Author Topic: Mfg Mythologies, Swarming Smart Mobs, "Get 7 Billion on the global grid"  (Read 26881 times)

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Offline Dig

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RANDOM THOUGHTS BY A KEYBOARD PUNCHING MONKEY: This is the most incriminating document I have ever read concerning the NWO plans to transform the landscape and society. It basically explains how various ages are defined by the myths that are created and it outlines how a new mythology is to be created in the middle east to evolve the muslim people into perfect globalist controllable slaves. It seems to be part of a set of emails that were sent between various educational illumaries including Dr. Joseph Nye at Harvard who is a Director at the Trilateral Commission. The strategy is to bring in hundreds of young muslim revolutionaries into Governors Island in NY to be indoctrinated into a program that will then distribute their new minds to spread transformational idealism across hundreds of miles of desert throughout the Middle East and Africa. The letters were sent between 2008 and 2009 and General Abizaid was forwarded copies of the emails. The location on Governors Island was to be called "Global Service Academy" and the term they use for the transformational revolutions they were promoting is "Myth Building" and "Narrative Control".

It goes way beyond nation building, it goes into transforming the entire culture and religion similar to what was done in Turkmenistan with Ruhnama exposed in the documentary called Shadow of the Holy Book. Kissinger is heavily involved with this society and their continued practices of indoctrinating their youth. Here is a thread about the comparisons of the current staged revolutions and what is going on in Turkmenistan. I believe that what is going on in the Middle East is following the Russian, Chinese, Cambodian, and Chilean revolutions and this document helps explain how these things are planned way in advance. It does not get into all of the technical aspects like smart phones and google information distribution operations, but it does give the overall structure and theoretical/foundational particulars.

The letters were published to Scribd and I have no other info on whether or not it is authentic. It does not have any of the usual signs of disinformation or fabrication.

I truly cannot even fathom the absolute insanity and open treason in what I just read...


A [email protected]

June 11, 2009

RE: Smart/Soft

Dear General Abizaid:

A proposal outlining the above referenced strategy was e-mailed to Dr. Joseph Nye at Harvard on December 25th 2008. It consisted of a three-page letter; partial transcripts of Dr. Joseph Campbell’s six-part series, The Power of Myth; a Governors Island profile; and two NY Harbor School brochures (letter & e-mails attached).

Dr. Nye replied on December 31st (e-mail attached). The binder to which Dr. Nye’s e-mail refers was Fedex’d to him on January 9th 2009 (substantive cover letter & e-mail attached). He provided feedback on January 15th (e-mail attached). Four follow-up e-mails were exchanged (two from me; two from him). The zip folder contains both letters and twelve e-mails (APPENDIX-1=DrNye-081225-090116).

In his last e-mail, Dr. Nye called a Global Service Academy that puts young people from around the world on a path to service rather than suicide “a nice vision.” And when asked directly: “Is the proposal too incomplete? undeveloped? unfocused? amateurish? utopian?”

He replied: “It was one of the most professionally done presentations I have received. If anything, there is too much to absorb.”

With your expertise in Middle Eastern affairs; LTC Conrad Crane (ret.), Maj. William Casebeer, and Mr. James Russell’s grasp of culture, narrative, exemplars, and myth; LTG T.G. Jenes (ret.) and Mr. James Cooke’s experience with M&S; LTG William Caldwell’s integrated, whole-of-government, interoperable, military/civilian, unity-of-effort, stability operations plan; Gen. James Mattis’ Joint Forces Command (JFCOM); and Ambassador Richard Solomon’s US Institute of Peace (USIP) – this nice vision could be welcoming its pioneer class of police cadets and distance-learning techs in October, 2010. DoD and USIP have almost everything needed to develop and operationalize a simulation/training program that equips billions under-25 with the skills, tools, and resources required to return to their societies ready to provide humanitarian aid; post-conflict reconstruction services; and development assistance.

Neither congressional approval or funding is needed. According to the United States Institute of Peace Act, Section 1705 (Powers and Duties), sub-section (h)

(1): “… the Institute may obtain grants and contracts, including contracts for classified research for … the Department of Defense … and receive gifts and contributions from government at all levels.” Ambassador Chester Crocker speaks for many DoD admirers: “The Defense Department … excels at doing jointness. The Defense Department has learned about joint-operations and jointplanning and inter-service coordination – learned the hard-way – but learned, so it’s part of the culture now. DoD’s capacity for planning and actually implementing its plans is spectacular! … And it’s not surprising that State is sort of left in the dust when it comes to planning for joint operations. The second point I’d make is that the State Department was never set up to do operations in zones of conflict.  That’s not State’s role, traditionally – historically. It’s not meant to be conducting programs in zones of conflict overseas. It’s meant to be doing diplomacy. Traditionally, that’s the way it’s been designed. So it’s facing wholly new challenges now: about how to develop at least some operational capacity … that culture of jointness needs to be worked on [at State] – it is being worked on – but it is taking a long time.” (CSIS, 11/27/07, 71:45)

Unfortunately, time is exactly what DoD doesn’t have. Between Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, there are over 49.9 million young people in the 15-24 cohort; 19.6 million 25-29 year-olds; and 91.8 million under-15. The reports and meetings on post-conflict reconstruction strategies refer repeatedly to this abundant source of chronic instability. However, none offer comprehensive, executable plans to address the resentment and rage generated by foreign occupiers openly doing the work these unemployed/unemployable youth so desperately need to give meaning and purpose to their lives. (See Appendix) Adding complexity to the youth glut is the myth vacuum that has globalized since first predicted by Dr. Joseph Campbell over two decades ago.

During his interview with Bill Moyers in 1986, Dr. Campbell warned that we had entered a period of history in which the millennium-old myths/ religions no longer functioned: Myth has to give life models and the models have to be appropriate to the possibilities of the time in which you are living. And our time has changed and changed and changed – and continues to change so fast that what was proper 50 years ago is not proper today. The virtues of the past are the vices of today and many of what were thought to be the vices of the past are the necessities of today. The moral order has to catch up with the moral necessities of actual life in time – here and now – and that’s what it is not doing. … And that’s why it’s ridiculous to go back to the old-time religion. … [W]hen you go back to the old-time religion it belongs to another age, another people, another set of human values, another universe. The world changes – then the religion has to be transformed. When asked by Bill Moyers: “So what happens when a society no longer embraces powerful mythology?”

Dr. Campbell replied: What we’ve got on our hands … if you want to find what it means to have a society without any rituals read the New York Times … [where you’ll find] the news of the day – young people who don't know how to behave in a civilized society. … I imagine 50% of the crime is by young people in their 20's and early 30's that just behave like barbarians.

The analogy Dr. Campbell drew between myths and computer software provides a way forward: I’ve had a revelation from my computer about mythology. You buy a certain software with a whole set of signals that lead to the achievement of your aim. Once you’ve set it – if you begin fooling around with signals that belong to another system they just won't work. You have a system there – a code – a determined code that requires you to use certain terms. Now, similarly in mythology – each religion is a kind of software that has its own set of signals and will work. If a person is really involved in a religion and really building his life on it, he had better stay with the software that he's got. The [future] myth has to incorporate the machine just as the old myths incorporated the tools that people used – the forms of the tools are associated with power systems that are involved in the culture. We have not a mythology that incorporates these – the new powers are being surprisingly announced to us by what the machines can do. We can't have a mythology for a long, long time to come, because things are changing too fast. The environment in which we are living is changing too fast for it to become mythologized. The individual has to find the aspect of myth that has to do with the conduct of his own life.

