The future of ...

Erwin van Lun predict the long term future and blogs about developments today gradually shaping that future. Also in Dutch

Category: Legislation

Legislation is made to protect the people in a village, a country or another community. It is meant to solve problems, originated in a certain time frame. Legislation by default is behind the times. It can really slow down innovation. That’s why we always need to keep thinking about legislation: are the rules still valid in this time frame? Politics are also discussed in this category.

European gambling sites allowed

Soon European gambling sites will be allowed, and national gambling monopolies disappear. That is what the EU wants (em, Dutch). Thus the European market slowly evolves. Then, as a result of other developments, a world market follows, with a world government, world legislation, world police and one world currency. This will take at least another fifty years though.

EU wants integration of music market

European commissioner Viviane Reding (Information & Media) has plans for a European music market, although national copyright laws are in her way. Licenses for copyright, which have to be taken care of separately in every country now, could cover several countries, or even the whole European Union (dc, Dutch). In the past local copyright was introduced, like countries borders were a couple of years before that. The world however isn’t divided in countries: we have done that ourselves at some point. To protect us from evil from outside. As this threat is fading, borders slowly fade too (the process of denationalizing), and we have to start thinking of copyright on a worldwide level. Let’s start with Europe. This will prove to be hard enough…

EC wants European telecoms authority

The European Commission wants a new European telecoms authority which should stimulate the competition throughout Europe, by removing hindrances (em, Dutch). The European market slowly develops its basis. First in the financial market, partly due to the introduction of the Euro, now also in the telecoms market. In a next step, the physical infrastructure and its usage will be standardized. Then suppliers can easily cross the borders, grow, and work more efficient. In the end this will lead to better products for the consumers, a wider range of products, and lower prices. The most important barrier to be taken though, is the ‘fear for Europe’. That is why this process is very slow (but sure).

Killing robots

Protection device supplier Taser International (which also supplies to consumers) considers equipping robots with weapons. The American army already has been using PackBot, made by iRobot, equipped with deadly weapons. A couple of hundreds of these robots are currently active in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Taser plan takes this a step further however. In their plan, the police can use robots against civilians. Thus robots could give electronic shocks to criminals until the police arrives (via ns). The question now is, what happens if the robots make mistakes through which people are accidentally wounded or even killed.


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Computerized justice

According to Ph.D. student Ronald van den Hoogen, through e-justice it should be possible to make some judgments completely computerized in the future. Just provide the facts and the circumstances, and the verdict can be made. This way, IT can take over simple and repetitive actions from overbooked court rooms. At the moment, various courts experiment with digital files, they test the possibility to hear suspects and witnesses through video connections, parties can electronically send their process files to court, and more and more judgments can be found on the internet (uu, Dutch). The world keeps developing. There are cameras everywhere, so we feel safe, we discover that punishment-on-the-spot works best, and at the same time we computerize jurisdiction. The time is coming close when we will directly see a fine when we drive our car too fast, when we drive drunk, or when we drive too close to other cars. Or when we bother other people, when we illegally go into certain places, or when we use discriminating words. Anything the majority of people thinks we shouldn’t do, will be checked automatically. This way ‘Big Brother’, although originally forecasted for 1948, continuously comes a small step closer, and might finally be there in 2048. These developments from the legal world also contribute to that.

Teenagers allowed to work longer

13 and 14 year olds are allowed to work more hours per week in the Netherlands. From now on, they can work 7 hours on Saturday instead of 6. During the week they are allowed to start one hour earlier: at 7 am instead of 8 am. Furthermore, they are allowed to perform in films and on stages more often. (ld, Dutch). Children this way get responsibilities at an earlier age. The border between learning and working will slowly disappear over the coming years. Starting at a young age, children will deliver small contributions to society. They will spend less time learning in school, but will work, in cooperation with other students, in projects for companies and governments, physically together but also especially virtually connected. The lifelong student thus returns in some respect. On the other hand they will learn longer, as the world society needs more specializations. And in a changing society it will be very normal for a fifty year old person to start a new education, or at least be less productive, as jobs will change rapidly, while this fifty year old will still have to work for twenty five years (for less hours of course, but still). Letting go of the restrictions for young children is part of this development.

Apple must price evenly in Europe

The European Commission will research price arrangements between Apple and record companies about the distribution through iTunes. This distribution differs per European country. A person from the Netherlands can only buy music through the Dutch iTunes store (by checking the origin of the credit card). According to the European Commission, lots of rules are violated here, as companies are not allowed to apply different prices within Europe (am, Dutch). Europe slowly becomes one. Now through this step; in a next step copyright will be legislated on a European level as well. For music, for films, and for games. In distribution, borders then fade too. Once something is produced, it will be directly available for everybody, at the same price. First in Europe, but earlier or later anywhere in the world. This is a small step in that direction.

 
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