The Lab

Proprietary systems are now a thing of the past. The magic word of the future is “open.” In tomorrow’s digital marketplace, there’ll be no place for hermetically sealed-off claims of individual providers. Everything grows together into a big ecosystem in which developers, providers and end users roam and romp worldwide. Here, “plug and serve” solutions are fed in and offered up, demanded and purchased. So these things can be quickly and conveniently loaded to all sorts of mobile devices, and this can be done then and there, whenever and wherever they’re needed. Additional impetus is being imparted to all this by a current development that is nothing less than revolutionary: the so-called internet of things. Nearly all the technical devices and accompanying paraphernalia we use on a daily basis will soon come equipped with sensors, cameras, chips and microprocessors, and be able to be started, operated and updated via the internet. The quantity of data that will then by constantly careening around the Web will be truly gigantic. The foundation of this digital ecosystem is extremely high-performance, totally pervasive infrastructure that offers everybody optimal network access. Likewise indispensible is achieving the right balance between, on one hand, saving and evaluating user data & behavior, and, on the other hand, protecting people’s right to privacy and data security. This is something that won’t just be in the interest of the end user but also of the economy itself since a lack of trust in the internet will have a growing—and increasingly negative—influence on potential turnover on the online marketplace.

In the context of an open lab situation, Ars Electronica has assembled artistic commentary on this radical transformation process. We present best-practice examples at the nexus of art, technology and society that show the opportunities and risks that the economy, science, politics, art and whole societies could soon be facing. This is a matter of new forms of communication and participation, new types of artists and scientific disciplines, unconventional alliances, and business models with great future promise. We are spotlighting the enormous potential of technological innovations and, thus, the changed relationships of power in political and economic life that will inevitably accompany them.

The Lab is shown at the ITU Telecom World 2013 from November 19th to November 22nd in Bangkok.