Dr. Campbell cautioned: You can’t predict what a myth is going to be any more than you can predict what you’re going to dream tonight. Myths and dreams come from the same place. They come from realizations of some kind that have then to find expression in symbolic form. Every mythology, every religion is true in this sense: it is true as metaphorical of the human and cosmic mystery. But when it gets stuck to the metaphor – then you're in trouble. … The real horror today is what you see in [Jerusalem] – where you have the three great Western religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – and because the three of them have three different names for the same biblical God they can't get on together – they're stuck with their metaphor and don't realize its reference. Each needs its own myth … love thy enemy – open up. Don't judge.

Later in the interview, Dr. Campbell advised: The only myth that’s going to be worth thinking about in the immediate future is one that’s talking about the planet: not this city, not these people, but the planet and everybody on it. That’s my main thought for what the future myth is going to be. And what it will have to deal with will be exactly what all myths have dealt with:

1) the maturation of the individual, the gradual, pedagogical way to follow from dependency through adulthood to maturity, and then to the exit, and how to do it;

2) And then how to relate to this society and how to relate this society to the world of nature and the cosmos. That’s what the myths have all talked about. That’s what this one’s got to talk about. But the society that it’s got to talk about is the society of the planet. And until that gets going you don’t have anything. And therein lies the problem: we still don’t have anything.

The American myth – born in 1776, tested in the 1860’s, and dominant for most of the 20th century – was mortally wounded in 2001 and crippled over the last eight years – discredited by tradeoffs made in the name of national security and economic stability. Incompatible with value systems in non-Western civilizations, it just can’t compete in this 21st century face-off between liberal democracy and fundamentalist theocracy. After several decades of godless communism and soulless capitalism, the pendulum swing from material to spiritual systems should come as no surprise. Unfortunately, it has.

The scale and complexity of this human Y2K challenge exceeds all current, pipeline, and projected governmental capabilities and capacity. Top-down is not the solution. Adding to the urgency: our noosphere adversaries have an eight-year head-start in this soft power, idea-sharing, information war being waged in the globe-girdling realm of the mind. (See Appendix)

With a Global Service Academy (GSA), USIP and JFCOM can develop dedicated, disciplined, mission-ready, joint-capable, indigenous, civilian-expeditionary forces based on small, highperforming units comprised of young exemplars who are honest, hard-working, open-minded, and warm-hearted. Indigenous youth modernizing their societies from the inside-out/ground-up without westernizing them is more effective and less expensive than human-terrain-team-guided platoons of foreign occupiers.

Peace will replace persistent conflict when the energy of 546 million young people (15-29) – most unemployed/unemployable – swarming in dozens of primitive/ premodern population centers and spread over approximately 33.8 million sq kms of land on four continents in 70 failed/fragile states is focused on peace-keeping and state-building, rather than war-fighting and caliphates. (See Appendix)

The proposed Academy institutionalizes strategic concepts derived from the insights of the following scholars, scientists, mathematician, futurists, and practitioners:

Dr. Joseph Campbell – comparative myth and religion;

Dr. Jay Giedd – the teen brain;

Dr. Benoît Mandelbrot – fractal geometry and self-similarity;

Dr. Edward Lorenz – butterfly-effects and strange-attractors;

Dr. Stuart Kaufman – self-organization;

Mr. Anthony Judge – human values as strange-attractors;

Drs. Roger Nelson, John Arquilla, and

Mr. David Ronfeldt – global consciousness and noosphere;

Professor Thomas Malone and Mr. Howard Rheingold – collective intelligence and smart mobs;

Dr. Joseph Nye – soft power and international relations;

Ambassador James Dobbins and Dr. Robert Orr – indigenous ownership of state-building;

Mr. Gary Simons – Prep-for-Prep.

The GSA’s tactical theory hinges on the exuberant/plastic early/late adolescent brain (11-23) and the science of change to fill the globalized myth vacuum in the noosphere with the kernel of a narrative that enhances the legacy operating systems on which most of the world still runs.

The goal is to employ chaos theory (specifically – fractal geometry, self-similarity, self-organization, strange-attractors, and the butterfly-effect) to insert a few new values (e.g. peace, tolerance, accountability) without overwriting core beliefs, values, and norms: the task is analogous to updating ISP software without erasing favorites, downloads, and archived e-mail. (See Appendices)

From pop-culture, religion, and politics to think tanks and the US military, all agree. In every dimension and on every scale, narrative is key.

Dr. Douglas Johnston and his team at the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy (ICRD) have tapped into the narrative fountainhead in Pakistan and are enhancing the intolerant and hateful binder/narrative [that] they are using to prepare suicide bombers and [provide] many destructive ways to get back at the West. For the last five years, Dr. Johnston’s madrasa enhancement project has worked with more than 2000 madrasa administrators and teachers from more than 1300 madrasas to: expand the curriculum; promote critical thinking skills; and provide skills needed to train others.

He has proven that it is possible to reverse the damage done in the ’80’s by the anti-Soviet, social-engineering project/textbook that helped plant the seeds of jihad in the madrasas in the first place. ICRD’s model of engagement and its demonstrable track record of success can point the way forward not only throughout Pakistan, but in other parts of the world where similar tensions exist. (See Appendices) But narrative alone is not enough.

It is only one of three primary factors in the fractal geometry of mythology, where Human=H: H=H(Narrative [epic+poetic] x Rituals [daily+weekly+annual+lifetime] x Symbols [landmarks+relics+sounds+images])

To achieve full force and effect, according to Dr. Campbell, narratives must be enacted in rituals and reinforced by symbols. Doing so taps into the power of myth: the “bits of information from ancient times which have to do with the themes that have supported man's life, built civilizations, informed religions over the millennia – [that] have to do with deep inner problems, inner mysteries, inner thresholds of passage – [they are] the guide-signs along the way, [without which] you have to work it out yourself.

But once this catches you there is always such a feeling from one or another of these traditions of information of a deep, rich, life-vivifying sort that you won’t want to give it up.

Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life.” (Joseph Campbell) Myths are for soft power what atom bombs were for hard: chain-reacting force-multipliers. You are now where General Leslie R. Groves was in September of 1942 when he took over the Manhattan Project.

The same integrated military/civilian effort that went into uranium enrichment, atom-splitting, and charge-shaping in the early ’40’s must now go into human-capital enrichment, state-building, and narrative-shaping (ironically, partnering military and civilian expertise this time is urgently needed to avert rather than create a cataclysmic chain-reaction). This triple challenge is complex, but no more so than computer-generated landscapes, genesplicing, or viral marketing.

The difficulty lies in coordinating and integrating the wealth of soft power knowledge and experience scattered around the world currently operating in isolation. Dr. John Hamre, President of CSIS, stepped into the shoes of Vannevar Bush in 2006 when he mobilized the bipartisan Commission on Smart Power to develop a vision to guide America’s global engagement. A few months later, at the launch of the Smart Power Speaker Series, he cut through the complexity and captured all the themes with the timeless keystone question: “What is the broader narrative that binds America together – looking forward? We’ve become in some ways quite a tortured and torn country. The Cold War gave us – through external forces – a kind of consensus that carried us for quite a ways – and we are struggling now – what is that – what could it be?”

