NGI FORWARD

Explorations in Next Generation Internet
 
As part of the NGI Forward project, DELab UW is supporting the European Commission’s Next Generation Internet initiative with identifying emerging technologies and social issues related to the Internet. Our team has been experimenting with various text mining methods to discover trends and hidden patterns in different types of online media.
Forward's three key pillars:

Developing a cutting-edge data-driven methodology for identifying early signals of new trends & technologies.


Mapping the ecosystems & networks surrounding these key topics, evaluating their social, legal, technological, ethical & economic contexts.


Creating a value-driven vision for what the future internet could and should look like, involving a wide variety of voices across Europe.

Methodology

Unique terms: 0+

Media articles:
0
Scientific articles:
0

Analysis period: four years plus six months (covid)


Trend analysis

  • Analysis based on the frequency of terms (unigrams and bigrams) in the texts
  • Average monthly change in the analysed term's frequency is calculated by OLS regressions
  • Qualitative analysis of the top 1000 trending terms

Co-occurrence analysis

  • Exploring the relationship between topics
  • E.g. which trending terms are mentioned together with the term “fake news”
  • The number of articles containing both terms is divided by the number of articles including the main term of analysis (e.g. "fake news")

Sentiment analysis

  • VADER, an open-source lexicon and rule-based sentiment analysis tool
  • Sentiment score: between -1 (extremely negative) and 1 (extremely positive)
  • Calculated for paragraphs containing analysed terms
  • Track changes in sentiment over time
  • Identify most positive and negative co-occurring terms

Topic modelling

  • Each article is a mixture of topics, and each topic is a collection of characteristic terms
  • Latent Dirichlet Allocation: a popular method to discover the topics and terms
  • Unsupervised machine learning: it is enough to specify some parameters (e.g. the number of topics) to receive results

Issue mapping

  • Articles are categorised across two dimensions: geography (EU vs US) and covered topic (social vs technological)
  • Words are ranked based on their frequency in articles classified as social and non-social (technological)

Main Programming Tools



Topic identification

most trending NGI related keywords are identified

Grouped into wider areas
The size of the bubble is based on the regression coefficient
Bigger bubble: more robust trend


100 most trending terms over the full analysed period: are they trending also over shorter timespans?

Umbrella topics

Based on the trending terms, we identified 8 key NGI topics

Hover on a topic to show keywords and a short description

Trustworthy
information
Blockchain &
crypto
Online
privacy
Sustainability &
climate crisis
Trustworthy information

The spread of fake news, misinformation and the decline of trust in reliable sources create a profound challenge for the functioning of democracies and societies. While regulating platforms or implementing advanced topic filtering algorithms are among possible solutions, bringing back trust to written words may be far more complicated.

Blockchain & crypto

Blockchain has been long regarded as a transformative technology with large disruptive potential. Blockchain technologies may play a central role in the future of social media, financial services and in other intermediation services. As of today, the most widespread implementation of blockchain is related to cryptocurrencies. As an emerging technology, blockchain raises pressing regulatory issues.

Online privacy

Much has changed for online privacy in recent years. GDPR was a landmark for personal data protection in the EU and beyond, and the debate is now largely about how to regulate online platforms, not whether regulation is required. However, online privacy is not only threatened by the business models of tech giants, but also by applications like Pegasus and other non-transparent practices of foreign and national agencies.

Sustainability & climate crisis

Climate change remains humanity’s top challenge, with great impact on technological and social development. Besides already available consumer products, emerging technologies such as AI and quantum computing may play a significant role in reducing the harmful effects of global warming. However, the content crisis on social media divides society by popularising fake news. Therefore, Internet services play a greater role in the fight against climate change that is beyond the carbon footprint of using them. Reducing the spread of fake news and propaganda will be key to build a global consensus in the necessity to take more significant steps.

Safer online environments

Cyberviolence in many shapes and forms is a growing concern, and it has a significant impact on an increasing number of people, LGBTQ+, ethnic minorities, women and children in particular. It will be vital for a more human-centric Internet to build safe online environments. For this to happen, a range of issues needs to be taken into consideration, including the role of social media providers and the protection of free expression. Big tech increasingly uses algorithms to combat the spread of discrimination, hate speech, online extremism and child exploitation. In the 2019 alone, Facebook claims to have flagged almost 20M hate speech posts using AI systems before they were reported by users. However, the efficiency of such solutions remains questionable.

Democracy

The state of public debate is heavily influenced by social media, the spread of fake news and conspiracy theories. Since the Russian interference scandal in the US elections, and the Cambridge Analytica campaign during the Brexit referendum, there are increasing warning signs that elections can be manipulated through social media.

Market competition

The digital transformation has a profound impact on the economy. Platformisation changed the market dynamics, facilitating the development of giant companies. Competition policy became highly relevant not only in the case of existing services (e.g. social media), but also for emerging technologies, such as cryptocurrencies or 5G. While the US has been less active in regulating market competition, e.g. in the case of Facebook acquisition of rival Instagram and Whatsapp, the EU is leading the discussion on ensuring competition in the Digital Single Market.

