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Ecosystems 2.0 – VII

A very important aspect for an ecosystem is the relationships existing among different participants that are mediated through data. Who is the owner of the data? Who is responsible for their authenticity, update? Who can use them and what kind of economic rewards should be associated? The frameworks may be different, involving several kinds of contractual (implicit or explicit) obligations or a general framework for use like Creative Commons.

Having said that data are the communication infrastructure we (and industry) use to communicate there is the obvious issue of who can ensure the ownership and take accountability for the data.

Take the example of an election. More and more it is not about listening to a candidate, rather it is about using social media to form an opinion on the candidate(s). When you listen to a candidate you have a direct link to her and you form your opinion on what she’s saying. Of course, you still need to evaluate whether she’s telling the truth or not but you know that she is taking responsibility on what she is saying (yes, I know, politicians are known to change their statements in a blink of an eye, but you get the gist). On the other hand, when you are getting the information from a social media, accountability is fading away.

Using data as a communication fabric requires the existence of processes ensuring their reliability. As an example, when you use Google Drive and Google Doc you are effectively communicating with your team through data. People can change a document (the data) asynchronously from your reading the document. The system however tracks all changes and keeps track of who is doing what.

When you read an article on IEEE Xplore IEEE is not guaranteeing that the content of the article is correct, what IEEE does is to guarantee the process that put that article in Xplore (i.e. the article was revised by people that are expert in the field and that are trusted in the engineer community). Additionally, there is an open process through which anybody can raise objections/red flag on the content of an article and experts will follow up and look into it.

Hence, processes are essential to create an environment that can have value, including an economic value.

In an ecosystem based on data there can be processes regulating the way data are shared and identifying responsibility. They can be written in form of contractual obligations between the owner (or the entity sharing the data that has a direct link to the owner, also regulated by a contract). Not necessarily these contracts are signed by the parties, actually most of the time these are taking the form of frameworks, like Creative Commons. In the picture I have underlined in red the interactions with data that are likely to be regulated by direct contract (often requiring some sort of payment) and in green the ones that can be managed through a Creative Common framework.  These latter usually are being applied in the area of content, and in the interaction with single individuals and communities.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.