On the micro and the macro scale, the need for narrative is universal and eternal. Ambassador Dobbins and Drs. Robert Orr, Larry Diamond, Karin von Hippel, Beth Ellen Cole, et. al. have produced volumes of post-conflict state-building how to’s and what not to’s based on historic cases and hands-on experience.

Earnest efforts by everyone involved have been undermined by difficulty institutionalizing lessons learned, as well as a lack of anticipation, preparation, coordination, indigenous ownership, and consideration for the religious/spiritual dimension of statecraft. Introduced as the “Dean of our field” by Rick Barton at a CSIS Smart Power event in 2008, Ambassador Dobbins is the perfect J. Robert Oppenheimer for this Y2K-Manhattan Project. Given that failed and fragile states are the problem, “informed, strategic, operational, and concerned with results” is exactly what’s needed. Who better to design the curriculum and direct development of the indigenous, civilian-surge capacity required to restore/establish stability and functionality in these ungoverned spaces?

For your National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) you have the foundational luminaries already named and the following extraordinary knowledge-base:

The Hon. Richard Armitage,
Dr. Spencer Wells,
Dr. Jared Diamond,
Dr. Steven Kull,
Dr. Jon Alterman,
Dr. L. Michael White,
Juan Zarate,
Prof. Marc Lynch,
Anupam Ray,
Mitchell Silber,
Arvin Bhatt,
Ahmed Rashid,
Jessica Stern,
Liora Danan,
Prof. Jeffrey Haynes,
Dr. Samuel Huntington,
Dr. Anne O’Donnell,
Dr. David Steele,
Patrick Cockburn,
Karim Sadjadpour,
Dean Victor Kazanjian,
Anna Greenberg,
Charles Firestone,
Michael Furdyk,
Chad Hurley,
Larry Sanger,
Jimmy Wales,
Rebecca Linder,
Evan Williams,
Biz Stone,
Dr. Alpheus Bingham,
Michael Gray,
Dr. James Lovelock,
Dr. John Briggs,
Pierre Chao,
Loren Carpenter,
George Lucas,
Christopher Vogler,
Bryan Fuller,
Greg Garcia,
Brian McAllister,
Ian Cross,
Andrew Niccol,
Tom Forman,
JD Roth,
Will Wright,
Dr. Gerald Lesser,
Gary Knell,
Murray Fisher,
Carol Bellamy,
Dr. Stephen Joel Trachtenberg,
Dr. Vartan Gregorian,
Bryan Alexander,
Dr. Tony Corn,
The Hon. Mac Thornberry,
Dr. Kathleen Hall Jameson,
Dr. Christopher Paul,
Dr. Russell Glenn,
David Brooks,
David Ignatius,
Walter Isaacson,
Ami Dar,
Michelle Nunn,
Capt. Westley Moore,
Alan Khazei,
Flavia Pansieri,
Jay Backstrand,
Chris Myers Asch,
Shawn Raymond,
Dr. James Traub,
Dr. Jessica Matthews,
Dr. Nancy Birdsall,
Jean-Marie Guéhenno,
Dr. Kemal Dervis,
Dr. Lael Brainard,
Stuart Bowen,
Steve Radelet, and
Dr. Gordon Adams;

together with their colleagues at CSIS, RAND, Brookings, Aspen, ICRD, USIP, Carnegie, Stimson Center, NYPD, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford, UCLA, Santa Fe Institute, Annenberg, Edutopia, TakingITGlobal, InnoCentive, UN Volunteers, Idealist, USPSA, et. al.;

have taken the lead in human migration, societal collapse, radicalization, power of religion, complexity, narrative-shaping, education exchanges, wikis, mobilelearning, strategic communication, service, post-conflict reconstruction, and foreign aid reform.

Finally, to operationalize this CT/COIN/STABILITY strategy, a permanent home for smart/soft power equal to that of the regional training centers in UAE and Jordan is required.

The same reasons General Petraeus cited in his Changing Regional Security Architecture speech apply: [W]e can leverage regional training centers for greater collective benefit.

The Gulf Air Warfare Centre in the UAE and the soon to open King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Centre in Jordan are examples of very impressive facilities, and there are others in the region … Leveraging these training centers … and the already substantial number of bilateral and multilateral maritime, air, and ground exercises we conduct, will improve our abilities to work together and hone the experience of our various forces. The training centers represent important opportunities for multilateral training, capacity building, and partnership, and we should seek to leverage them in major multinational exercises … (The Fifth IISS Regional Security Summit, Bahrain, 12/14/08).

Governors Island in New York Harbor is looking for a highest and best use; its history, proximity, and restricted access make it an ideal location. According to Dr. Patrick Okedinachi Utomi, decades ago the precedent was set; 747’s full of young people came to the US to be trained and then returned to their homes to play the roles that they played. (See Appendix) Where better to build General Mattis’ fourth block and begin the 21st century narrative that promotes global service as the honored hero sacrifice – than under the guiding light and watchful eye of Lady Liberty? With gratitude and admiration,

Christine Lederhouse

P.S. Hoping you’ll agree – your first-hand experience/knowledge of the region, irregular warfare, indigenous troop/police training, post-conflict reconstruction, military academy transformation, Pentagon culture, and bureaucratic impediments turn this confluence of coincidences into a Jungian synchronicity. By comparison, a CT/COIN/STABILITY strategy that’s three-parts Road Trip Nation, Globe Trekker, and hero adventure; equal-parts Truman Show and PSYOPS; and thirteen-parts Kid Nation, vocational training, and Endurance – seems perfectly plausible. Playing a part would be an honor. Please be assured, however, no strings are attached to this proposal; getting a Global Service Academy on Governors Island is ALL that matters!


Submission To/Response From Dr. Joseph S. Nye, Jr.:
Letters & e-Mail – (12/25/08 - 1/16/09)


Youth Distribution Table * Civilian Capabilities, Capacity, and Comparative Cost * The Power of Myth:
Dr. Joseph Campbell – Bill Moyers’ Interview – Parts 1-6 George Lucas – Bill Moyers’ Interview – Mythology of Star Wars Missing Spiritual Dimension * Myth Vacuum * Radicalizers/Spiritual Sanctioners * Narrative Is Key Myth DNA – Narrative X Ritual X Symbols


Chaos Theory * Noosphere & Global Consciousness * Precedents – Force-Multiplying Engagement Strategies:
Pakistan – Religious – Dr. Douglas Johnston (CSIS – 2/3/09) Nigeria – Secular – Dr. Patrick Okedinachi Utomi (CSIS – 7/28/08)
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline JT Coyoté

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Mfg Mythologies, Swarming Smart Mobs, "Get 7 Billion on the global grid"
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2011, 09:50:16 pm »
Holy Sh!t !!


"As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them,
may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be
occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power
to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the
next article [the Second Amendment] in their right to keep and bear
their private arms."
~Trence Coxe -- June 18, 1789
From "Remarks on the first part of the Amendments to the federal
Constitution", "A Pennsylvanian" is Coxe's pseudonym in the
Philadelphia Federal Gazette.


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Mfg Mythologies, Swarming Smart Mobs, "Get 7 Billion on the global grid"
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2011, 09:06:19 am »

New Economy; In the tech meccas, masses of people, or 'smart mobs,' are keeping in touch through wireless devices.
By John Schwartz
Published: July 22, 2002

''SMART MOBS.'' The odd phrase might bring to mind rowdies partying after the Harvard-Yale football game. But, in fact, it has been coined by the author Howard Rheingold to describe groups of people equipped with high-tech communications devices that allow them to act in concert -- whether they know each other or not.

