Emerging Digital Spaces in Contemporary Society: Properties of Technology

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The research also raises the need for changes to teacher training, so teachers have greater competence with the emerging technologies and design processes they increasingly need to both use and teach. View video on YouTube. The sheer pace, scale and scope of emerging technologies are uniquely shaping our world.

The collective impact of these drivers is creating unprecedented disruptions and opportunities in every facet of our lives. While the knowledge syntheses and related discussions highlighted in this report address only a fraction of these technologies and their potential impacts, they bring to light several critical, emerging issues—from human, cultural and social perspectives—that may guide practices, policies and research agendas going forward. The researchers illuminated the diversity of people designing, using and benefiting from emerging technologies, as well as those being left behind because of inequalities in access and skills.

The reports showed how emerging and digital technologies are changing how we learn, communicate, consume news, and empower marginalized populations. These technologies are also changing the nature of work and increasing the need for collaborative innovation processes. Evident are both a need for new technical skills and knowledge, and a reaffirmation of human skills, including teamwork, storytelling and creativity. Attention was drawn to gaps in what we know about the uses and users of the technologies examined through the synthesis projects, the needs and preferences of designers versus users, and how to build a culture of innovation.

Moreover, these projects highlighted that, with opportunities and benefits, come risks and uncertainties, such as in data storage, privacy, and accuracy of information. More attention and research are needed on these issues which have implications for us all as our lives become ever more represented by the bits of data that feed the digital age. As a whole, these knowledge synthesis projects seek to help meet the critical need to understand the human dimensions of the development, adoption and integration of technologies.

Emerging Digital Spaces in Contemporary Society | SpringerLink

These insights into human dimensions are critical to informing the design of technologies and the development of digital literacy skills that Canadians need so they can navigate through the transformational changes of the digital era. This understanding is also essential to sustaining an inclusive innovation agenda that supports social well-being and economic prosperity for all Canadians. The nature of the knowledge synthesized in these projects and highlighted in this report serves to further reinforce the importance of social sciences and humanities research to building deeper understanding of the human condition, and of the driving forces shaping the world around us, now and in the future.

Through partnerships and innovative collaborative efforts, we can leverage new and promising opportunities for research, training and knowledge mobilization. Together, we can build a better tomorrow for all Canadians. Through research grants, fellowships and scholarships, we support research that provides key insights on the social, cultural, environmental and economic challenges and opportunities of our ever-changing world.

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Bibliographic Information

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Urban Spaces in a Digital Culture - Gernot Riether - TEDxNJIT

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Advancing knowledge on how emerging technologies can be leveraged to benefit Canadians Insights and opportunities for knowledge mobilization and future research November Table of Contents Executive summary Introduction: The quest for insights on how to leverage emerging technologies to benefit Canadians Knowledge synthesis: project overviews Thematic insights on the role of emerging technologies in the lives of Canadians Access, adoption and empowerment Societal impacts and changing approaches to innovation Governance, privacy, security, and the rise of big data Revitalisation of Indigenous languages and cultural heritage Technology in research and education Conclusion Research for a better tomorrow About SSHRC.

Executive summary. The findings are highlighted under the following five themes: Access, adoption and empowerment Societal impacts and changing approaches to innovation Governance, privacy and security, and the rise of big data Revitalization of Indigenous languages and cultural heritage Technology in research and education Scholarly insights bring to light several critical, emerging issues—from human, cultural and social perspectives—that may guide research agendas, practices and policies going forward. Following are a few of the key messages resonating across the thematic findings: The potential benefits of emerging technologies are not shared by all Canadians, as various socio-economic, demographic and geographic factors continue to maintain a digital divide.

Little is known about the ethical implications of emerging technologies and what these mean for the privacy and safety of Canadians. The hybridization of knowledge from different actors, including end users, across various disciplines is becoming increasingly important for the optimal use of new technologies.


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Digital technologies can be leveraged to benefit Indigenous languages and revitalization efforts, but only with community involvement and support. Introduction: The quest for insights on how to leverage emerging technologies to benefit Canadians We live in an ever more complex and digital world, characterized by growing volumes of data and a rapid expansion of technologies. Shifting the conversation about artificial intelligence Some analysts point to near-future job losses in the millions due to using artificial intelligence.

