October 22nd, Neelie Kroes posted this on Twitter.

BOOM. She knows how to say things.

Fact is, there are still people and companies who think they can move forward without acting different. Maybe it’s because they think it’s ‘just’ about technology. It’s not.

Technological developments have a revolutionary impact on our lives. More than you can imagine. Significant changes have occurred: in the way we live together, communicate and work. Sensitive changes made our society – and all players in – vulnerable in a new way. The character of our society is changed, with effects similar to the industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries.

You simply cannot ignore this.

Let me give you some examples of changes related to ICT developments.
My thoughts.
Quick & Dirty.

The way we deal with knowledge and information 

Some basics.
Information is getting faster, cheaper and easier around the world.
Digital information is disconnected from form and location, it can infinitely be reproduced and distributed and it is no longer scarce.
The amount of information and the variety of media and channels has increased dramatically.
With the advent of the Internet we have worldwide access to information: the limitations of time, distance and place are removed.

The shift to network society

We live in a network society now, a society consisting of braided connected networks.
It isn’t based on the traditional patterns and structures we were used to.
Everything is connected to everything.
That leads to new demands on cooperation and links between sectors, including finding new ways between economic interests of existing and new sectors.

Social relations have changed

We see a shift from a ’top down’ society to a ‘bottom-up’ society.
People are not ignorant any more, they are better informed, more articulate and act more autonomously – based on information that they have acquired themselves.
This change in social relations and the existing institutional structures is also visible in (for example) the relationship between information producers and -consumers. The traditional flow of information producer to ‘user’ – through various parties / intermediaries, doesn’t flow through the appropriate channels anymore. Consumers and producers find each other directly on the Internet and everyone has become information producers, with the same options to publish to a large audience. As “prosumers”, we all have an increasingly central role, we are critical and making increasing demands for flexibility, speed and quality.

In addition, the ‘new’ generation has a different attitude, different standards and different priorities. This digital generation (digital natives), treat and process information in a different way. And most of us are much better equipped with ICT resources at home than at work.

Complex issues

We also see other complex issues that are directly related to ICT developments in this changed world.
The Internet is not centrally managed, organized and coordinated and doesn’t run through the appropriate channels anymore. That leads to, for example, issues related to safety, privacy, authentication and data protection.

Also, the increased transparency leads to issues that are not easy to resolve. Information of people, companies and governments have become increasingly visible (this discussion was conducted mainly in response to WikiLeaks) and information on the Internet is permanent.

Another one: the information exchange, retrieval and storage in the long term is a major concern: the digitization (and standardization) of information including how to keep archives durable.
And what about dealing with information overload and finding information quickly and efficiently in the enormous (and growing) amount of information.

Also reversing the current laws and regulations of the “offline” world to the “online” world appears to be complex. Our national, territorially bound legislation is often not working anymore. New instruments, laws and codes are needed for the online world, that is not centrally controlled and does not have boundaries. .

Are you aware?

All those things are happening now.
Many complex (information) issues you just cannot ignore.
We’re all involved.

Maybe some people are not aware of the revolutionary impact ICT developments have in our lives, but a mayor part of our lives is touched by ICT.

As Godfrey Reggio, director of Koyaanisquatsi & Powaqqatsi, says:

“It’s been that everyone – politics, education, the financial structure, language, culture, religion – all of that exists within the host of technology. So it is not the effect of, it’s that everything exists within. It is not that we use technology. We live technology. Technology has become as ubiquitous as the air we breathe. So we are no longer conscious of its presence”.

Maybe we are not aware, but it’s there. All over. And the coming decades digitization will only increase. As Peter Hinssen says: We are only halfway ‘The New Normal’, where digital is the new normal. And the second part of our digital journey will look completely different than the first half we now have almost left behind us.

So ask yourself: Can you adapt? Can you adapt to the New Normal, and can you do it quickly enough? Can you shift your mindset towards the realities of the New Normal? (Hinssen)

All the technological developments have caused significant changes: in the way we live together, communicate and work.  You simply cannot ignore this. We’re in this together.

As Neelie says: It’s not a choice. It’s a fact.
So, start acting.


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