The European Physical Journal Special Topics

, Volume 226, Issue 2, pp 313–320 | Cite as

From remote-controlled to self-controlled citizens

  • D. HelbingEmail author
Open Access
Regular Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Information in Physics and Beyond


The digital revolution will make data abundant and cheap. Moving from a time of darkness into a digital age with information overload, we will need suitable filters. However, those who build these filters will determine what we see. This creates possibilities to influence people's decisions such that they become remotely controlled rather than make their decisions on their own. Since omnibenevolent rule cannot be supposed and top-down control is flawed for several reasons, another approach is needed. It can be found with distributed control, collective intelligence and participation. “Nervousnet” will be presented as a feasible specimen of a Citizen Web.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Open Access This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Delft University of TechnologyCD Delftthe Netherlands

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