It is time for an alternative digital platform

© Planet Studio
© Planet Studio

Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft: these so-called Big Five have a lot of influence on our lives. University Professor of Media and digital society José van Dijck recently received the Spinoza Prize, which she will use for research into possible solutions to the Big Five's influence on our lives. In TV programme Atlas, she talks about the alternative online platform she believes we need.

Public instead of commercial values

You may be thinking: There are already so many platforms. Won't it become unnecessarily complicated with yet another platform? According to Van Dijck, it is not so much about the need for an extra platform, but about an alternative platform. "A different type of platform based on very different values than, say, Facebook, WhatsApp or Instagram." Van Dijck explains this further on NWO Science's YouTube channel. "We see more and more that we get access to public sectors and public spaces through large digital platforms." With the Spinoza Prize, Van Dijck wants to focus on the question whether we can organise the digital society we live in today differently: not on based on commercial values, but based on public values.

Future of the digital society

Van Dijck wants to invest the Spinoza Prize in young researchers. Eventually, she also wants to invest in public organisations that can jointly develop platforms that offer alternatives to the Big Five. "Hopefully, in the future, we will be able to design our digital spaces around values such as privacy, security, democratic control and transparency," Van Dijck said. "In that digital society, I hope that technology doesn't just determine us, but that, above all, we co-determine technology."

More information
Watch the episode of Atlas