This phenomenon is showing up among teens in tech meccas like Tokyo, where wireless text messages have caught on in a big way. American hip-hop fans, using two-way pagers, spontaneously appear for parties. And in Finland, members of a local cooperative mix the virtual and the physical by communicating via pagers and cellphones to meet at their club.

It's not all fun and games. Smart mobs in Manila contributed to the overthrow of President Joseph Estrada in 2001 by organizing demonstrations via forwarded cellphone text messages. Protesters at the World Trade Organization gathering in Seattle in 1999 were able to check into a sprawling electronic network to see which way the tear gas was blowing. Or they could use the network to determine their preferred level of involvement: nonviolent demonstrations, civil disobedience or mass arrests. The Sept. 11 terrorists used such devices to plan and coordinate their attack, and the victims used them to convey information -- and, in the case of United Airlines flight 93, learned of the other attacks and took action that may have prevented even more devastation.

To Mr. Rheingold, this all looks like a something very big -- which is why he calls the book on the subject that is planned for release this fall ''Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution'' (Perseus Publishing).

Mr. Rheingold can recognize a revolution. He published ''The Virtual Community'' in 1993, long before corporate America realized that the killer app of the Internet would be the connections that the Net allows between people. He sees a similar shift with smart mobs and what he calls swarming.

''It took me eight years to find something that seemed that significant to me,'' Mr. Rheingold said. He has run around the world for the last two years watching young people in Tokyo and Scandinavia form ''thumb tribes,'' and he has observed the ways that instant communications reshaped citizen revolts on the streets of Seattle, Manila and Caracas.

His feelings about all this are decidedly mixed. A world in which everyone is available online at any time can become a world without privacy, he warns, and the notion of smart mobs implies both potential for new benefits and menace. ''I think it's important to signal that this technology has advantages and disadvantages, dangers as well as opportunities,'' he said.

Swarming behavior in itself is not new, nor does it require high technology. During my college days in the late 1970's, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, hundreds of people could spontaneously appear at my house for a party -- with the benefit of no technology more advanced than the waves of attractive force emanating from kegs of free beer.

But Mr. Rheingold argues that the convergence of wireless communications technologies and widely distributed networks allow swarming on a scale that has never existed before. He envisions shifts along the lines of those that began to occur when people first settled into villages and formed nation-states. ''We are on the verge of a major series of social changes that are closely tied into emerging technologies,'' he said.

This blossoming of smart mobs will probably happen despite the interests of business, Mr. Rheingold said, not because of any plan. He points to other technologies, like Napster, that have emerged into broad acceptance to the horror of larger business interests, and said that smart mobs could be setting the stage for the next big fight of the new economy -- over control of personal information and of the technologies that connect people.

Other certified smart guys who gaze toward the future say Mr. Rheingold is on to something, but perhaps not as much as he thinks. ''What he's talking about is real,'' said John Seely Brown, the former director of Xerox PARC. ''The thing that surprises me is that he is casting this as so new.'' The ideas behind what the folks at PARC called ''ubiquitous computing'' have been around for a while -- and Mr. Rheingold describes the early PARC work extensively.

But to Mr. Brown, the most interesting social changes are not taking place with handheld and wearable devices so much as with the vast communities that are growing up around complex online games like EverQuest and Lineage, and which flourish because of high-speed Internet connections.

Jyri Engestrom, however, would not agree. He is a founder of Aula, a three-year-old cooperative in Finland that provides a physical meeting place to augment the virtual community. The city already had Internet cafes when the group started, he said. ''What was missing was not a new Internet cafe,'' he said, ''but a community, or network'' where artists, business people and geeks could meet, talk, share ideas and have fun. Mr. Engestrom said the group planned to expand to other places as well, including a local cafe. Aula now has nearly 500 members, he said, with radio frequency ID tags that let them into the Aula meeting space and let others know they are there. ''We're using digital technology in our case to enhance community-building in the wild, in the physical world,'' he said.

The revolution is on hold in this country, at least until text messaging catches on to a greater extent than the well-heeled Blackberry users and scattered communities that use two-way pagers. With the telecommunications industry in the dumps, that could take a while.

But if the change comes, yet another digital divide could emerge between the old and the young. Me, I can't type with my thumbs, and have no interest in learning. Even Mr. Rheingold said that he had the equipment but lacked the desire -- and a network of friends -- to send text messages to.

''We may not be interested,'' he said, ''but today's 17-year-olds are.''
The revolution is on hold in this country, at least until text messaging catches on to a greater extent than the well-heeled Blackberry users and scattered communities that use two-way pagers.

Everyone born before 1985 is a non-net-centric 'old world fossil' - RMA exposed:
Some kind soul at another forum was kind enough to provide me with a link to this extremely pertinent video that I recommend everybody watch.

On-Demand Webcast: "Arming with Intelligence: Data Fusion in Network-Centric Warfare"

This is a Flash video in the form of a web seminar - I will be providing screenshots of some of the slides along with my own notes and comments.

(Objectivity/DB, BTW, is apparently an important contractor to the fusion centers and the big military contractors - they provide solutions for the 'persistence layer' in a typical three-layered computer application)

Objectivity, Inc. provides distributed data management and object persistence solutions for government, business and science organizations, and is the enabling technology for some of the most complex and mission critical systems in operation around the world today.

The first speaker is a guy called 'Fred Stein', from MITRE Corporation. (no explanation necessary really). He also taught at the US Army War College and wrote a book called 'Net-Centric Warfare'.

"And I think what's extraordinary about it is the pace of change - that the folks born in that era were raised 'connected' - were 'raised' with the expectation of being able to reach out and touch friends on Facebook; were raised in expectation of not going to the enclycopedia of Brittanica or the library, but going to the Internet."

"And I think that's important during this future discussion - is the expectation of these digital natives - for they, in a military sense, fight the war on the frontlines. They, in a commercial sense, sell the product on the frontline. And the others, the digital immigrants, fossils, or naturalized citizens, often make the decision on what system to buy, what research to conduct, how much money to spend, what to put on the marketplace."

Now you got to ask yourself - what the hell? What business does MITRE have with 'videogames' - and why the emphasis on 'first-generation videogames', 'fourth-generation videogames', all the way up to the Xbox 360?

I have pontificated on this myself - 'videogames' are the 'medium' that drives this change to the 'information age'. They are the 'medium' that enables 'military simulators'. Notice that a 'military simulators' is not based on a medium like film, books or whatnot - no, it's based on what 'events' occur, and the interplay between 'intelligent agents' (AI) and a human element/human player (you).

And then we have the evidence of a popular military videogame, Jane's Fleet Command, being used in conjunction with CAESAR II/Eb.

CAESAR II Eb interfacing with Jane's Fleet Command videogame

MUST READ:Behavioral Modeling and Simulation:From Individuals to Societies(2008)

This document is all about 'videogames' from a theoretical point of view and how they can enrich currently existing behavior inference/command and control/crisis management systems such as CAESAR, JSIMS, and so on.

Then we have:

Flashback to 2001 - USA Today - Game creators join war against terrorism

And as a final note on this subject, see:

Video game developers skipping the 'consumer' middleman and selling straight to the military contractors - Total Immersion Software, Austin, Texas

"Defense Transformation is occurring. Secretary Rumsfeld started it. It continues today, it continues in whatever country you're from, from India to Turkey, to Singapore, to Poland, to Germany, to Britain, to Japan, and I've spoken in most of these countries.

