How we see the world

What is our vision for the future? How do we view the landscape surrounding us? What are the assumptions affecting us?

Our vision for the future

We are conducting open calls because we believe in a globally open, inclusive equitable knowledge society with limitless opportunities for innovation, replication, and growth.

In this vision of our future, we hope our open calls ensure:

  • The ability to address social challenges with technology-backed solutions is limited by the bounds of societies' collective knowledge and expertise;

  • Knowledge is open because it is free to use, reuse and redistribute by all -- without burdensome legal, social, economic, or technological restrictions or consequences for all -- in particular for those who have been historically and traditionally excluded, underrepresented, or repressed;

  • Open data, open content, open access, and open source are universal underlying structures supporting better policy, technology, markets, and social norms; and

  • A world of healthy freedom of thought, expression, speech, and without repressive surveillance capitalism is one with limitless opportunities for innovation, replication, and growth.

Our vision's most pressing threat

We believe "Big Tech" -- the largest global information technology companies such as Alibaba, Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, Baidu, Facebook, IBM, Microsoft, and Tencent -- reliance on surveillance capitalism as a primary business model and coupled with a lack of oversight has resulted in harm to democracy globally. If you are new to the term, Guardian's "The goal is to automate us: welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism", with our founding Advisory Board member Shoshana Zuboff, is a good place to start.

We summarize surveillance capitalism as the unilateral appropriation of society’s personal and behavioural information on a global scale, applied irresponsibly towards advancing machine intelligence products for profit, which is, in turn, being misused to harm global democracy. For example, Big Tech’s role as an accessory to political misinformation campaigns that degrade democratic processes around the world.

Other harms, challenges, and obstacles

The following is a representative list of project themes that would consider funding. You should always free to apply even if your work is addressing one we do not list below. What we learn through the open calls is how we evolve this list.

  • The ‘Weaponised Digital Influence Machine’ and rise of misinformation

  • Government or corporate-sponsored manipulation of online discussions

  • Increased technical attacks against government critics, journalists, and/or other public interest groups

  • Flooding and suppression or outright censorship, and/or blocking of information

  • Unaccountable repressive algorithmic bias and prediction markets

  • Rising distrust of government and press

  • The growing power of dark money

  • Invisible data exploitation, extraction and dark patterns

  • Consolidation of critical technical infrastructure

  • Lacking public education and awareness

  • Insufficient alternative viable virtuous business or sustainability models for competing technology companies.

Opportunities

Coming soon :-/

Our strengths & weaknesses

Coming soon :-/