Thursday, November 17, 2005

A place to discuss and get lifted

Met up with Laurent Haug the other day.

He who was helped wants to help.
He who has listened has something to say.
He who was active wants to create activity.

He's putting a conference together in Geneva - LIFT06 - and I thinks it's a good one. Not because I'm speaking (oh yes - the email crowd is watching) but because it makes sense.

Technology is not a narrow walk on the wild side - it affects all we do. WEB 1.0 was about how we entertain, manage our money, book our trips - but even more important - WEB 2.0 is about infiltration - innocuous - convergent technology.

Here's the hook - technology affects how we develop as humans - it influences and shapes our opinions, enables communication, modifies behavior, creates opportunity, breaks down hierarchy and changes perspectives.

'Corporate memory' was a concept rejected by IBM, Harvard and McKinsey - now looks where it's going.

Social informatics wasn't even born when I started to get into this.

Steven Pinker was a no-name - a Chomsky wanna-be.

Memes? A unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation? What? Forgetaboutit!

This isn't new coke - the last 10 years has proven that this concept is exponentially influencing core business decision.

It creates 'book smarts' as well as 'street smarts'. Problem is - we are distracted by the hype - and the short term motives of quick money and power. We need to discuss this but there are not that many platforms.

Conferences? Owned by vendors selling cookieware.

Academics? The law that allowed universities to 'own' intellectual property is slowly changing that.

Foundations and NGO's? The will is there but the flesh is weak.

Harry Houdini - now he's an artist. He could make an elephant disappear in the middle of a theater filled with people, and do you know how he did that? Misdirection.

The WSIS conference is a good case in point. The Economist was the only paper to get it right. The question is not, 'Who controls IP, pipes or domain names' - the American, French, Germans and Japanese have done an incredible job of defining common standards and sticking to them.

The question is about life in general and the social informatics questions of impact. I'll say it again

Impact (ĭm'păkt') - noun (se it in sign language)

  • The force or impetus transmitted by a collision of ideas
  • The effect or impression of one thing on another
  • The power of making a strong, immediate impression
This is where public organizations can learn from private business. This is where activist can learn from capitalist. We can all learn from each other - especially from fields of knowledge that are converging.

Public Relations knows it.

Advertisers knows it.

Naomi Klein knows it.

And I think Laurent knows it. Drop him a line and ask him.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Been a While ....

I know it's been a long time but I am still answering inquiries from the last few posts ... I sorta struck a nerve, I think - 350 emails can't be wrong ....

A few updates - I was at the WSIS PreCom in Geneva and am now planning for the World Summit in Tunisia. I have a whole treasure of articles that I am writing. The right to communicate is a human right and the concept of the Internet being a human right is very interesting. I was also impressed by the economic development arguments being applied to the Internet. Naturally, the social implications - coupled with the two points above - make this a whole new argument. Let me get my thoughts put together on this and then we'll chat.

Believe me, this gives us Internet Managers a new platform to build on.

Although there were several articles criticizing the WSIS meetings (google it - lots of links to the Economist, BBC and naturally the American media giants) there is a strong position being taken up by the middle and least developed nations. The local telecommunications oligopoly and monopolies (read: government) are now being threatened (Skype anyone?) and the ITU is not doing enough to counter-balance this.

The high cost of communication is artificially being maintained by corrupt governments. This has resulted in an increase in the cost of information. We can read this as an increase in the basic cost of education, self improvement and yes, choice. Decision making power is reduced with limited information - see where I'm going? This is the point - it back to old style colonialism and slavery. Harsh? Not really when you think about it.

Basic information should be public domain - not necessarily free - I understand the arguments of Richard Kaser but I take a different position - public domain - accessible - affordable priced if you will - that's not an argument but fully accepted in the modern world.

MIT, Standford, CMU, Google, and others are the poster children of free education/information. Corruption and some governments are the hold-outs.

LIVE8 is not the solution (read here ). Corruption is halting the benefits of the internet - our own companies and organizations are also involved. The discussion has started.

I'll be back in full writing mode soon - as I also have a day job, and the activity on this site has been extraordinary high - I'm just regrouping ... watch this space ....