Knowledge strengths and emerging research: A large body of worldwide studies links weak creativity development in the workplace and in school to unhealthy economic and societal outcomes. A significant quantity of research is devoted to the impacts of technology on writing in postsecondary English language classes. Canada is a leader among circumpolar nations in initiating and developing projects to digitally return Indigenous knowledge and artefacts to Indigenous communities. The demographic variables associated with access to and use of information and communications technology are well established in the literature.

The role of openness and collaboration in the innovation process has been extensively explored in the existing literature. Where further research is needed: What constitutes a culture of innovation in the Canadian context. The ethical implications and risks of, and quality control for, new technologies like assistive devices and justice apps. The needs, values and preferences of end users and consumers for the design and development of technology.

How digitization affects the values and meanings associated with cultural objects, in the eyes of Indigenous source communities. The impacts of digital technologies on the revitalization of Indigenous languages and cultures. How Canadians consume news. The benefits of digital technologies for writing skills in French language courses, and among children and adolescents. Knowledge about the new technologies being used by political parties to collect voter data post The opportunity to collaborate, exchange and build on knowledge with colleagues from across the country allows for richer analysis for our own initiatives, and opportunities for future partnerships within and across sectors.

Footnote 4. Knowledge synthesis: Project overviews The following list of emerging technologies knowledge synthesis projects is presented in alphabetical order, by principal investigator. Full report Ethical dilemmas during field studies of emerging and disruptive technologies—Is our current state of knowledge accurate? Thematic insights on the role of emerging technologies in the lives of Canadians Building on the outcomes of the knowledge synthesis projects, the following five themes were identified as key areas of interest for stakeholder discussions on how emerging technologies can be leveraged to benefit Canadians.

The digital age has been marked by a stream of evolving and innovative technologies and while these offer numerous benefits to Canadians, not all members of society have equitable access to or use of these technologies. Footnote 7. Several studies confirm the link between digital inequalities and various socio-economic factors. In Canada, Internet access is correlated with income, education level, geographic location, migratory status and age.

Levels of digital literacy, more generally, are tied to income, employment, and overall socio-economic status. Reduced income and low levels of education contribute to a vicious cycle of digital inequalities, by both contributing to their creation and then maintaining and reinforcing them. Importantly, the factors that contribute to digital inequalities are cumulative and, as such, affect each individual differently.

The decision of older adults to adopt or abandon assistive devices is directly related to self-image and a desire to preserve control and independence. In order to avoid perceived threats to self-image, many older adults resist using some newer technologies—like robotic aids or wireless body sensors—or only adopt them as a last resort.

Unintended consequences of their rejection include social isolation, physical deconditioning and an increased reliance on others. The heart of the issue is to use the robot when we begin to lose our independence. Footnote 11 If you were, say, growing old and demented, then I could imagine this [assistive robot] being a good thing, but for me? Resources, motivation and skill shape ICT access and use by middle-aged and older Canadians. Financial means, home-based access, and individual or cultural social support are each resources that make it easier for older people to use ICTs.

Among individuals with the necessary resources, elements of motivation and interest—including social encouragement, training, a sense of efficacy, and perceived value—are also important. Privacy concerns and a lack of skills can, on the other hand, serve as detractors to using ICTs. Interestingly, lack of skills is not correlated with chronological age, but rather with lack of exposure to ICTs.

Footnote 13 Collaborative spaces would help ensure a better match between how assistive technologies are designed and how older adults use them. The use of assistive technologies by elderly consumers or users may differ from the use anticipated by designers. The available literature reviewed reveals that three sets of actors intervene in the development and dissemination of assistive technologies: designers, third parties e.

Canadians are using mobile technology to access new pathways to justice. Canada lags behind other developed nations in terms of safe and effective access to the justice system. Justice apps i. However, people with low literacy levels may not fully benefit from and apply this legal information available. Further, people who live in supervised institutions, like jails and group homes, or in rural or remote communities, often lack regular access to the digital infrastructure they would need to use, and to potentially benefit from, these apps. It is clear that meaningful implementation of technologically driven access to justice initiatives requires consideration of socio-economic, geographic and other barriers to technology access in Canada.

