John Gaventa, IDS
The importance of history.
In the past, most of the things that people learned from projects would get lost, forgotten. Now, there’s so many ways to report information and share knowledge that it makes it more likely that people will be able to retrieve this knowledge and apply it to their upcoming projects.
The scale of technological change is phenomenal. This is a unique moment in history… or isn’t it? Or is it just a transitional moment in history?
The current context.
Technology shapes society, and society shapes technology. But this is happening for good and for bad: new technologies are also empowering and giving voice to criminal networks.
Technology has increased the questioning of what constitutes legitimate information, legitimate voice, legitimate data… and about data, where does it come from, whose is it, etc. How do algorithms work… are algorithms legitimate voice? Are they good, bad or it depends? How do we trust new voices, human or automatic?
Technology is giving voice and it is destroying voice. Is voice truly voice or is it the echoing of what powerful people want us to hear?
How change happens.
Would we had had this meeting five years ago, would our statements, conclusions, doubts have been the same? What difference does technology make?
What is going on with society, is it due to technology? Is it not? Is our understanding of the role of technology influenced by the social context? Is it influenced by technology or the other way round?
Transparency is enabling, but it is not enough. But, maybe, if we add some other things to technology — i.e. inclusion, politics, etc. — then maybe yes there is an ongoing and transformative change.
How we think change might happen in the future?
Is there a dichotomy about technology? Or can we harness the potential of technology while being aware of its risks? It may not be “either or”, but both.
We have to work both ends of the equation.
We have to be the equation.