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Dark Scenarios as a tool for FTA: Safeguards in a World of Ambient Intelligence (SWAMI) PowerPoint Presentation
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Second International Seville Seminar on Future-Oriented Technology Analysis (FTA): Impacts on policy and decision making 28th- 29th September 2006. Dark Scenarios as a tool for FTA: Safeguards in a World of Ambient Intelligence (SWAMI). Y.Punie, I.Maghiros & S.Delaitre.

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Second International Seville Seminar on Future-Oriented Technology Analysis (FTA): Impacts on policy and decision making28th- 29th September 2006

Dark Scenarios as a tool for FTA:

Safeguards in a World of Ambient Intelligence


Y.Punie, I.Maghiros & S.Delaitre



SWAMI Dark Scenarios

IPTS – ICT Unit: Research agenda

  • Problem and policy driven:
    • What can ICT do for the broader socio-economic challenges of the EU (focus on Lisbon goals)?
  • Prospective:
    • How to develop Europe into a knowledge society?
    • What are the mid to long term R&D strategies needs with regard to European innovation in ICT and
    • What are emerging ICT driven areas Europe should be active in?
  • Scientific:
    • Understanding how technical inventions in ICT become successful innovation/societal realities

SWAMI Dark Scenarios

IPTS – ICT Unit: Research activities

  • IS & Growth
    • Competitiveness of the ICT R&D system in Europe
    • IST based growth models and challenges (regional, global/Asia and NMS)
  • E-Applications
    • ICTs for Inclusion and Quality of Life
    • The future of eServices – Web 2.0 – Proactive role of users
  • Techno-Economic Foresight in the Information Society (TEFIS)
    • European Prospective in the Information Society (EPIS)
    • e-Identity charter

SWAMI Dark Scenarios

Introducing Ambient Intelligence

  • AmI is convergence of
    • Ubiquitous Computing
      • Not only pc but also non-pc devices (everyday objects);
      • These devices will ‘sense’;
      • These devices will be ‘smart’;
    • Ubiquitous Communication
      • These devices will ‘communicate’;
      • These devices will be ‘connected’
    • Ubiquitous Interfaces
      • Intelligent User Friendly Interfaces
      • Pro-active, context-aware and personalised
  • ISTAG vision: human-centred computing at the service of mankind
  • ISTAG Scenarios on AmI (2000) - AmI in FP6 (2002-2006)
  • Emergent property – next generation ICT

SWAMI Dark Scenarios

SWAMI Dark Scenarios

  • SWAMI Project (2005-2006)
  • Identify and analyse the SELT issues related to identity, privacy and security in the future Ambient Intelligence (AmI)

Dark scenario objectives

  • Identify and highlight potential vulnerabilities and associated threats
  • Develop/propose safeguards to address vulnerabilities and threats

The need to develop dark scenarios

  • Contrast predominance of “bright scenarios” and bright futures
  • ICT – AmI not the domain of traditional risk analysis and assessment
  • Less risky today but not in knowledge-based information society
  • Alert policy makers and RTD actors as to the need to develop safeguards
  • Support the realisation of AmI

SWAMI Dark Scenarios

SWAMI Dark Scenarios methodology

  • No unique methodology
  • Not predicting or forecasting the future
  • Looking for an understanding as to anticipate and work towards the futures
  • A tool for stimulating debate, structuring thinking, ‘what if’ games, aiding in synthesis, and raising awareness intuitively
  • Approach similar to mainstream scenario exercises (iterative and analytical)

Specific to SWAMI

  • Alternative visions of future we do NOT want to realize
  • No doom scenarios where everything goes wrong
  • Scenarios “not only” end in themselves “but also” an instrument for safeguards
  • Realistic & plausible scenarios: extrapolate from current trends both in terms of situations and in terms of technologies…

SWAMI Dark Scenarios

Literature review

Experts workshop

Internal workshop

Drafting scenarios

Technology check

Reality check

Scenario stories

Scenario analysis


AmI technologies

AmI applications




SWAMI Scenario Approach


SWAMI Dark Scenarios

Four Dark Scenarios

Individual / micro level

Scenario 1: A typical family(at home, at work, outdoors)

Scenario 2: Seniors on a journey(travel and health issues)

Private Sphere / Private concerns

Public Sphere / Public concerns

Scenario 3: Corporate Boardroom & court-case(data aggregator)

Scenario 4: Risk Society(Digital Divide, environment, traffic & crowd management)

Society / macro level


SWAMI Dark Scenarios

Dark scenario 1: a Typical Family

  • Story overview
    • A typical family in 3 different but blurring environments at Home, at Work and also outdoors, making use of AmI devices and services. System vulnerabilities and crime opportunities are exploited as the family leads an everyday life.

Different scenes

Scene 1 – At Home: Digital blackmail, unfounded suspicions due to extensive profiling, impacts on work and home environments.

