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The Role of Government in the Digital Society of 2025


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a talk at the European Internet Foundation dinner debate

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The Role of Government in the Digital Society of 2025

  1. 1. The Role of Government in the Digital Society of 2025 Žiga Turk @EIF Dinner Discussion, Brussels, 14.4.2009 speaking notes
  2. 2. Disclaimer <ul><li>the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Reflection Group or any other organizations the speaker is affiliated with! </li></ul>
  3. 3. Outline <ul><li>global historical context </li></ul><ul><ul><li>conceptual economy: from industrial to conceptual capitalism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… powered by talents: creativity is the ultimate resource </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>communication revolution: allows so many more to be creative </li></ul></ul><ul><li>changes how governments will work </li></ul><ul><ul><li>platform for brains outside of government (Open Government, Govt. 2.0) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>coordination, not command and control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>trust / rely on people with access to so much knowledge and information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>agenda for government action </li></ul><ul><ul><li>empower the creative and innovative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>provide/preserve technical infrastructure that encourages creativity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>develop new intellectual property rights for the conceptual economy </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Conceptual economy <ul><li>value is in meaning not in function </li></ul><ul><li>function: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>quenches thirst </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>keeps you warm </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>plays music </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>gets you from hope to office </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>meaning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>it is the original Coca Cola </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>it si new and fashionable dress, shirt, car </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>it is an iPod not some no name stuff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>it is environmentaly friendly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>it is fair traded, no-child labour … </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Conceptual economy is the future <ul><li>how is meaning created? by talent </li></ul><ul><li>who can be talent? an increasing number of people </li></ul><ul><li>how is meaning communicated? by communication technology </li></ul><ul><li>references: Alan Greenspan, Dan Pink, Richard Florida </li></ul><ul><li>detour: abundance of functional products is a core reason for the crisis, we have the stuff that provide function, need not buy new! </li></ul>
  6. 6. How many talents, how many brains? <ul><li>how much land can you use </li></ul><ul><li>how many hands can you use </li></ul><ul><li>how much oil can you use </li></ul><ul><li>how many brains can you use </li></ul>
  7. 7. Communication Revolutions Increase the Numbers of Talent <ul><li>3000BC exclusive paper </li></ul><ul><li>1500AD democratic paper </li></ul><ul><li>1900AD exclusive electronic </li></ul><ul><li>2000AD democratic electronic </li></ul>
  8. 8. Political systems follow communication technologies <ul><li>poor communication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>few people involved in decision making: autocracy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>better communication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>more people involved: democracy, subsidiarity </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. A look at the history <ul><li>expensive paper mostly oral, some writing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>governing by a small group of people that can talk to each other and dispatch commands by writing (kingdoms, dictatorships, agora type democracy) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>very few literate, educated, most of them working for church or government </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>autocracy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>cheap paper: more writing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>paper based communication enables power sharing and subsidiary among those that can reliably communicate with paper </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>mass education through books </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>democracy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>electronic; TV, mass media: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>technology again available to elites only; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>democracy by real power concentrated </li></ul></ul><ul><li>internet </li></ul><ul><ul><li>empowers the masses </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. What internet will change? <ul><li>does Internet make the case for an increasingly libertarian future? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Milton Friedman: &quot;government should decide when people do not have information to decide for themselves&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>we are living in an information age; information is easier to get than any time before </li></ul></ul><ul><li>does Internet weaken the role of government </li></ul><ul><ul><li>portion of educated people working for the states keeps decreasing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>majority of smart people is outside the government </li></ul></ul><ul><li>key issue: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>how can governments, states, business make use of all those smart people, with all the information and knowledge available to them with a few mouse clicks </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. How? Open up! <ul><li>like the industry: open innovation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>let users innovate, innovation outside the r&d departments </li></ul></ul><ul><li>like web 2.0 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>users add value </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>provide a platform for users to add value </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>blogs, youtube, flickr, twitter … </li></ul></ul><ul><li>government 2.0 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>government as a platform (O'Rilley) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>government provides a platform for people to make value </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>middle of the circle, not top of the pyramid </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>government not a decision making body but a coordination platform among stakeholders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>govt. actors job: get the best people around you! </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. What governments should do? <ul><li>empower talent </li></ul><ul><ul><li>he/she has more data, information, knowledge available than ever before; let her use it! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>entrepreneurship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>access to education </li></ul></ul><ul><li>provide technical infrastructure that encourages creativity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>net neutrality, not local monopolies and market distortions by ISPs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>broadband for all, like access to other utilities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>provide law and order </li></ul><ul><ul><li>security and safety </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>property rights </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Property Rights <ul><li>property rights management (about material property) contributed to the raise of the West since 1500s; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>environment that rewarded fairness, honesty, protected property allowed for the best, not the most cheating one, to win </li></ul></ul><ul><li>tangible property can be held by one person only </li></ul><ul><ul><li>sharing material stuff (like in socialism) does not work </li></ul></ul><ul><li>conceptual, intellectual property can be shared not at an expense of other </li></ul><ul><ul><li>sharing ideas that lead to tangible stuff (patents) … done </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>sharing ideas that remain intangible, conceptual … question! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Greenspan: key issue for legislators is to find a most productive way to handle this kind of intellectual property </li></ul>
  14. 14. In conclusion <ul><li>back to slide 2 </li></ul>