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ICTP 310: The internet we should want in 2024 and beyond, with Matthew Cowen of dgtlfutures | ICT Pulse – The leading technology blog in the Caribbean


In our third instalment of the series, The internet we should want in 2024 and beyond, Matthew Cowen of dgtlfutures, shares his thoughts on the subject. Though the topic is broad, our conversation touches on, among other things: social media; the state of advertising on the Internet; major trends or technological advancements that are shaping the internet today; and current and emerging challenges regarding the internet of which we should be more aware.

This episode is also available on SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Amazon Music!!

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “What do I want out of the internet?” It may sound like a stupid question, but the internet has become integral to almost all areas of our lives. When it is available and working well, we take it for granted. When we do not have internet connectivity, to varying degrees, we cannot function.

To an onlooker, it may seem strange that we have ceded so much of our time, and so much control of our lives, to technologies, services and platforms we access via the internet – often without giving much thought to why and the consequences inherent in those choices. However, it is never too late to start that introspection, which has been the impetus for this series of interviews on The internet we should want in 2024 and beyond.

In having conversations on the same topic with different people, we get different perspectives – none of which are wrong. Together, they provide a more holistic view of the internet, which in turn may help us to develop a more comprehensive and informed view of this tool that increasingly, we cannot live without.  

Introducing our guest

Matthew Cowen

Matthew Cowen is an IT veteran who has been based in Martinique for 20 years and has over 30 years of experience in the industry. He specialises in researching the digital ecosystems of the Caribbean. He founded a boutique consultancy called dgtlfutures that helps micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) develop and implement digital transformation strategies and works closely with companies digitalising their operations chain.

Matthew is also involved in Internet Governance in the region and is an ARIN Fellow. He authors a newsletter called The Future is Digital, which you can find on his site, matthewcowen.org, along with a regularly updated blog on his current work. Matthew also teaches various tech-related subjects at the degree and master’s levels in three further education establishments in Martinique.

Insights into our conversation

One of the key reasons I invited Matthew to discuss the topic, the internet we should want, is that he has been thinking a lot about technology, its impact and its implications. Hence, early in our conversation, he opted not to focus on the ‘bright and shiny’ technology developments that tend to attract attention, but instead, sought to highlight the more practicable aspects with Caribbean users and countries in mind.

However, the internet we should want is not a simple topic. The rate of internet and technology development is so fast it is almost impossible to fully digest all that is occurring and how it relates to and affects the rest of the ecosystem. Thus, it is crucial that we proactively and regularly interrogate the technologies we are using and consider their impact on our lives and societies, which is what conversations such as these aim to do.

Below are key questions posed during our discussion with Matthew.

  1. How has the landscape of the internet evolved over the past 5—10 years? And what are your thoughts on the current state of internet penetration and use in the Caribbean region, and how it compares to previous years?
  2. Following from social media, what are your thoughts on the state of advertising on the Internet?
  3. What are the major trends or technological advancements that are shaping the internet today?
  4. What are some of the current and emerging challenges regarding the internet of which we should be more aware?
  5. You are becoming more active in the Internet Governance space, which has a lot of moving parts with lots of meetings, lots of stakeholders, and lots of competing interests. What are the important IG developments that might have you concerned or that we should be aware of?
  6. The internet has become integral to everyday life. What are your thoughts on how we in the Caribbean currently use the internet, versus how we should be using the internet?

We would love to hear your thoughts!

Do leave us a comment either here beneath this article, or on our Facebook or LinkedIn pages, or via Twitter, @ICTPulse.

Also, if you or a member of your network is interested in joining us for an episode, do get in touch.

Let’s make it happen!

Select links

Below are links to some of the organisations and resources that either were mentioned during the episode, or otherwise, might be useful:

Image credits: M Cowen; Pete Linforth (Pixabay); Tracy Le Blanc (Pexels); wastedgeneration (Pixabay)

Music credit: The Last Word (Oui Ma Chérie), by Andy Narrell

Podcast Editing Support: Mayra Bonilla Lopez

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