Technology Brings Transparency, but Fear the Repercussions. It is Terrible Symmetry

This year the Youth Global Forum will celebrate its fifth year anniversary in the city of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Under the theme of ‘’Industry 5.0 vs Inclusive Development: Where is the future?’’, Rob Van Kranenburg will give a masterclass presentation on ‘‘ioT (Internet of Things): New ways to connect Business’’. He is the founder of the Internet of Things Council, creating a hub for the practice and implementation for IoT related technologies. It ranks Number 2 in a Top 100 of IoT blogs. In addition, he also has a one man company (RESONANCE DESIGN BV) and is fully independent from any .gov or .biz.
We sat down briefly with Rob to get his thoughts on the upcoming Youth Global Forum and to also offer some advice for the participants ahead of their arrival.

Rob, thanks for sitting down with us as we look ahead to the upcoming fifth annual Youth Global Forum in your homeland! Please give us a short introduction about yourself and what you have you been doing with yourself recently?

Somehow, throughout my I’ve always had a feeling there is something wrong which is quite normal! I studied Literature and languages in order to get away from anything ‘useful’. Then, I stumbled onto what is now known as the Internet of Things and realized I had found a monster of epic proportions that would at the very least challenge me but more likely, consume me. 

In 20 years I have built a large network with my work in the Council of ioT, the set up iotdaty.org and becoming a Twitter “IoT Influencer.

I think in times of ontological shifts the only flight can be to try to take over the systematic drivers themselves, not fight a thousand small ones that in such times only ac t as triggers for the old system to discipline, ever more and more. This is no time for martyrs.

What lessons do you think participants will be able to take from the Netherlands in relation to the theme of this year’s event?

I was lucky growing up in the South of Holland, Waalwijk and Tilburg. These were the days I was reading books in my room without a television, one phone downstairs with a cord attached to it and no friends allowed to call after seven. 

It saved me as I was able to start talking to and with myself; we played outside and stayed out too late and we heard the voices of our mothers calling us home. You do not hear these voices anymore, as we are on our devices constantly. Ah well, is this nostalgia of a man over fifty? Probably. Still I am happy to have heard those voices. Even then Holland was characterized by a strange mix of stubborn individualism and bravado and an extreme obsessive submission to anything with rules and regulations. 

Every inch of the Netherlands is designed and ‘in the grid’. Yet instead of integrating all layers that are individually as tracked and traceable as a supply chain and this is too much for the Dutch, so on one hand they make everything transparent; while on the other they cloud it; fearful of the repercussions and its terrible symmetry. Like Rilke’s Panther the Dutch will stay in their cages long after the bars are gone.

What can participants expect to learn from your masterclass in the field of ioT (Internet of Things)?

What I will focus on in is the moment after data, after platforms, the moment that we are living now when AI hits Big Data and starts to work. Goods, persons, houses, situations and Industrial processes all radiate data and create digital twins. These twins exist as sets of properties in an analytic layer that is in many hands at the moment but not really under multi stakeholder control. Whoever or whatever gains agency in and on that layer (which defines governance of the everyday) must grasp the practice and theory of assigning, withdrawing, validating and defining the very nature of entitlements; who/what/when/where exists how and why? 

The situation is hybrid in the sense that the digital twins actually begin to actuate back in the ‘analogue’ objects. This is the moment of ontological change. It demands a new toolset on the notion of identity itself. Uncoupling identity in thinking of “entitlements’ opens up a new field of value and services. In the case of self-driving cars this way of thinking could argue for liability not with real person-identities but with ‘entitlements’; any combination of a particular driver (with particular points on a passport and certain characteristics) and a particular car. This reasoning can be extended to any service in the network.

The current role for institutional actors towards the digital is to regulate and fine.  These tools have run their course. Creating digital twins of any item (goods, persons and industrial iot systems) has created a plane of agency that is invisible but running alongside analogue objects, persons and processes. Any governance of the ‘real, must include a governance of the virtual. 

We propose to build the governance model for this duality. This duality has an ‘extra’, as the artificial intelligence – which is basically the most experiential intelligence as it comes from sensors measuring the most mundane of occurrences: heat, speed, rhythm, noise, depth…… This than creates a ‘hybrid’.  Governance of this ‘hybrid’ is new.

We can build a better balance between centralization and decentralization as we can argue a governance from this position of the hybrid, not from an analogue set of assumptions about the world.

We will have participants coming from all over the world to attend the fifth annual Youth Global Forum. What do you think are the benefits that young entrepreneurs and leaders can gain from being engaged in conferences like ours?

Anyone under the age of 35, a Millennial and younger ‘I-Gens’, is growing up in a world that is fundamentally different to the one that build the current drivers of institutions, companies and governments. Your enemy is not the digital as your world will be fully hybrid you cannot reject it as you will reject what is your set of ‘fragmented’ selves. Just be and go be it. Dialogue helps.