State of knowledge:. There are significant knowledge gaps concerning the risks associated with new technologies. Researchers have noted an absence of regulatory and quality control measures to mitigate potential risks associated with the related products. For justice apps, these include significant risks to privacy, and to the reliability of the information provided. This is especially true for devices produced using desktop printers at the local or community level. Research into the functional effectiveness and efficiency of these technologies is limited, resulting in a lack of knowledge about their safe and ethical use.

Most studies of ICT use by middle-aged and older adults tend to be access-driven instead of accessibility-driven. Much of the available research focuses on the causes of and potential solutions to the digital divide, such as cost reduction, training programs and public computers. Some of the objectives that guide the end users of assistive technology are not explored in the literature to the same extent as those that guide the designers. The design focuses on safety, autonomy, comfort and communication. Either many assistive technologies simply do not aim to empower aging Canadians, or existing literature about empowering elderly Canadians through assistive technologies has not yet been documented in the scientific literature.


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A participatory design approach is crucial to ensuring that new technologies meet the needs of end users, in both private and public spaces. While there is no dearth of literature that focuses on the capacity of assistive technologies to improve the lives of older Canadians, researchers found very few studies that engaged older adults in the research, design and development of assistive devices.

Collaborative practices can better identify and address the needs, requirements and functional goals by combining expertise and reducing the financial requirements for infrastructure. Emerging technologies have the potential to change the way individuals interact with each other, learn, and conduct business and have the potential to bring many benefits and challenges to Canadian citizens, governments and organizations. The creation, development, adoption, and use of emerging technologies are the result of a process of innovation, which is both fostered and constrained by social and cognitive factors that influence the nature and extent of innovative activities.

Organizations should adopt a more collaboration-centric vision that considers the values, visions and interests of all stakeholders, in order to ensure positive outcomes for all. Innovation is a social process that is influenced by both national and organizational culture. The literature reviewed consistently identified certain cultural dimensions—such as individualism, low levels of family collectivism, and power distance—as occupying a clear role in supporting innovation. Ethnolinguistic and cultural diversity, taken together, were also found to support positive innovation outcomes, when diversity was well managed within organizations.

This may be particularly relevant for Canada, given its diverse communities. National culture, meanwhile, can shape the practices of organizations, but these practices can and often do deviate from national cultural tendencies, especially in countries like Canada, where a wide range of behaviours are culturally accepted. Navigating the innovation cycle and transforming ideas into successful outcomes in the marketplace is a complex task dependent on multiple components. While Canada is relatively strong in idea generation and technology creation, it is weak in the capacity to commercialize those technologies on a global scale, suggesting that Canadian organizations need to foster a culture of innovation in order to support innovative practices not only in terms of new technologies but also innovative business and marketing strategies.

Digital technologies have impacted how and where we work, and the production of knowledge more generally. In the knowledge-based economy, workers are increasingly seeking more independence and flexibility from employers and hierarchical constraints. These spaces, usually made possible by digital technologies, foster collaboration, innovation and creativity, and have the potential to offer users a better balance between their work and their private lives.

The integration of 3D printing into traditional manufacturing processes is still in its infancy. Additive manufacturing only accounted for 1. Despite its potential to reduce the manufacturing cycle and production time more generally, 3D printing is currently only a realistic option in small-to-medium-sized companies or small-scale, specialized industries, such as those in aeronautics or medical device manufacturing.

Software complexity and extremely high costs are clear detractors when considering mass production of simple objects. As well, to build 3D skills, new, more collective pedagogical approaches are needed in the education system. The successful integration of 3D printing into the manufacturing cycle requires high levels of both technical and socio-organizational knowledge. Research focusing on culture and innovation is still in its initial stages. The current discourse suggests innovation can happen in any organization or environment, as long as it has specific, innovation-friendly values, practices and orientations; but, there is no clear evidence to support this claim.

Future research should investigate what processes and practices contribute to a culture of innovation, particularly in the Canadian context, as well as how this culture is cultivated and nourished across time and space. There is a need to develop precise and uniform definitions that differentiate the various types of these emerging spaces of collaborative and creative work that are neither home nor conventional workplace.

