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.
In the current corona crisis, it’s important that we focus on the future as well as on the present. The digital will play a big part in recovery.
The priority at present isn’t digital, but like anything today the coronavirus crisis has implications that are so: how does the digital world impinge on the coronavirus?; how might the coronavirus affect the digital world?
Political information and communication ecosystems have been changing lately. In many countries, social media and other online sources have been displacing newspapers and broadcasting, especially among the young. David Souter shares some thoughts on the implications of this for press freedom and why it matters.
In this week's column, David Souter explores how in the digital world we often assume that digital access improves access to services. And so it does – for most people in most cases, but not for all in all. Those designing policies and plans for digital access to public (and private) services should remember always that the real aim is access to services not digitalisation, he states.
The world thirty years from now will be as different from today, in terms of its technology, as today’s world is from that of the early twentieth century. Digitalisation’s changes will interact with others, especially with climate change and with the shifting sands of geopolitics.
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.