It is clear that the Internet has become an essential part of the infrastructure of modern life. Relationships are managed using online social media tools, commerce takes place increasingly online, governments use the Internet to communicate and consult, media content has all moved online, television and entertainment are increasingly being delivered via the Internet, and the policy makers are engaged in making sure that citizens are engaged in the public space online via programmes such as Digital Britain, the European Digital Agenda, and many others around Europe and the world.

At the same time, the Internet is evolving, both as a technical piece of engineering and as a social and economic platform. However, it is not clear how to balance competing interests when technical, societal, economic and regulatory concerns come into conflict. One point of view is that technology developers should be allowed to develop innovative technologies with little oversight and regulation so as not to stifle creativity; in this view, social and regulatory concerns can be dealt with as they arise as a result of use. A conflicting argument, however, is that any future internet must be designed with social and economic concerns at the centre, so that technology supports shared values, enhances inclusion, protects privacy, and supports democratic goals.

In this debate the speakers will take opposing viewpoints on this topic, to engage with each other and with the audience.

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)Oxford e-Social Science Project (OeSS)European CommissionSocio-Economic Services for European Research Projects (SESERV)Knowledge Dissemination Network for the Atlantic Area (KNetworks)

About the speakers

  • Professor Ian Brown

    Affiliation: Oxford Internet Institute
  • Professor Jonathan Cave

    Affiliation: Economics Department, University of Warwick
  • Dr Sally Wyatt

    Affiliation: University of Maastricht; Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)
  • Professor Robin Williams

    Affiliation: Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation, University of Edinburgh
This page was last modified on 28 June 2016