One of the basic features of today's information society is permanent networking. Wherever we go, we are connected to invisible data networks. Information and communication technologies influence social, economic and political structures.
Networked environments, a term that sounds so abstract and yet it is a fundamental element of our everyday life and our environment. Whether in medicine, the energy sector, transport and the security sector, autonomous computer systems are already being used in order to assist human activity or to influence behaviour. Concepts such as pervasive computing or ambient intelligence, which are used above all in mobile information technologies, are taking on concrete form.
Fewer and fewer borders between online and offline
Networked technologies and trends such as mobile computing are increasingly blurring the border between the online and the offline. Data that was once processed locally is now outsourced to the cloud by means of distributed systems. Developments in the wake of Web 2.0, in particular social network sites such as Facebook and the like, are changing the way we interact with each other and the way knowledge is produced. Autonomous software agents collect and interconnect user data in order to improve the interpretation of the way people interact with computers. The aim is to create what is known as the Semantic Web by analysing both the data from search machine enquiries and communication in digital social networks.
The risk of the loss of autonomy
These developments lead to a wide variety of opportunities to increase human abilities and to create new services for networking knowledge. However, they also involve new risks; for instance, self-controlled systems acting in the background may result in us losing our autonomy and becoming dependent on technology. There is also a threat to privacy or the risk of our personal behaviour changing as a consequence of the extensive networks that surround us.
The ITA is observing these developments; a number of its projects analyse the effects of permanent networking on society:
Selected projects related to Networked Environments
Cloud Computing (STOA-ETAG)
European Perspectives on impacts and potentials of Cloud Computing and Social Network Sites
Credit Scoring in Austria
Austrian Chamber of Labour study examines needs for regulation
The future of research in the age of information and communication technologies
The future of labour in the digital era
Ubiquitous Computing, Virtual Platforms, and Real-time Production (EPTA Report)
What if the majority of IT systems in Austria cease to work?
Enquiry Commission on Gene Technology
Parliamentary Enquiry Commission 'Technology Assessment using the example of Gene Technology'
Motor Vehicles of the Future
Cars full of sensors collect our data. This short report compiles the unfolding questions for consumers.
The use of geodata on mobile devices
Data generated by smartphones or tablets give away more than our location
Suchtechnologie an der Schnittstelle von globalem Kapitalismus und lokalen sozio-politischen Kulturen
Pilot Project for the Austrian Parliament
How the internet affects the science-community – ITA-book: Cyberscience 2.0
MATCH: Markets – Actors – Technologies
A comparative study of smart grid solutions in Austria, Norway and Denmark
Monitoring of urban Technologies
A study to classify, describe and evaluate technologies for the city of tomorrow
Regulations for privacy enhancing security technologies in Europe
Privacy in online games
This short-term study covers data protection issues with regard to online gaming
Smart New World?
Key factors for the legitimate and acceptable use of smart meters
Surveillance, privacy and security: SurPRISE evaluates the acceptance of security technologies among Europe's citizens
The integration of fundamental European values into information and communication technologies for ageing
Pilot project for future sustainable Smart City concepts in the city of Korneuburg