Scene 2 – At Work: Shopping while at work, data laundering, accidental mistake and consequences.

Scene 3 – At the Park: Location-based advertising, irritation, consequences, dependence on AmI, exclusion; erroneous identification, AmI facilitated crime, usability/costs.


SWAMI Dark Scenarios

Dark scenario 2: Seniors on a journey

  • Story overview
    • Focuses on senior citizens and their health related needs while on a bus tour abroad. An exploited vulnerability in the traffic system causes an accident, raising many different issues such as: individual needs vs. economies of scale; reliance on AmI infrastructure; equal and fair access, usability and accessibility principles.
  • Different scenes
    • Scene 1 - News from the police report: Senior citizen dies after bus accident
    • Scene 2 - Travel preparation and check-in procedure for public transportation
    • Scene 3 - Traffic supported by ambient intelligence
    • Scene 4 - Emergency situation
    • Scene 5 - Ambient intelligence and medical care

SWAMI Dark Scenarios

Dark scenario 3: Corporate Boardroom

  • Story overview
    • A ‘Data Aggregator’ successfully corners the data market for public and private sector clients until their business model is exposed to society-at-large through insider data theft, and fraudulent data use. Media reports uncover the scandal and a court case puts a stop to abuse. However, it will take the victims much more time to gain control over their personal data that have been exposed.
  • Different scenes
    • Scene 1 – Management Board Meeting: data aggregation and mining, data theft, dependency on AmI infrastructure, risks in business setting.
    • Scene 2 – The Court case: future legal framework does not allow misuse of abuse of data collected, democratic principles prevail.

SWAMI Dark Scenarios

Dark scenario 4: Risk Society

  • Story overview
    • Different stories on likely adverse consequences of AmI for society at large including public action against personalised profiling, global scale digital environmental divides and public life disruptions. In all cases AmI diffusion is both widening and bridging existing gaps.
  • Different scenes
    • Scene 1 – The Anti-Personalised Profiling Action Group (APPAG).
    • Scene 2 – AmI Divides
    • Scene 3 – Public Life Disrupted by Virus Attack
    • Scene 4 - AmI-system aided mass risk management

SWAMI Dark Scenarios

Contents of dark scenarios


SWAMI Dark Scenarios

Dark scenarios: Safeguards

  • A multiplicity of threats & vulnerabilities -> multiplicity of safeguards
  • Technological
    • Minimal data collection, transmission and storage
    • Data and software security
    • Privacy protection in networking
    • Authorisation and access control
  • Socio-economic
    • Standards, Audits
    • Trust
    • Guidelines for ICT research
    • Accessibility and social inclusion
    • Raising public awareness
  • Legal and regulatory
    • Preserving the core of privacy and other human rights
    • Data protection and security
    • Consumer protection law and electronic commerce
    • Interoperability and international co-operation

SWAMI Dark Scenarios

Impact dark scenarios…


  • Formalisation of risk assessment / management process with regard to the risks posed by AmI to security and privacy.
  • Investment in an awareness campaign specifically focused on AmI.
  • Review of the existing legal and regulatory framework with respect to AmI.
  • Proactive in the development of a more comprehensive international co-operation framework
  • Ensuring the projects that it funds take questions of privacy, security and trust into account

SWAMI Dark Scenarios

Dark scenarios: Conclusions (1/2)

Zero-risk society is not possible or desirable

  • Issues are widespread: Varied, Wide and Deep
    • Varied: AmI infrastructure touches upon all aspects of everyday life
    • Wide: Dark situations can encompass “dark feelings” (ranging from irksome to burdensome; and entail annoyance and embarrassment) but also “dark experiences” such as theft, harassment, accidents etc.
    • Deep: Impact can be severe (e.g. digital divide) and difficult to revoke (e.g.ID Theft)
  • Safeguards need to be widespread as well: SELT
  • Impact
    • Policymakers
    • RTD and designers
    • Wider audience

SWAMI Dark Scenarios

Dark scenarios: Conclusions (2/2)

  • Specific
    • Few qualitatively new risks identified
    • Current behavioural patterns will induce more risk in tomorrow’s AmI world: ICTs – AmI will become more “risky”
  • Methodological
    • Successfully highlighted potential vulnerabilities & associated threats
    • More than appealing scripts: detailed scenario analysis in terms of technologies /devices, applications, drivers, issues, legal analysis
    • Dark scenarios need to be realistic and plausible: ‘reality and technology’ checks
    • ‘Delicate’ exercise: how dark can you be?
    • Maybe not dark scenarios but just realistic ones ….

SWAMI Dark Scenarios

    • Thank you
  • IPTS Team: Y.Punie, I.Maghiros & S.Delaitre
  • SWAMI Consortium
  • ISI-Fraunhofer, VUB, VTT, Trilateral research & IPTS