It's a response to the changing strategic environment - how does the world relate to population shifts (My note: Mass immigration/depopulation/drop in global fertility in males), to energy shifts (My note: consuming less yet paying more - taxing you by the mile for your greenhouse gas emissions
), to global politics. How does it react to those environments?

And Network-Centric Operations (NCO), then, is that emerging military response"

"Network-Centric Operations is equally capable of delivering bombs on target as it is equally capable of delivering the right information to the right people on target, or even medical facilities or medical aid (My note: Obamacare is part of 'Network-centric operations' then - that's why they have PositiveID in that bill, and the rationing of health care/triage. Why do you think the only form of 'socialized healthcare' you had in the United States prior to Obamacare was in the military? Why do you think 'rations', the primary food supply for soldiers, becomes your primary source of food during wartimes such as World War II?).

So it's a relationship between sensors - the people carry out the mission, and the decisionmakers."

"The bad news is, if you don't like change, you are in real trouble, I think, for today"

MY NOTE: Personnel locator is an 'euphemism' for - "tracking your whereabouts - tracking your location."

The first camera [Film camera] captures the image, but captures it in the wrong format - and it is not networked. The next camera, you might suspect, captures the image in the right format, but isn't instantly networked. And of course, your audience knows where I'm going: for the third one is the now infamous phone camera - that captures the image in the right format, and is instantly networked - and in fact can be both a security plus and a security negative. But it is real and constantly a part of almost every mobile device.

You know what this is? They're using the public - the general public - as live on-demand ISR - Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance. The authorities have access to the personal files/snapshots you take on your camera - they can datamine this together with all the other fusion data - for instance, using your phone as a 'personnel locator' - and get a more accurate snapshot of what it is you have been doing.

Another aspect to this is their insistence on being 'networked' - everything that is 'off the grid' is bad - because they can't access it, it can't be controlled. Arthur Cebrowski (head of Office Of Transformation during the Rumsfeld regime) made a similar remark I think some time ago:

Everything needs to be 'interoperable' - ie - accessible to all known computer systems (UNIX, Linux, Windows, whatever) - using service oriented architectures - software programming needs to allow for rapid prototyping (a shift away from 'compiled' programming languages and to interpreted programming languages - such as Ruby, Python, Cobra, whatever), and everything needs to be 'accessible' to the persons with the 'proper' authentication roles (ie - Administrator of the Global Information Grid gets to have access to EVERYTHING).

This whole idea of 'gaming' is fascinating - organizations now often coordinate their whole activities while playing a game. Things like that, I think, are just fascinating to observe and understand (My note; What he's talking about is 'wargaming' - joint 'wargaming' - 'Simulation' is part of Operations Research, and 'Operations Research' is the discipline that EVERY company works by - and who came up with 'Operations Research'? The OSS and the British intelligence agencies did back in World War II. So, modernday business is based on 'military' doctrine.)

Society Of Control - Gilles Deleuze (1990)

"The administrations in charge never cease announcing supposedly necessary reforms: to reform schools, to reform industries, hospitals, the armed forces, prisons. But everyone knows that these institutions are finished, whatever the length of their expiration periods. It's only a matter of administering their last rites and of keeping people employed until the installation of the new forces knocking at the door. These are the societies of control, which are in the process of replacing disciplinary societies."

Indeed, just as the corporation replaces the factory, perpetual training tends to replace the school, and continuous control to replace the examination. Which is the surest way of delivering the school over to the corporation.

This is hell on Earth we're talking about. Continuous control, continuous stress tests - continuous surveillance. The new prison.

This 'slide' was apparently made for the Navy - hence the uniforms. The ability to talk in 'l33t speak' - using all these shorthands in place of speaking natural language.

Well, not only is this a further process in 'dumbing down' the 'digital native citizen' (as they term it), but you can notice a correlation between the way the military has traditionally used acronyms and shorthands for terms in ISR missions and the way people input text when instant messaging ('cu' - see you', 'ttyk' - talk to you later - 'lol' - laughing out loud, 'brb' - be right back - and so on).

So, talking intelligible English is apparently to be scorned in the future. This whole 'machine-to-machine' interfacing - machines being able to speak to each other - apparently they will use this 'l33t speak' too.

At this point, the 'webinar' (corny name that they came up with for this presentation) shifts to a questionnaire everybody has to fill out. Based upon the answers they provide for each of the questions, they measure his or her 'citizenship'.

Apparently, your ability to comprehend 'l33t speak' is a real measure of one's worthiness to exist in this 'New World'.

Most of them are a bunch of 'old world fossils' - this discriminating factor is useful when separating the 'wheat' from the 'chaff' for the upcoming 'information age'.

Offline Overcast

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Mfg Mythologies, Swarming Smart Mobs, "Get 7 Billion on the global grid"
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2011, 01:34:09 pm »
I imagine 50% of the crime is by young people in their 20's and early 30's that just behave like barbarians.

Actually, I suspect 50% of the crime today is done by politicians, government, and the ultra-rich.

They just don't get prosecuted, but that fact does not change the FACT that they are breaking the law.
And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin' to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take... OUR FREEDOM!

Offline Dig

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Mfg Mythologies, Swarming Smart Mobs, "Get 7 Billion on the global grid"
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2011, 09:52:33 pm »
With a Global Service Academy (GSA), USIP and JFCOM can develop dedicated, disciplined, mission-ready, joint-capable, indigenous, civilian-expeditionary forces based on small, highperforming units comprised of young exemplars who are honest, hard-working, open-minded, and warm-hearted. Indigenous youth modernizing their societies from the inside-out/ground-up without westernizing them is more effective and less expensive than human-terrain-team-guided platoons of foreign occupiers.

Peace will replace persistent conflict when the energy of 546 million young people (15-29) – most unemployed/unemployable – swarming in dozens of primitive/ premodern population centers and spread over approximately 33.8 million sq kms of land on four continents in 70 failed/fragile states is focused on peace-keeping and state-building, rather than war-fighting and caliphates. (See Appendix)
Ambassador James Dobbins and Dr. Robert Orr – indigenous ownership of state-building;
Earnest efforts by everyone involved have been undermined by difficulty institutionalizing lessons learned, as well as a lack of anticipation, preparation, coordination, indigenous ownership, and consideration for the religious/spiritual dimension of statecraft. Introduced as the “Dean of our field” by Rick Barton at a CSIS Smart Power event in 2008, Ambassador Dobbins is the perfect J. Robert Oppenheimer for this Y2K-Manhattan Project. Given that failed and fragile states are the problem, “informed, strategic, operational, and concerned with results” is exactly what’s needed. Who better to design the curriculum and direct development of the indigenous, civilian-surge capacity required to restore/establish stability and functionality in these ungoverned spaces?

Global Indigenous Youth Caucus Intervention on agenda 3, III EMRIP
Wednesday, 14 July 2010

This is the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus’ first official presence at the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We sincerely hope we will be welcoming more youth to join us in future sessions. Whilst the progress report gives us a comprehensive overview to the participation of Indigenous Peoples in decision-making, indigenous youth is only mentioned in paragraph 62 and the role of indigenous youth in decision-making is poorly addressed.

Indigenous youth and children globally represent some 50 to 70% of the total indigenous population. Despite this, we are often excluded and ignored from discussions where decisions affecting us are made. There is a desperate need to involve indigenous youth as stakeholders in decision-making processes on the national and international level as we as youth hold a key position between our indigenous tradition and modernized structures. We are carrying the great value of being familiar with both, thus play an integral part in the formation of indigenous identities and the continuation and sustainability of cultural practices and traditions.

