John Thackara critisises the EU’s “tech first” approach

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John Thackara, director of Doors of Perception, just posted a critical comment on how the EU’s innovation and research programmes put an emphasis on tech rather than on people.

For instance, the EU’s Information Society Technologies programme contains, according to Thackara, “a lot of tech but not much soc”. Thackara points out that, despite the programme’s intention to ‘address the main European societal challenges’, “the advisory group that interprets that statement, ISTAG, consists wholly of Big Tech and Big Research interests” and that “proposals that don’t put tech at their centre have little chance of success”.

Thackara finishes his comment by advocating a more inspiring approach that locates “technology within a range of new ways to organise our daily lives” and not make “tech the starting point”.

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  1. […] However, despite the nice talk about user-friendliness, the solution to achieve this ’seamless interoperability’ seems entirely technology based, and no mention is made of any type of research exploring what users actually want and need. John Thackara formulated a critique last year about the tech first approach in EU research and innovation. This tech driven EU research project claiming to make our lives easier seems to be confirming that analysis. […]