Digital Transformation (DT) refers to the profound changes taking place in the economy and society as a result of the uptake and integration of digital technologies in every aspect of human life. These changes affect both the behaviour of individuals and organisations in society and the boundaries of individuals and organisations. In particular, the processes of datafication, through which human actions and social interactions are increasingly transformed into bits of information collected by commercial companies, is reconfiguring the relationships of knowledge and power between governments, civil society, and the commercial sector.
Within this context, DigiTranScope focuses on the governance of digitally transformed human societies.
The project has two main streams of work related to the following questions:
* Is there a European way to digital transformation? What should it look like?
* What are the new forms and scales of governance enabled by DT?
The project is organised through a series of expert meetings, case-studies, primary data collection and analysis, and experiments. Through the execution of the project and the interaction with the European Commission policy DGs, the project has identified data as the crucial ground on which the governance of digital transformation is played out. For example, the Commission’s Communication on Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Europe as well as numerous national AI strategies recognise that data, and increased data sovereignty, are crucial in defining a European approach to the development of AI. Therefore, one of the key challenges for Europe is to make better use of its own data (public, commercial, personal) to extract greater value for European society.
DigiTranScope contributes to this policy agenda by studying different emerging data governance models to share data between the public sector, commercial sector, and civil society, as well as the different ways in which the value generated through the integration and analytics on this data is distributed among the stakeholders. Through this line of research we identified eight data governance models that we organised into four types: corporate governance, peer-governance, public-driven governance and co-governance and are exploring them further to see opportunities and limitations of each to support European policy.
DigiTranScope is also researching ways of leveraging some of the characteristics of Digital Transformation for new forms of policy design, implementation, and evaluation.
For example, the project is looking at how the availability of digital data and the possibility to create the virtual replica (Digital Twins) of neighbourhoods, cities, and entire countries allows new forms of policy targeting using similar methods, such as the profiling in commercial platforms for personalised marketing, but rather aimed at the public good i.e. addressing first the demand of those who need it most. The project is experimenting with this in Amsterdam in the context of targeting policies to support increased energy efficiency in households.
The opportunities offered by the Digital Twins and gaming environments (e.g. the whole of the Netherlands in Minecraft in the scale of 1:1) for new forms of participation and policy design are illustrated from an experiment done in June 2018 in the south of Amsterdam, where 500 children came together with the local administration, industry and academics to use this virtual model in Minecraft to help design their vision of the future for their neighbourhood. This experiment is now being replicated in Warsaw with the engagement of local schools.
A third line of work is the use of AI tools to extract knowledge from existing policy documents, e.g. by machine processing the entire body of knowledge of the Commission, i.e. all the legal texts, policy reports, and scientific articles to support impact assessments of policy initiatives.