David Souter

Inside the Digital Society: What will happen to the jobs?
Inside the Digital Society: What will happen to the jobs? 09 December 2019 David Souter

One of the most important underlying issues of the digital revolution that’s now underway is: what will happen to the jobs? Artificial intelligence, robotics and automated decision-making, it is clear, will displace a lot of jobs – professional as well as manual. It’s cheaper and more efficient for very many tasks than using humans. Robots and algorithms don’t fall sick, seek pensions or threaten strike action. They’re getting better all the time. Five questions arise: How many jo...

Inside the Digital Society: Where next for the IGF?
Inside the Digital Society: Where next for the IGF? 02 December 2019 David Souter

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) met last week, for the fourteenth time. I’m one of the few, I suspect, that has been to every one. Another of those few, APC’s former director Anriette Esterhuysen, has just been appointed by the UN Secretary General to chair the IGF’s Multistakeholder Advisory Group (the MAG), the unwieldy conference arrangements committee that does much to run the show (see picture). Some background – because (its fans don’t realise) not everyone knows about the...

Inside the Digital Society: So who are you including?
Inside the Digital Society: So who are you including? 25 November 2019 David Souter

Last week, writing about how we should review the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society, I emphasised its vision – especially its opening call for a ‘people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society’ (or ‘digital society’ as I think we should now call it). You can take each of these three notions and analyse them for their meaning now and in the...

Inside the Digital Society: A phone is not a phone
Inside the Digital Society: A phone is not a phone 18 November 2019 David Souter

Words change their meaning over time – but the words we use have lasting impacts on the ways in which we see things. This week I’m asking what we mean when we talk about the “telephone” (or “phone”). Some history (general and personal). And some questions about how that affects our current thinking. A brief history of the telephone Invented in the 1870s, but a luxury ...

Inside the Digital Society: Reviewing a World Summit
Inside the Digital Society: Reviewing a World Summit 11 November 2019 David Souter

It’s fifteen years since the World Summit on the Information Society – and the United Nations is pledged to hold a review of what has happened since the Summit in 2025. But are the outcomes of the Summit still relevant today, after fifteen years of breakneck change in technology and services? How should the UN go about reviewing it? This week’s blog is the speech I made last week to ...

Inside the Digital Society: How do we put the ethics in AI?
Inside the Digital Society: How do we put the ethics in AI? 04 November 2019 David Souter

Last week I wrote about ethical frameworks for artificial intelligence. There’s a proliferation of these being devised just now. We need them, I argued, because AI’s becoming so important and because so much about it’s new. “AI4People” I’d draw this week, I said, on one initiative among these, which is called AI4People, led by Luciano Floridi from Oxford University’s Dig...

Inside the Digital Society: Why do we need ethics in AI?
Inside the Digital Society: Why do we need ethics in AI? 28 October 2019 David Souter

Artificial intelligence is not such a new idea as many think. It’s long been a dream or nightmare in science fiction. The term itself was coined in the 1950s. There’s been talk of ethics round it, too, for more than half a century. But debates on this today are different, for several reasons. AI systems that affect our lives are now becoming widespread and much more perv...

Inside the Digital Society: What’s in the digital economy?
Inside the Digital Society: What’s in the digital economy? 28 October 2019 David Souter

UNCTAD is the United Nations’ Conference on Trade and Development – with a special focus on developing countries.   Most years since 2005 it's published an Information Economy Report, focusing on one aspect or another of the potential and the challenges of ICTs for e-commerce, enterprise development, cloud computing, software and the like. They’ve been among the best r...

Inside the Digital Society: The long and winding road to digital cooperation
Inside the Digital Society: The long and winding road to digital cooperation 14 October 2019 David Souter

Last year, the UN Secretary-General appointed a ‘High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation’ to think about ‘the ways we work together to address the social, ethical, legal and economic impact of digital technologies in order to maximise their benefits and minimise their harm.’ The future of ‘digital governance’ and its relation to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals were als...

Inside the Digital Society
Inside the Digital Society 07 October 2019 David Souter

It's a while since APC published my last blog from 'Inside the Information Society': nine months or so. Now feels like the right time to begin the blog again, but with some changes. Quite a few people have told me that they've missed this blog, which is gratifying. I reply that I've been taking time out to reflect on how the 'Information Society' is changing, the changing ways in which it'...

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