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Brainstorming visions of an online Finland in 2019

How will citizens use online services in the future? How will Finland as a society utilize information and communications technology? Why will the Internet become a significant locus of culture? These are just some of the questions that the group of Web experts, brought together by Sitra in the spring to provide a vision of Finland on the Web in 2019, aim to answer.

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How will citizens use online services in the future? How will Finland as a society utilize information and communications technology? Why will the Internet become a significant locus of culture? These are just some of the questions that the group of Web experts, brought together by Sitra in the spring to provide a vision of Finland on the Web in 2019, aim to answer.

“What has been particularly interesting in the process is its transparency. We at Sitra assembled a group of experts with wide-ranging expertise of Internet from the technical requirements to the cultural dimension of the Web. The brainstorming sessions were opened via video to an Internet forum, which provided us with even more ideas,” says Karoliina Luoto, the project coordinator from Sitra.

The project is special in that it aims to find a shared vision of how the Finland of the future will function on the Web. The results and the whole working process will be freely available online for everyone to use and take advantage of. At the moment, the basics of the vision drawn up in the brainstorming sessions have been completed, and all those who are interested can work on them further.“The aim is for the project to benefit comprehensively the whole Web sector.

The participation of experts in the various aspects of the Web enables genuine glimpses of the future and sometimes even wild flights of fancy, which nevertheless may reveal something important about possible future phenomena,” says Karoliina Luoto.

Vision of online Finland in 2019

The guiding principle of the vision elements created in the brainstorming sessions is that Finnish life will be closely connected to the Web in 2019. The Web is the place for online social networking, the management of one’s personal life and the storing of memories as well as for spending time together with friends or social influencing.

“Social services such as social security and social influencing function well on the Web and they are easily used. Citizens own all their personal data and they have access to all the registers where that data is stored. A person can draw up a personal and real-time social interaction map, monitor his or her health-care information or draw up, for example, a consumption map,” says Karoliina Luoto, explaining the results of the brainstorming sessions.

However, the data must be retained even in changing circumstances and protection of citizens’ personal data must be seen to. Legislation must prevent the abuse of personal data.

“We must also take into account that we must ensure that everyone is capable of using online services and that citizens do not fall outside social life due to lack of skills. Investments must be made in teaching media skills and help offered either by peers or service providers.”

The Web in your pocket

According to the vision, information technology will become ubiquitous. The Internet will be found anywhere – in your pocket as well as on your desk. The Web can be accessed wirelessly everywhere and content that was previously stored in personal computers can now be stored online.

Programs do not have to be bought anymore, instead they can be used over the Web. “An idea popular in the brainstorming sessions was that ubiquitous Web connections enable, for example, streaming of real-time video anywhere.

This possibility will be used in a variety of ways, from nature webcams to civic action, from politics to pure entertainment. Sports, music and political spectacles can be produced inexpensively by amateurs as well as by professionals at a greater cost. The user’s emotional tie to the content decides which content is important,” says Karoliina Luoto.

In addition, numerous subjects came up that were left open for now. For example, threat scenarios that include uneven distribution of media skills, the possibilities to develop collective intelligence and challenges pertaining to the amount and manageability of information all need to be worked on further.

“We at Sitra hope that discussion continues online and that the joint effort leads to a bold vision of what Finland on the Web will look like in ten years and what issues are important to take into account when developing future online services. We hope that the transparency of the process genuinely benefits, for example, organizations looking for ideas to work on their Web strategies,” Karoliina Luoto sums up.

The work of the Finland online 2019 group can be followed on Facebook or by watching the video webcast of its sessions.

Facebook group of brainstorming sessions»

Webcast of the brainstorming sessions»

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