Inside the digital society
David Souter writes a weekly column for APC, 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.
Predicting the future’s hard but there are two global trends that seem fairly certain. Digitalisation and climate change are likely to shape our future more than anything else that we can see at present. How are they linked? Or, to put it another way, why aren’t they linked more?
This week, I’ll comment on a new view of long-term employment and unemployment in the digital age, from Oxford economist Daniel Susskind. A World Without Work, he calls it. I’ll agree with his core arguments but challenge the optimism of his conclusion.
Two things are clear: how much has changed in terms of the technology and how little’s changed in public discourse.
As the Digital Society develops, more and more people worry that it won’t be the Utopia that internet pioneers once dreamed of; that it might even turn out to more like the dystopias that have featured in film and fiction over the years.
What's happening to employment? Last week I looked at the big picture. This week's focus is on platform jobs, ‘the gig economy’.
One of the most important underlying issues of the digital revolution that’s now underway is: what will happen to the jobs?
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. Some background – because not everyone knows about the IGF. Some comments on its progress. And some challenges for Anriette Esterhuysen, who has just been appointed by the UN Secretary General to chair the IGF’s Multistakeholder Advisory Gro...
What will ‘people-centred’ mean when decisions that matter are mainly taken by computer algorithms? What is development, or ‘sustainable development’, as now preferred? This week, what is inclusion?
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”.
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? How should the UN go about reviewing it?