It is critical that we have full and effective participation in decision-making processes, so our voices can be heard, allowing us to identify our needs and act accordingly. Echoing the study, we prepared a situation analysis on indigenous youth’s participation in decision-making process based on information and input provided by the members of the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus worldwide.

Key points drawn from the analysis follow:

1.    At the community level, format and degree of youth’s participation in decision-making vary. While some youth are intensively included in cross-generational connections and communications with their elders, others are not permitted to express their opinions with ultimate decision making lying with elders. Native models of congenial cross-generational communication should be put forward for consideration at the UN and in decision-making process on all levels.

2.    In most countries, indigenous youth are not represented in the federal, state or local government. Indigenous focused political parties are not common. If present they rarely place indigenous youth on the agenda. In most countries the turnout of indigenous youth in elections is low. There are often cases where indigenous youth are excluded from the election process because they are not able to acquire legal documents. As youth make up a considerable part of the indigenous population and as we are the future work force. If not included in this process today, we face a bleak outlook for all indigenous peoples’ participation in decision-making tomorrow.

3.    Many governments claim that “youth are the best experts on young people’s lives”. However this does not carry over to policy that affects us; education, vocational training, cultural survival and environmental protection policies are often made by senior officers without any input from youth, or consultation with indigenous youth.

4.    Indigenous youth participants can be spotted in many regional and international gatherings. However, may I ask everyone who is under age of 24 to raise your hand? (Thank you.) As can be seen here, it is obvious that the number of indigenous youth representatives present in international occasion is still low. Financial constraint is often but not the only issue. Members of the Youth Caucus have been denied entry to international conferences due to visa, accreditation, or political interference.

5.    Indigenous youth is in general a strong and dynamic force in the grassroots movements for the rights of indigenous peoples. Numerous indigenous organizations are generated from the indigenous youth, dealing with practical promotion and development of indigenous culture and language among young people. We do this through advocacy, lobbying, awareness raising, demonstration and protest against governmental and non-governmental policies that have adverse effects on indigenous peoples and our cultural identity. However, in some areas, indigenous youth are not allowed to establish their own associations of any kind.

6.    Other key obstacles that hinder youth’s participation include, cultural constraint, lack of access to adequate information, poor understanding of information, deprivation of our rights to learn about our rights and relevant international instruments. Our education does not adequately reflect our indigenous heritage and the specific needs and world view of indigenous youth. There is general exclusion from capacity-building processes and lack of motivation to participate.

This situation analysis reflects indigenous youth from various participating Global Indigenous Youth Caucus countries that demonstrate their interaction and participation in decision-making roles. We respectfully call upon the Experts to include the importance of indigenous youth and their participation in decision-making in the final study. We further call for support of any kind to assist the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus in compiling a more detailed and comprehensive study of indigenous youth and their participation in decision-making.

This is the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus' first official presence at the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We sincerely hope we will be welcoming more youth to join us in the future.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately


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Mfg Mythologies, Swarming Smart Mobs, "Get 7 Billion on the global grid"
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2011, 03:51:50 pm »

1.  Mapping the influence landscape

*    Identifying the key groups and subgroups

*    Analyzing influence networks

*    Identifying supporters, opponents and persuadables

*    Assessing interests

"The key is to understand what others perceive their interests to be, not what you believe they should be!"

−   Listing possible reasons for resistance

−   Listing driving and restraining forces

"People facing tough decisions experience psychological tension as opposing sets of forces push them in conflicting directions. Driving forces push targets into the direction you desire; restraining forces push them in other directions. The key is to find ways to strengthen the driving forces, weaken the restraining forces, or both."

*    Assessing alternatives (BATNAs)

2.   Shaping Perceptions of Interests

*    Altering incentives
*    Framing decisions

"Framing is the use of arguments, analogy, and metaphor to create a favorable definition of the problem to be solved and the set of potential solutions."
*    Using social influence

"People rarely make important choice independently; most people are influenced by their network of relationships and the opinion of key advisors."
(=>   Mapping the influence landscape)

*    Engaging in quid-pro-quo negotiation

"Finally, if key people cannot otherwise be brought along, it may be necessary to engage them in a this-for-that negotiation, agreeing to support a project or ini- tiative they care about in exchange for their support of yours."
3.  Framing Decisions

*    Invoking the common good (emphasizing collective benefits and downplaying individual costs)

*    Linking to core values

See ads for four-wheel drive cars: link with freedom and adventurous spirit

*    Heightening concerns about loss or risk

"Many people tend to be loss-averse – i.e. more sensitive to potential losses than to equivalent potential gains. Desired courses of actions should thus be cast in terms of potential gains and undesired choices in terms of potential losses."

*    Rejection and retreat

"Ask for a lot initially, and then settle for less." (?)

*    Narrowing or broadening the focus

*    Enlarging the pie

*    Neutralizing toxic issues

−     Explicitly setting them aside for future consideration

−     Making up-front commitment that allay anxiety

*    Inoculating against expected challenges

"Presenting and decisively refuting weak form of arguments immunizes audiences against the same arguments when they are advanced in more potent forms."

*    Providing a script for convincing others

4.   Shaping Perceptions of Alternatives

*    Introducing new options

"Often we can exert considerable influence simply by expanding the range of options and alternatives under consideration."

*    Controlling the agenda
*    Eliminating "do nothing" or "status quo" as an option

−   Setting up "action-forcing events" – i.e. events that force people to make commitments or take actions (→  implementation milestones, deadlines,
conditional agreements, etc.)

−   Making irreversible commitments oneself

−   Building change-supporting coalitions

*    Pruning options

−   Eliminating less desirable options / Funneling decision-making toward favored choices

−   Letting people try to make unpromising options work… and draw the right conclusions themselves.

5.   Facilitating the Process of Acceptance

*    Capitalizing on people's wish to:

−   remain consistent with strongly held values and beliefs (→  2.b: Linking to core values)

−   remain consistent with their prior commitments

−   preserve their sense of control

−   repay obligations

−   preserve their reputation

−   gain the approval of respected others

*    Using behavior change to drive attitude change

"People have a strong need for consistency; induced to try something new, they are likely to adjust their attitudes to be consistent with the behavior."

*    Sequencing through relationship networks

−   Planning when and in what order to approach people in order to form a coalition and build momentum

−   Planning the sequence of individual and group meetings (→  1. Mapping the influence landscape)

6.   Gaining Acceptance for Tough Decisions

Creating a fair process:

*    Engaging in shared diagnosis

"Getting people involved in the diagnosis of organizational problems is a form of entanglement: involvement in the diagnosis makes it more difficult for people to deny the need for tough decisions."

*    Consulting broadly

"Consultation promotes buy-in. Good consultation means active listening. Posing questions and encouraging people to voice their real concerns, then summarizing and feeding back what you have heard, signals that you are paying attention and taking the conversation seriously. The power of active listening as a persuasive technique is vastly underrated."

*    Asking what is needed to get it done… and giving what has been asked for.

7.   Communicating

*    Developing reliable communication channels

"Good communication channels transmit the right information in a timely and responsive way."