Finally, we are missing crucial sociological information about the users of these spaces, including their demographic profiles, motivations and expectations. More research is needed on the collaborative processes that facilitate innovation development and diffusion. Researchers are beginning to recognize the importance of meaningful collaboration in innovation ecosystems, but little is known about how to translate knowledge about various actors from different backgrounds in a way that supports shared goals.

In addition, most research has focused on how multiple actors contribute to early stages of innovation, but less is known about how they support the later stages of implementation and diffusion. This technology is at the forefront of the 21st-century knowledge-based economy and, like many other digital technologies, it favours collaborative organizational structures. Training is needed on the human, social and organizational skills necessary to better understand how to use this technology. Techniques of 3D printing are extraordinary tools for collaboration that will accelerate innovations and disruptions in production and the materials world the same way the Internet amplifies innovation, collaboration and disruption in the digital world.

The era of big data has brought with it a growing public concern about user privacy. Organizations—both public and private—now amass large quantities of sensitive personal information. Individuals have little or no control over the data that is stored about them and how it is used. Footnote 20 The increasing collection and storage of administrative data in large, digitized data sets may concern Canadians, who worry records of their regular activities, such as filing income tax or visiting a physician, could be used in the future for research purposes, without their knowledge.

Themes and subtopics Number of immigration studies that use big data Theme: Diversity Multiculturalism and diversity 5 Theme: Health Health 8 Health and language 2 Mental health 4 Theme: Others Immigrant children 2 Migration flows 5 Other 18 Theme: Social Integration Housing 3 Immigration and education 15 Integration 20 Settlement 4 Social capital 10 Immigrant attraction and retention 11 Theme: Labour Market Human capital 6 Labour market 26 Labour market and health 2 Labour market and income 3 Labour market integration Labour market and discrimination 2. Political parties use large amounts of voter data, sophisticated technologies, and big data analytics for electoral purposes.

The collection, storage and analysis of these data are exempt, or likely to be excluded, from federal privacy legislation for private and public sectors. While self-regulation policies are in place, it is unclear what implications such policies and practices may have in the protection of personal information and privacy. The lack of information on how the data is collected, used, shared and accessed is particularly concerning. The current state of politics is fostering a bourgeoning industry that systematically collects, stores, and analyzes voter data.

Recent technological advances exacerbate these concerns. Footnote 21 The emergence of new gatekeepers in the media landscape is impacting where and how Canadians get their news. Established media outlets compete with new players and multiple platforms to provide relevance, meanings and interpretation of news. Digital technologies have altered news consumption habits, and traditional definitions of news are distorted. The use of big data and large data sets in immigration research poses many challenges. Large data sets often exhibit sample selection limitations and a sampling bias, because certain groups are underrepresented in the processes through which the data are collected.

These biases raise questions about the credibility of claims made on the basis of these data sets, or result in certain groups of newcomers, for instance, being virtually ignored in research. Moreover, security, privacy and ethical concerns can emerge from current data storage, management and sharing practices. Rigorous security measures applied to personal administrative data, and restricted access, may disproportionately affect researchers outside of universities or government. Interdisciplinary collaborations are a critical next step in information management. There is currently little awareness of the theories, principles and practices of archival science i.

Conversely, the record-keeping community is largely unaware of blockchain technology and its potential applications. Interdisciplinary research into blockchain recordkeeping—including legal, archival, forensics, economics and other researchers—will help ensure this technology is leveraged to its full potential for Canadians. Substantial knowledge gaps surround the use of data by political parties. Little is known about what technologies are used, how internal privacy policies are enforced, or the role of private sector data companies in the collection and analysis of voter data.

Research should be done on legal regimes to replace the self-regulation privacy policies used by political parties in their collection and use of voter data. Significant research remains to be done to develop alternative legal regimes and enforcement mechanisms in light of fair information principles and the best practices for the regulation of political parties. There is also significant work to be done to assess the broader implications for democracy of big data politics. Footnote 23 Further research is needed to understand how news is shared and consumed in new media spaces. The decision to share information on social media can be shaped by normative social influences, with some users abstaining from taking part in online discussions if they feel they could be ostracized for their views.

Hence, there may be an underrepresentation of people who espouse views not in line with the majority. With each generation of Indigenous learners forced into Euro-centric educational structures to learn European languages, Indigenous languages are fading away. Recovering and revitalizing Indigenous languages is an important first step on the journey towards Indigenous resurgence.

