"Without libraries what have we?" Public libraries as nodes for technological empowerment in the era of smart cities, AI and big data

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Ylipulli , J & Luusua , A 2019 , "Without libraries what have we?" Public libraries as nodes for technological empowerment in the era of smart cities, AI and big data . in F Cech & H Tellioglu (eds) , 9TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON COMMUNITIES & TECHNOLOGIES (C &T) . ASSOC COMPUTING MACHINERY , pp. 92-101 , International Conference on Communities and Technologies , Vienna , Austria , 03/06/2019 . https://doi.org/10.1145/3328320.3328387

Title: "Without libraries what have we?" Public libraries as nodes for technological empowerment in the era of smart cities, AI and big data
Author: Ylipulli, Johanna; Luusua, Aale
Editor: Cech, F; Tellioglu, H
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Helsinki Institute of Urban and Regional Studies (Urbaria)
Publisher: ASSOC COMPUTING MACHINERY
Date: 2019
Language: eng
Number of pages: 10
Belongs to series: 9TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON COMMUNITIES & TECHNOLOGIES (C&T)
ISBN: 978-1-4503-7162-9
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/310079
Abstract: Since 2014, a growing body of critical research has pointed out flaws in smart city development. It has been described as too technology-led and business-oriented, diminishing citizens' agency and causing digital divides. As the agenda keeps spreading, there is an urgent need to develop more participatory, inclusive and bottom-up approaches to balance interests of those currently in strong power positions, such as large corporations. Participatory design (PD) and participatory approaches in general have been suggested as a remedy, but they often tend to be local, small-scale and short-term. Therefore, their impacts are often modest as well. We suggest that we need to start thinking about ways to create scalable approaches that would grow the temporal and spatial impact of actions and practices that intend to increase citizens' understanding and control over new technologies, i.e. their technological agency. Without making sure that more people have adequate knowledge and sufficient control and mastery of technologies, societal discussion and ultimately, political decisions, are left to few experts. We explore the potential of public libraries to act as an ally and cooperation partner in participatory design and technology education in general, with a significant potential to broaden micro-level actions' impact. The paper consists of a broad literature review mapping the central challenges of current smart city development; this is followed with an introduction to the Finnish library system as a democratic project; finally, we present three examples of how libraries are carrying out technological education connected to emerging technologies, particularly to 3D printing, robotics and virtual reality. Our central argument is that there is a need to bridge micro-level actions, such as those connected to participatory design projects, with the macro-level technopolitical development by collaborating with meso-level actors and networks.
Subject: 519 Social and economic geography
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