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2018 - Any Thing for Anyone? A New Digital Divide in Internet-of-Things Skills

Citation:
Van Deursen, A.J.A.M. & Mossberger, K. (in press). Any Thing for Anyone? A New Digital Divide in
Internet-of-Things Skills. Policy and Internet. 

Abstract:
The “Internet-of-Things” (IoT) promises social benefits across a range of policy areas, such as energy,
health, transportation, public safety, and environmental policy, but attention to the skills needed by
individuals who use it will be an important issue for public policy, in order to ensure full exploitation
of these technologies and to avoid unintended consequences. We argue that comparative advantages of the IoT to people will vary based on differentiated skills and resources, enabling smaller groups of
people to benefit, and disadvantaging others in new ways. This need for renewed attention to digital
skills and knowledge might at first seem paradoxical, given that many of these technologies operate
autonomously and behind the scenes. We discuss evolving digital technologies and related skills, and
explain from a systems perspective how the IoT differs from prior technologies, with a premium placed
on user knowledge and strategic skills. Finally, we bring together the issues of the digital divide and
IoT skills, and set an agenda for future IoT public policy and research.

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