Towards a Technology for everyone
What tools do we have for making a fairer technology? How can we democratise technology? How can we make it sustainable? These are just a few of the challenges raised at a meeting dedicated to commons assets, as part of the Mobile Social Congress.
The North Campus of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) has played host to the Mobile Commons Congress, during a day dedicated to the past, present and future of the limits to information and communication technology (ICT). The role of women, free programmes and hardware, the limits to everything to do with the commons, the internet of things and networks based on nodes such as those of guifi.net, which help to reduce the digital divide, were a few of the topics dealt with in the experts’ talks.
A commons asset “is a resource that belongs to or is shared by a community, ranging from natural resources and land to programmes and communication networks”, as explained by Leandro Navarro, a lecturer at the Department of Computer Architecture at the UPC.
Commons assets, when they concern ITCs, “are beneficial to groups and individuals in such fields as health, safety and interpersonal relations, as this is a technology that makes life easier for us”, confirmed Eva Vidal, a manager at the UPC’s Development Cooperation Centre. She also discussed issues such as the useful life and aesthetic obsolescence of mobile-phone terminals.
The meeting also saw people raise their concerns over sustainability and mineral-extraction methods that fail to respect it. Míriam Planas, a manager at Federació ISF, spoke about how poor management of natural resources in mobile-phone production could affect the environment. “Droughts and desertification are just some of the consequences of extracting these minerals”, she explained, making clear the “need for remedying that “.