a safer set of technologies that neither spies on us nor sells our data.
The Future Internet Lab questions the power of big tech and researches alternatives.
The lab also looks at digital public spaces. The places where we currently meet online are often designed from the perspective of financial profit. The Future Internet Lab researches and designs digital public spaces where the citizen is central to the design process rather than the consumer. We also consider the technologies used by our government. As more and more public services are digitised, how do we ensure that societal interests remain paramount? One way we do this is by investigating the algorithms currently in place as well as their underlying values. In our policy labs, we advise and educate government agencies in the field of technology and data.
Technology is not a black box we must accept at face value. Waag places existing technologies on the workbench, unscrews the casing, and takes a look at their inner workings. In this way, we investigate phenomena that will determine the future of the internet, such as algorithms, the internet of things, and the platform economy.
We also believe that technology can help us shape the future. We explore societal challenges of our time (like how to best organise democratic participation, how to green cities, and how to improve mobility) and investigate how we can develop technologies to help solve these issues.