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Technology for Good: A systems exploration into the future of the digital platform economy

Johnston, Emma (2021) Technology for Good: A systems exploration into the future of the digital platform economy. [MRP]

Item Type: MRP
Creators: Johnston, Emma

The digital platform economy has grown exponentially over the last two decades, resulting in a tech-enabled culture that is shaping a modern society. The system, framed in a North American context, is primarily driven by the commoditization of personal data. In this case, ‘big tech’ - companies like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Netflix and Alphabet (Google) - profits off of data-driven insights that are used to create personalized services, targeted offers, suggested products and recommended search. Personal data gets treated like an asset to tech giants in particular. It cements the competitive advantage of those digital platforms that are able to exploit data-driven insights, enabling a recurring system of digital platforms trying to capture more and more personal information. It is not to say that digital platforms do not provide benefits to their users and society as a whole. Yet, the digital platform economy has perpetuated a complex relationship between benefiting from its users, and providing a set of (perceived) benefits back. In the current system, there is a lack of transparency in how the data exchange truly operates, prompting concern for whether the design of this system makes users vulnerable by default. This results in rising uncertainty around how the ecosystem should best interact with digital platforms in ways that concern data rights, data privacy and utilization of personal data. Through foresight and systems-thinking methodology, this project will seek to explore an alternative future that views data in a balanced, and optimistic, perspective. The report will begin by analyzing the past, in order to understand how we got to the present, which will help to imagine a desired future where tech is used for good.

Date: 10 May 2021
Uncontrolled Keywords: Digital platforms, digital platform economy, technology, big tech, data, systems thinking, foresight
Divisions: Graduate Studies > Strategic Foresight and Innovation
Date Deposited: 10 May 2021 18:19
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2021 20:31
URI: https://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/3407

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