Network of Excellence in Internet Science

FOCAL

Foundations for Collective Awareness Platforms

University of Athens, Dept of Informatics and Telecommunications, University of Florence, Centre for the Study of Complex Dynamics, Cardiff University

Collective Awareness Platforms (CAPs) are currently viewed as a promising vehicle for unlocking the tremendous potential that technology-enabled, highly-connected, distributed and participatory human beings can bring about for the benefit of the society and the environment. However, CAPs largely rely on the collaboration and contributions of human beings with very different personality attributes and varying exposure to social influence. Their behaviours combine in different proportions (pure) altruism and rational selfishness (i.e., economic man), exhibit psychological and cognitive biases and are shaped by real and virtual communities they participate in. Moreover, many CAPs instances need to overcome the concerns of end users about the privacy of their data and locations; again, the intensity of these concerns varies broadly across the (candidate) contributors. Last, but not least, CAPs usually represent a paradigm of service provision that deviates from familiar rules and prescriptions of market and may stand competitively against purely commercial alternatives. For all these reasons, their wide adoption, sustainability, and effectiveness presents major challenges.

The proposed action will leverage the skills and relevant work of its three-partner Consortium to systematically explore all different dimensions inherent in CAPs, including the market, social- and cognitive psychological dimensions and their implications for their design and the user participation in them. These dimensions will drive a characterization/classification of CAPs, which will include the end user participation incentives, sometimes monetary and more often non-monetary, the value of the private information shared in the platform, their vulnerability to the free riding phenomena, and account for the different entities/players in the CAPs ecosystem. The work of FOCAL will inevitably involve literature surveys across widely different knowledge domains, but also preliminary efforts to derive novel modelling ideas and design experiments that will quantitatively capture the CAPs characterization attributes.

FOCAL mainly contributes to the efforts of EINS JRA1 to develop a theory for Internet Science; in particular, it addresses the activities in JRA1 task R1.4 on “Collective intelligence”. At the same time, its work on CAPs characterization feeds the JRA6 activities on virtual communities (primarily task R6.1), while it is expected to interact with JRA5 (on the privacy aspects) and JRA7 (on aspects of resilience and vulnerability).

Deliverables

Open Call Project Focal Deliverable 1: Characterization and typologies of CAPs

Open Call Project Focal Deliverable 2: Collective awareness platforms: privacy, incentives, and market dimensions

Open Call Project Focal Deliverable 3: Report on project management, and dissemination/exploitation of its results