On 2 Jan 2011, at 13:50, russell_c wrote:

Roger,

Just one comment on your "The main thing that I keyed into was the simple proposition of the need for as many people as possible to have access to global connectivity (what I refer to as ENS). I simply can't see this as anything other than a truism."

If you extend your ENS down to mobile phone technology etc then it is occurring today, is it not? However, the costs to the planet in terms of energy, production and pollution etc may be too high, if climate change thinking is correct.
Yes, indeed, it is occurring as we speak. The issue is that many individuals, governments and societies are not discussing important matters (education, ethics, knowledge, economics, finance, politics) with this infrastructural change in mind.

Given the conditions for billions of humans today who live on < $2 per day and do not have food or clean water -- I'd suggest that all they need at first is a simple screen and keyboard button that displays "Feed Me!". But who to send the message to? I guess they could read Wikipedia while they are waiting for Goddo!
Hey, Russell - this is not a matter of the infrastructure. But I hazard a guess that the infrastructure is getting more individuals from more places in the world and from otherwise different cultural contexts to think about and discuss it AND begin to address such matters!

Your "... the need for as many people as possible to have access to global connectivity (what I refer to as ENS) ..." implies an optimistic belief I think (I've not finished your thesis yet) -- perhaps this is where we differ -- I'm not a pesimist exactly, but I'm under no illusions that it will hardly deliver the 'promised land'. There is a risk of hiding ideology within the 'wooden horse' -- or perhaps these days it's the CISCO router.
Russell - the optimism is not optimism. There are good and bad implications......but the medium enables or predisposes particular sorts of connectivty. I suppose inso far as I am optimistic, it is an optimism that as more people understand first hand inequalities and pain, the tendency will be for benevolent actions to outweigh negative ones.

My eye is also on longer-term trends but they need to see technology trends within social, economic, environmental and political domain trends to be comprehensive. Technology is a catalyst (and an expensive one in many cases) -- but I've yet to see convincing evidence (Assange et al aside) of it changing the rate of tyranny. Having spent my life in IT, I'm optimistic that we (or the future) can work it out -- but the struggle between the GWBush's 'Haves and Have Mores" and the rest will get very intense and fast. I do not see a new game in town just yet. 
Well, I'm just not sure about this.....Don't forget the reason why I arrived here was a result of a deep-seated disillusion for the humanities, social sciences and political processes to deal with these challenges. If the world you see about you 'erupts' such benevolent institutional processes I will be the first one to sign-up. I just think the change pccurs in this way!

They may manage to re-engineer the lion to eat grass and sit down with the zebra but I suspect the next interglacial will be here before then. Europeans had better hope they have a good stock of Neanderthal genes or long legs to get to India/Asia/Africa etc. But I digress.... ;-)

Roger
Russell


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