Ethical AI

The fast development of artificial intelligence algorithms and their increased use in facial recognition and autonomous weapons are among the most important identified trends. The use of facial recognition by companies, governments, law enforcement and the military has been in the centre of heated debates. Recent examples, such as Google's censored search engine developed for the Chinese market ('Project Dragonfly'), instances of algorithmic bias in criminal cases, racially targeted ads and “differential” pricing, and the use of Facebook data for voter manipulation, all raise serious concerns. Further research is needed in order to develop targeted ethical frameworks for the development and implementation of new technologies.

Safer online
environments
Democracy
Market
competition
Ethical
AI
Choose topic for deep dive (or skip, if you want to browse through all topics)


Co-occurrences

The goal is to explore the relationship between trending terms
The figures reveal which terms were mentioned frequently in the same article

Trustworthy information

Blockchain & crypto

Online privacy

Sustainability & climate crisis

Safer online environments

Democracy

Market competition

Ethical AI

Sentiments

Aim: to track the public perception of issues and identify the positive and negative news stories related to the analysed terms
Sentiment score: between -1 (extremely negative) and 1 (extremely positive) calculated for paragraphs containing analysed terms
blockchain technology
libra
blockchain technology

Most positiveMost negative
hyperledger fabricvenezuela
supply chainshutdown
decentralisedecb
consentprotest
digital identitysanctions

libra

Most positiveMost negative
coinbasepolitical ads
fiat currencypolitical parties
stablecoinsmisinformation
calibrapresident donald
central bankersftc

greenhouse gas
climate change
greenhouse gas

Most positiveMost negative
heat pumpsgeoengineering
autonomyclimate emergency
plantbasedextinction
solar windprotest
electric vehiclesdemocracy

climate change

Most positiveMost negative
electric vehiclesdeep fakes
aiconspiracy
bezoswildfires
qubitsvaccine
supply chainheatwave

tech giants
anticompetitive
selfregulation
chinese telecoms
tech giants

Most positiveMost negative
ikeainfowars
sonosconspiracy
qubitstvcs
smart speakercontent moderation
decentralisedpolitical ads

anticompetitive

Most positiveMost negative
libra associationmodem chips
duckduckgodiscriminatory
cryptocurrency€2.4bn
section 230protest
fortniteclegg

selfregulation

Most positiveMost negative
blockchainbasedchristchurch
5gdeepfakes
gdprjuul
facial recognitionterrorist content
tiktoksurveillance capitalism

chinese telecoms

Most positiveMost negative
strayerhuawei cfo
gavinus sanctions
5g deploymentskycom
ban huaweiextradition
blanket baniran

democracy
political ads
democracy

Most positiveMost negative
climate changemyanmar
migrationfarright
bernersleefree expression
gdprconspiracy theories
big techchinese government

political ads

Most positiveMost negative
media literacyaiq
factual informationauthoritarian regimes
coordinated disinformationconspiracy theories
democratic processlgbtq
election interferencemueller

hate speech
human rights
discriminatory
hate speech

Most positiveMost negative
jonathan zittrainmaza
gdprhomophobic
bernersleerobinson
consentrohingya
factchecking8chan

human rights

Most positiveMost negative
yuval noahweapons systems
supply chainrohingya
gdprnso group
5gpegasus
tech giantskhashoggi

discriminatory

Most positiveMost negative
finance ministermisconduct
le maireantifascist
pelosiracial profiling
avaazdeepfakes
propublicainfowars

project maven
facial recognition
project maven

Most positiveMost negative
openailethal autonomous
democracyweapons systems
defense infrastructurehuman oversight
dodban
jedi contractamazon rekognition

facial recognition

Most positiveMost negative
bytonafr
thinkpaduighurs
voice assistantmetropolitan police
zoomcardiff
mlhikvision

faceapp
gdpr
faceapp

Most positiveMost negative
aigoncharov
facial recognitionbias
ethicstiktok
ftcchinese
consentban

gdpr

Most positiveMost negative
ccpawhois
voice assistantmarriott
face recognitiontiktok
data portabilitydisinformation
mozillairish data

content moderation
disinformation
content moderation

Most positiveMost negative
trustworthynationalist
recognitiongraphic violence
gdprhateful content
midterm electionsselfharm
warrenantisemitic

disinformation

Most positiveMost negative
cryptocurrencyespionage
european electionsinfowars
5galex jones
librapresident trump
gdprconspiracy theories

LDA

Topic modelling assumes that each article is a mixture of topics, and each topic is a collection of characteristic terms
You can explore the most characteristic words for the topics
The size of the bubbles corresponds to the size of the topic, while the location suggests how similar the various topics are to each other

Trustworthy information

Blockchain & crypto

Online privacy

Sustainability & climate crisis

Safer online environments

Democracy

Market competition

Ethical AI

Issue mapping

Articles are classified in two dimensions: EU/US, social issue/technology

EU axis: articles from European sources or concerning Europe
Social issues axis: articles containing a sufficient number of words from a pre-defined list of social topics
Mapping trending words with article type based on number of occurrences
Top right corner: EU articles on social issues
Bottom left corner: US articles on technology

Trends

Interactively explore relevant keywords. The terms are trending now or were trending in the past

Go back to topic choice

About

NGI Forward has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Grant Agreement no 825652. The content of this website does not represent the opinion of the European Union, and the European Union is not responsible for any use that might be made of such content.

Zenodo: data GitLab: codes
Icons attribution:

Toggle presentation mode
Click to show extended description