*    Focus and repetition

*    Matching the medium and the message

*    Introducing powerful simplifications

*    Creating a new mythology

*    Building personal credibility

Source: Michael D. Watkins, The Power to Persuade, Harvard Business School, Working Paper
9-800-323, Rev. July 24, 2000

Sumbiosis / Thinkpieces

Offline Dig

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Mfg Mythologies, Swarming Smart Mobs, "Get 7 Billion on the global grid"
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2011, 05:52:20 pm »
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately


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Mfg Mythologies, Swarming Smart Mobs, "Get 7 Billion on the global grid"
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2011, 09:07:43 am »

The Genius of Swarms
A single ant or bee isn't smart, but their colonies are. The study of swarm intelligence is providing insights that can help humans manage complex systems, from truck routing to military robots.
By Peter Miller
National Geographic Staff
Photograph by Jean-François Hellio and Nicolas Van Ingen

I used to think ants knew what they were doing. The ones marching across my kitchen counter looked so confident, I just figured they had a plan, knew where they were going and what needed to be done. How else could ants organize highways, build elaborate nests, stage epic raids, and do all the other things ants do?

Turns out I was wrong. Ants aren't clever little engineers, architects, or warriors after all—at least not as individuals. When it comes to deciding what to do next, most ants don't have a clue. "If you watch an ant try to accomplish something, you'll be impressed by how inept it is," says Deborah M. Gordon, a biologist at Stanford University.

How do we explain, then, the success of Earth's 12,000 or so known ant species? They must have learned something in 140 million years.

"Ants aren't smart," Gordon says. "Ant colonies are." A colony can solve problems unthinkable for individual ants, such as finding the shortest path to the best food source, allocating workers to different tasks, or defending a territory from neighbors. As individuals, ants might be tiny dummies, but as colonies they respond quickly and effectively to their environment. They do it with something called swarm intelligence.

Where this intelligence comes from raises a fundamental question in nature: How do the simple actions of individuals add up to the complex behavior of a group? How do hundreds of honeybees make a critical decision about their hive if many of them disagree? What enables a school of herring to coordinate its movements so precisely it can change direction in a flash, like a single, silvery organism? The collective abilities of such animals—none of which grasps the big picture, but each of which contributes to the group's success—seem miraculous even to the biologists who know them best. Yet during the past few decades, researchers have come up with intriguing insights.

One key to an ant colony, for example, is that no one's in charge. No generals command ant warriors. No managers boss ant workers. The queen plays no role except to lay eggs. Even with half a million ants, a colony functions just fine with no management at all—at least none that we would recognize. It relies instead upon countless interactions between individual ants, each of which is following simple rules of thumb. Scientists describe such a system as self-organizing.

Consider the problem of job allocation. In the Arizona desert where Deborah Gordon studies red harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex barbatus), a colony calculates each morning how many workers to send out foraging for food. The number can change, depending on conditions. Have foragers recently discovered a bonanza of tasty seeds? More ants may be needed to haul the bounty home. Was the nest damaged by a storm last night? Additional maintenance workers may be held back to make repairs. An ant might be a nest worker one day, a trash collector the next. But how does a colony make such adjustments if no one's in charge? Gordon has a theory.

Ants communicate by touch and smell. When one ant bumps into another, it sniffs with its antennae to find out if the other belongs to the same nest and where it has been working. (Ants that work outside the nest smell different from those that stay inside.) Before they leave the nest each day, foragers normally wait for early morning patrollers to return. As patrollers enter the nest, they touch antennae briefly with foragers.

"When a forager has contact with a patroller, it's a stimulus for the forager to go out," Gordon says. "But the forager needs several contacts no more than ten seconds apart before it will go out."

To see how this works, Gordon and her collaborator Michael Greene of the University of Colorado at Denver captured patroller ants as they left a nest one morning. After waiting half an hour, they simulated the ants' return by dropping glass beads into the nest entrance at regular intervals—some coated with patroller scent, some with maintenance worker scent, some with no scent. Only the beads coated with patroller scent stimulated foragers to leave the nest. Their conclusion: Foragers use the rate of their encounters with patrollers to tell if it's safe to go out. (If you bump into patrollers at the right rate, it's time to go foraging. If not, better wait. It might be too windy, or there might be a hungry lizard waiting out there.) Once the ants start foraging and bringing back food, other ants join the effort, depending on the rate at which they encounter returning foragers.

"A forager won't come back until it finds something," Gordon says. "The less food there is, the longer it takes the forager to find it and get back. The more food there is, the faster it comes back. So nobody's deciding whether it's a good day to forage. The collective is, but no particular ant is."

That's how swarm intelligence works: simple creatures following simple rules, each one acting on local information. No ant sees the big picture. No ant tells any other ant what to do. Some ant species may go about this with more sophistication than others. (Temnothorax albipennis, for example, can rate the quality of a potential nest site using multiple criteria.) But the bottom line, says Iain Couzin, a biologist at Oxford and Princeton Universities, is that no leadership is required. "Even complex behavior may be coordinated by relatively simple interactions," he says.

Inspired by the elegance of this idea, Marco Dorigo, a computer scientist at the Université Libre in Brussels, used his knowledge of ant behavior in 1991 to create mathematical procedures for solving particularly complex human problems, such as routing trucks, scheduling airlines, or guiding military robots.

In Houston, for example, a company named American Air Liquide has been using an ant-based strategy to manage a complex business problem. The company produces industrial and medical gases, mostly nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen, at about a hundred locations in the United States and delivers them to 6,000 sites, using pipelines, railcars, and 400 trucks. Deregulated power markets in some regions (the price of electricity changes every 15 minutes in parts of Texas) add yet another layer of complexity.

"Right now in Houston, the price is $44 a megawatt for an industrial customer," says Charles N. Harper, who oversees the supply system at Air Liquide. "Last night the price went up to $64, and Monday when the cold front came through, it went up to $210." The company needed a way to pull it all together.

Working with the Bios Group (now NuTech Solutions), a firm that specialized in artificial intelligence, Air Liquide developed a computer model based on algorithms inspired by the foraging behavior of Argentine ants (Linepithema humile), a species that deposits chemical substances called pheromones.

"When these ants bring food back to the nest, they lay a pheromone trail that tells other ants to go get more food," Harper explains. "The pheromone trail gets reinforced every time an ant goes out and comes back, kind of like when you wear a trail in the forest to collect wood. So we developed a program that sends out billions of software ants to find out where the pheromone trails are strongest for our truck routes."

Ants had evolved an efficient method to find the best routes in their neighborhoods. Why not follow their example? So Air Liquide combined the ant approach with other artificial intelligence techniques to consider every permutation of plant scheduling, weather, and truck routing—millions of possible decisions and outcomes a day. Every night, forecasts of customer demand and manufacturing costs are fed into the model.

"It takes four hours to run, even with the biggest computers we have," Harper says. "But at six o'clock every morning we get a solution that says how we're going to manage our day."

For truck drivers, the new system took some getting used to. Instead of delivering gas from the plant closest to a customer, as they used to do, drivers were now asked to pick up shipments from whichever plant was making gas at the lowest delivered price, even if it was farther away.

"You want me to drive a hundred miles? To the drivers, it wasn't intuitive," Harper says. But for the company, the savings have been impressive. "It's huge. It's actually huge."

Other companies also have profited by imitating ants. In Italy and Switzerland, fleets of trucks carrying milk and dairy products, heating oil, and groceries all use ant-foraging rules to find the best routes for deliveries. In England and France, telephone companies have made calls go through faster on their networks by programming messages to deposit virtual pheromones at switching stations, just as ants leave signals for other ants to show them the best trails.

