Universal Impact

April 17, 2003

in COMsumers, Strategic Foresight

When I find myself keying in to thought pieces with alternate future scenarios I’m always looking for another edge;  a dynamic or systemic change that starts my early warning radar.  

In Are we doomed yet Salon poses an update on the Bill Joy Wired Article which I found far too gloomy. The Salon abstract:

The computer-networked, digital world poses enormous threats to humanity that no government, no matter how totalitarian, can stop. A fully open society is our best chance for survival.

What really caught my eye were these closing sentences:

If we allow our basic attitude toward knowledge to shift — if we get in the business of criminalizing, censoring, monitoring, and limiting various kinds of knowledge — I believe we will very quickly slip away from the ideals of universal education, open scientific enquiry, entrepreneurism, equality of opportunity, and the fecundity of creative effort that has made Western democracies so strong during the past two centuries.

I’ve never thought about the tech changes overturning the ideal of universal education.  I can’t imagine my children’s world will want that to happen.  Yet a few more Iraq’s and literacy could be encouraged round the world to go backward. I hope it not a symbol or early indicator of this.   

The counter to this is the open society that is alluded to.  We won’t have it unless we wrestle with the economics in such a way that everyone can be connected to the net. Who’s thinking out there on how to connect up everyone with a universal connection? A univeral right!

It’s worth the read, even if it just brings you back to using voice recognition software and thinking more about nanobots. 

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