At the meeting of the Global Agenda Councils in Dubai it seems that everything is connected to everything else. One day into it my Council on Informed Societies has had joint discussions with at least half a dozen other Councils and many common themes and challenges are emerging.
The Informed Societies Council grew out of previous councils examining how the digital revolution was destroying the old models of the newspaper, journalism and the media. The old model was an industrial one based on print and broadcast technology that was centralized, one way, one to many and controllable. The new media are the antithesis – distributed, one to one and many to many and as such have an awesome neutrality.
So when it comes to informing ourselves as societies consumers of information are also producers with access to the recorded information but also the information contained in the brains of others. As such, being informed is also about being able to collaborate. But when there is no Walter Cronkite it also places a great responsibility in each of us to filter, be open to more diverse points of view, to protect our privacy, to develop our authentication skills and to design our lives to be informed and knowledgeable.
The same thing is happening in many other Councils. When it comes to being informed the educational system is critical. But the old industrial model of education was teacher focused, one way, once fits all and the student was isolated in the learning process. We’re now using the digital revolution to move to a new collaborative approach to pedagogy to be informed. Schools should also emphasize media literacy to avoid balkanization and enable young people to understand a new media landscape.
Ditto for the Council on Emerging Technologies. To be informed and educated in the networked world, everyone needs access and the mobile revolution is a key driver. The Council on Media and Entertainment is struggling with the same issues – how the digital revolution transforms business models and the experience for consumers. The Council in Institutional Governance is looking at how global institutions can use new collaborative approaches like digital brainstorms and challenges to engage the world’s citizens in solving global problems.
The Council on Innovation has discussed moving from Industrial models to networked models. The same thins is true for the Council on Telecommunications. We need a global high speed platform that is open and free and governments, providers and people everywhere need to defend the web from balkanization. The Council on Internet Security is also grappling with the same issues. I’ve yet to meet someone here who disagrees with Tim Berners-Lee’s view that the Web is critical not merely to the digital revolution but to our continued prosperity—and even our liberty. Like democracy itself, it needs defending, and we need to ensure the technological protocols and social conventions we set up respect basic human values.
The shift from industrial models to an age of networked intelligence is everywhere in the Dubai meeting.