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According to an article published on Science|Business, the European Union (EU) trails when it comes to laying the foundations for a “smart” economy, with the US, Canada and Japan pressing ahead, warns a new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).

A stubborn “digital divide” in Europe, which fractures between an “extremely well-performing north” led by Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands, and a static south and east, is to blame says WEF.

“The EU is increasingly falling behind globally in building the digital infrastructure and innovative capacity that would allow its economies to unlock new sources of growth,” the report states.

WEF criticises the EU for not being as favourable to young entrepreneurs and start-ups as other regions, due in part to heavy regulation and fewer funds to start businesses.

Low patent application numbers, with half the activity of the US and less than half of the activity of advanced Asian economies, suggest, not just less innovation, but the “lack of knowledge and capacity of SMEs to efficiently deal” with filing patents.

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The February 5 Technology Salon in New York City asked “What are the ethics in participatory digital mapping?” Judging by the packed Salon and long waiting list, many of us are struggling with these questions in our work.
Some of the key ethical points raised at the Salon related to the benefits of open data vs privacy and the desire to do no harm. Others were about whether digital maps are an effective tool in participatory community development or if they are mostly an innovation showcase for donors or a backdrop for individual egos to assert their ‘personal coolness’. The absence of research and ethics protocols for some of these new kinds of data gathering and sharing was also an issue of concern for participants.
During the Salon we were only able to scratch the surface, and we hope to get together soon for a more in-depth session (or maybe 2 or 3 sessions – stay tuned!) to further unpack the ethical issues around participatory digital community mapping.
The points raised by discussants and participants included:
1) Showcasing innovation
Is digital mapping really about communities, or are we really just using communities as a backdrop to showcase our own innovation and coolness or that of our donors?
2) Can you do justice to both process and product?

Tagged in: Digital Mapping
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EuropeLogo eInfastructure This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 313203
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