Indigenous languages contain critical cultural knowledge that inform[s] Indigenous worldviews and values. Where Indigenous nations globally have overcome the intergenerational trauma of settler colonialism, recovering, storing, and revitalizing Indigenous languages was key to their success. Footnote 25 It was acknowledged in several of the knowledge synthesis reports, using both western and Indigenous methodologies, that many Indigenous communities continue to lack equitable access to digital technologies.

The development and use of digital tools aimed at Indigenous language and culture revitalization, including repatriation of Indigenous knowledge and cultural artefacts, must be informed by an Indigenous worldview, the knowledge of the Elders, and immersive and intergenerational cultural underpinnings at both the individual and community levels. Community infrastructure digital technology, energy, etc.

Community services school, health, etc.

Properties of Technology

As a result of underdeveloped government policy and lack of funding, many rural, remote, northern Indigenous communities face significant barriers in the adoption, access and sustainability of digital technologies and infrastructure. The first-mile approach refers to community-centred development, ownership and management of digital tools and infrastructures. This system empowers local communities with independent control over how technological resources are developed and used for language and culture revitalization, habitat development, or other community needs, while also supporting the local economy through the generation of new jobs.

The goal should be for all communities to have equitable access to fibre infrastructure and to own and control their own local digital infrastructure.


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  • Footnote 27 Digital return systems are a prime example of disruptive technologies. While the main intention for digital return projects in mostly northern Canadian Indigenous communities is repatriation and archiving of knowledge and objects, and youth education, the projects also disrupt the storage, access and interpretation of heritage data for both institutional models and traditional Indigenous networks.

    For example, digital returns produce digital versions of objects and cultural knowledge that can be reproduced and stored online, thus challenging notions of physical repatriation. Similarly, documenting an alternate body of knowledge, insights and worldviews disrupts the western scientific approach to humans and their connection to other living beings and the world.

    However, these projects also disrupt the negative impacts of colonialism, by reinforcing the transmission of cultural knowledge within and outside of Indigenous communities.

    Gherab-Martín, Karim

    Most digital return projects have narrow, largely parallel scopes, and appear to be guided by institutional agendas. The studies revealed that community-led heritage organizations identify the repatriation of artefacts and human remains as their top priority, yet digital return projects concentrating on archaeological and ethnographic collections remain vastly underrepresented. Instead, the majority of these digital return projects aim to repatriate local knowledge about the environment from Arctic Indigenous peoples.

    Long-term case studies are needed in order to determine how digital technologies can best support the revitalization of Indigenous languages and culture. Community-grounded evaluations and impact assessments that are rooted in the experiences, cultural knowledge and goals of the Indigenous community will offer insights into the successes and shortcomings of these technologies in the revitalization processes.

    The role and contribution of ICTs in the development, planning and construction of northern Aboriginal housing was seldom addressed in the literature reviewed. Many studies examined access to and use of ICTs by Indigenous peoples in the context of education, the economy, health, culture and infrastructure.

    EMERGING DIGITAL SPACES IN CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY: PROPERTIES OF TECHNOLOGY

    There is, however, a significant gap in knowledge about their role in housing development, as well as about the use of participatory approaches, such as public participation geographic systems, participatory 3D modelling, and crowdsourcing applications. These technologies have the potential to play important and beneficial roles in Indigenous housing development, by encouraging collaborative, community-based decision-making.

    A better understanding is needed about the impacts of digitization and open access, including intellectual property and ownership issues, on the value and meaning of cultural objects. Advanced search Search history. Browse titles authors subjects uniform titles series callnumbers dewey numbers starting from optional. See what's been added to the collection in the current 1 2 3 4 5 6 weeks months years. Your reader barcode: Your last name:.

    Cite this Email this Add to favourites Print this page. You must be logged in to Tag Records. Introduction Digital communication Defining new media The texts of digital publishing The digital citizen Power, knowledge, surveillance Digital property The digital commons new infrastructures of science Digital aesthetics more Introduction Digital communication Defining new media The texts of digital publishing The digital citizen Power, knowledge, surveillance Digital property The digital commons new infrastructures of science Digital aesthetics Digital labor Technology, culture, and society Digital identities Information globalism Reading machines Conclusion.

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