Saturday, February 28, 2009

Over the last few weeks I have been revisiting the role of entertainment and new media technology in the context of the digital society and I am struck by how far we have come in creating virtual arenas. Not just to entertain but also educate and engage through simulation and virtual reality technologies. Gaming technologies are growing in leaps and bounds, so is information visualisation; as we look for better ways to manage the deluge of information.

We are pushing the development in technology but also in policy and business and, in doing so, creating this digital experience that impacts all aspects of our society and all walks of life. Our challenge, however, is to ensure it reaches all levels of society, particularly those at the bottom-of-the-pyramid.

In my very first post to this blog, I mentioned I wanted to avoid the term Society 2.0, as I was sceptical to terms with 2.0 suffixes. However, on further reflection I sense that we are witnessing a rapid transformation of societal behaviour. And clich├ęs like global village and John Lennon's Imagine suddenly show potential to have real representations. The possibility to create a "new version" of our society is very real. A society developed by principles of "consumer-citizen"-centered design and increased self-determination. A society where democracy changes from shallow to deep, where the notion of representation is challenged. We still have a long way ahead and a lot of hard work along -- but quite reachable.

Which is why I'm excited about the "Us Now" documentary that will be screened in Oslo next week (link in Norwegian)-- and the panel session that follows the screening. I see it as the debate of the digital society entering the mainstream. Financial Times did an interesting review (link) of the film that sets the context for what "Us Now" represents. Good to note that it is less about technology and more about policy and society. And I hope the balance and interdependency between policy, technology and business is brought out during this session.

In some ways, my sense of excitement is tinged with a sense of apprehension. To see how this event pans out - will it be relegated to the yawns and hype? or will it energize to raise the discussion to a new level of debate. Will it raise awareness for the pressing need to study and examine the phenomenon closer - so we can better manage this transformation.

For now: I'm just hopeful of meeting like-minded individuals who may be able to progress the discussion to a level of seriousness that the topic really deserves.

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