29 November 2018

José van Dijck on values in the digital environment

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On 28 November 2018, ScienceGuide published an article concerning the first Digital Society conference organised by VSNU. Professor José van Dijck (Media and Culture Studies) was present to speak on values in the digital environment.

Prof. dr. José van Dijck. Fotografie: Milette Raats
Professor José van Dijck. Photo by: Milette Raats

Van Dijck discussed the way our society’s norms and values are reflected in the digital environment. According to Van Dijck, “applications come with their own implicit values and these values should be continuously tested to public values.”

Many of these applications are in hands of a few big tech giants, such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook. These companies are all located outside of Europe. “We don’t have much say on the technological infrastructure of our digital eco system in Europe,” Van Dijck concludes.


This comes with a number of risks. For example, tech companies increasingly focus on education. Amazon, for one, considers ‘the child as a customer’. “In Europe, education is generally a public service,” Van Dijck says. Therefore, it is important to measure the values in a digital environment to those of society.

José van Dijck

José van Dijck is a Media and Culture scholar and is also connected to Institutions for Open Societies, an interdisciplinary research group focused on the development and growth of open societies around the world.