Inside the digital society

David Souter writes a column for APC twice a month, looking at different aspects of the information society, development and rights. David’s pieces take a fresh look at many of the issues that concern APC and its members, with the aim of provoking discussion and debate. Issues covered include internet governance and sustainable development, human rights and the environment, policy, practice and the use of ICTs by individuals and communities.

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 the UN’s Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) in response to those question...

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 Digital Ethics Lab. This aims to lay foundations for what it calls a “Good AI Society”. (...

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? 21 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 02 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'...

Inside the Information Society: Measuring the impact of ICTs on sustainable development
Inside the Information Society: Measuring the impact of ICTs on sustainable development 11 March 2019 David Souter

Measuring the Information (or Digital) Society sounds as if it should be simple. After all, it’s digital! If we’re worried about the volume of data that’s gathered about us every time we click a mouse or tap a smartscreen, surely there must be more than enough to tell us all we need to know about how the Information Society’s evolving. Not so, and especially not so when it com...

Inside the Information Society: Fifteen years in fifteen minutes
Inside the Information Society: Fifteen years in fifteen minutes 14 February 2019 David Souter

David Souter's blog returns from its winter break with a review of the fifteen years since the World Summit on the Information Society – and how it should be viewed in future. Starting with this instalment, the Information Society will be published twice a month.   This post is a revised version of a presentation ...

Inside the Information Society: Jobs and employment policies in the digital age
Inside the Information Society: Jobs and employment policies in the digital age 11 December 2018 David Souter

Last week I wrote about some of the policy and regulatory issues that arise from the accelerating trend towards a digital society and new technologies such as artificial intelligence. This week some thoughts about employment issues that arise from that same trend: issues that are increasingly being discussed but on which we have very little evidence to base conclusions. Visions of the future As...

Inside the Information Society: Making policy for the digital age
Inside the Information Society: Making policy for the digital age 03 December 2018 David Souter

Some people view the future with excitement. Others look on it in trepidation. That’s especially so as we accelerate towards a digital society.   To one side, cyber-optimists imagine a world in which technology cures all our ills and illnesses (some even think that it might conquer death). To the other, cyber-pessimists fear one in which we lose control to our digital crea...

« Go back