In the U.S., Southwest Airlines has tested an ant-based model to improve service at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. With about 200 aircraft a day taking off and landing on two runways and using gates at three concourses, the company wanted to make sure that each plane got in and out as quickly as possible, even if it arrived early or late.

"People don't like being only 500 yards away from a gate and having to sit out there until another aircraft leaves," says Doug Lawson of Southwest. So Lawson created a computer model of the airport, giving each aircraft the ability to remember how long it took to get into and away from each gate. Then he set the model in motion to simulate a day's activity.

"The planes are like ants searching for the best gate," he says. But rather than leaving virtual pheromones along the way, each aircraft remembers the faster gates and forgets the slower ones. After many simulations, using real data to vary arrival and departure times, each plane learned how to avoid an intolerable wait on the tarmac. Southwest was so pleased with the outcome, it may use a similar model to study the ticket counter area.

When it comes to swarm intelligence, ants aren't the only insects with something useful to teach us. On a small, breezy island off the southern coast of Maine, Thomas Seeley, a biologist at Cornell University, has been looking into the uncanny ability of honeybees to make good decisions. With as many as 50,000 workers in a single hive, honeybees have evolved ways to work through individual differences of opinion to do what's best for the colony. If only people could be as effective in boardrooms, church committees, and town meetings, Seeley says, we could avoid problems making decisions in our own lives.

During the past decade, Seeley, Kirk Visscher of the University of California, Riverside, and others have been studying colonies of honeybees (Apis mellifera) to see how they choose a new home. In late spring, when a hive gets too crowded, a colony normally splits, and the queen, some drones, and about half the workers fly a short distance to cluster on a tree branch. There the bees bivouac while a small percentage of them go searching for new real estate. Ideally, the site will be a cavity in a tree, well off the ground, with a small entrance hole facing south, and lots of room inside for brood and honey. Once a colony selects a site, it usually won't move again, so it has to make the right choice.

To find out how, Seeley's team applied paint dots and tiny plastic tags to identify all 4,000 bees in each of several small swarms that they ferried to Appledore Island, home of the Shoals Marine Laboratory. There, in a series of experiments, they released each swarm to locate nest boxes they'd placed on one side of the half-mile-long (one kilometer) island, which has plenty of shrubs but almost no trees or other places for nests.

In one test they put out five nest boxes, four that weren't quite big enough and one that was just about perfect. Scout bees soon appeared at all five. When they returned to the swarm, each performed a waggle dance urging other scouts to go have a look. (These dances include a code giving directions to a box's location.) The strength of each dance reflected the scout's enthusiasm for the site. After a while, dozens of scouts were dancing their little feet off, some for one site, some for another, and a small cloud of bees was buzzing around each box.

The decisive moment didn't take place in the main cluster of bees, but out at the boxes, where scouts were building up. As soon as the number of scouts visible near the entrance to a box reached about 15—a threshold confirmed by other experiments—the bees at that box sensed that a quorum had been reached, and they returned to the swarm with the news.

"It was a race," Seeley says. "Which site was going to build up 15 bees first?"

Scouts from the chosen box then spread through the swarm, signaling that it was time to move. Once all the bees had warmed up, they lifted off for their new home, which, to no one's surprise, turned out to be the best of the five boxes.

The bees' rules for decision-making—seek a diversity of options, encourage a free competition among ideas, and use an effective mechanism to narrow choices—so impressed Seeley that he now uses them at Cornell as chairman of his department.

"I've applied what I've learned from the bees to run faculty meetings," he says. To avoid going into a meeting with his mind made up, hearing only what he wants to hear, and pressuring people to conform, Seeley asks his group to identify all the possibilities, kick their ideas around for a while, then vote by secret ballot. "It's exactly what the swarm bees do, which gives a group time to let the best ideas emerge and win. People are usually quite amenable to that."

In fact, almost any group that follows the bees' rules will make itself smarter, says James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds. "The analogy is really quite powerful. The bees are predicting which nest site will be best, and humans can do the same thing, even in the face of exceptionally complex decisions." Investors in the stock market, scientists on a research project, even kids at a county fair guessing the number of beans in a jar can be smart groups, he says, if their members are diverse, independent minded, and use a mechanism such as voting, auctioning, or averaging to reach a collective decision.

Take bettors at a horse race. Why are they so accurate at predicting the outcome of a race? At the moment the horses leave the starting gate, the odds posted on the pari-mutuel board, which are calculated from all bets put down, almost always predict the race's outcome: Horses with the lowest odds normally finish first, those with second lowest odds finish second, and so on. The reason, Surowiecki says, is that pari-mutuel betting is a nearly perfect machine for tapping into the wisdom of the crowd.

"If you ever go to the track, you find a really diverse group, experts who spend all day perusing daily race forms, people who know something about some kinds of horses, and others who are betting at random, like the woman who only likes black horses," he says. Like bees trying to make a decision, bettors gather all kinds of information, disagree with one another, and distill their collective judgment when they place their bets.

That's why it's so rare to win on a long shot.

There's a small park near the White House in Washington, D.C., where I like to watch flocks of pigeons swirl over the traffic and trees. Sooner or later, the birds come to rest on ledges of buildings surrounding the park. Then something disrupts them, and they're off again in synchronized flight.

The birds don't have a leader. No pigeon is telling the others what to do. Instead, they're each paying close attention to the pigeons next to them, each bird following simple rules as they wheel across the sky. These rules add up to another kind of swarm intelligence—one that has less to do with making decisions than with precisely coordinating movement.

Craig Reynolds, a computer graphics researcher, was curious about what these rules might be. So in 1986 he created a deceptively simple steering program called boids. In this simulation, generic birdlike objects, or boids, were each given three instructions: 1) avoid crowding nearby boids, 2) fly in the average direction of nearby boids, and 3) stay close to nearby boids. The result, when set in motion on a computer screen, was a convincing simulation of flocking, including lifelike and unpredictable movements.

At the time, Reynolds was looking for ways to depict animals realistically in TV shows and films. (Batman Returns in 1992 was the first movie to use his approach, portraying a swarm of bats and an army of penguins.) Today he works at Sony doing research for games, such as an algorithm that simulates in real time as many as 15,000 interacting birds, fish, or people.

By demonstrating the power of self-organizing models to mimic swarm behavior, Reynolds was also blazing the trail for robotics engineers. A team of robots that could coordinate its actions like a flock of birds could offer significant advantages over a solitary robot. Spread out over a large area, a group could function as a powerful mobile sensor net, gathering information about what's out there. If the group encountered something unexpected, it could adjust and respond quickly, even if the robots in the group weren't very sophisticated, just as ants are able to come up with various options by trial and error. If one member of the group were to break down, others could take its place. And, most important, control of the group could be decentralized, not dependent on a leader.

"In biology, if you look at groups with large numbers, there are very few examples where you have a central agent," says Vijay Kumar, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. "Everything is very distributed: They don't all talk to each other. They act on local information. And they're all anonymous. I don't care who moves the chair, as long as somebody moves the chair. To go from one robot to multiple robots, you need all three of those ideas."

Within five years Kumar hopes to put a networked team of robotic vehicles in the field. One purpose might be as first responders. "Let's say there's a 911 call," he says. "The fire alarm goes off. You don't want humans to respond. You want machines to respond, to tell you what's happening. Before you send firemen into a burning building, why not send in a group of robots?"

Taking this idea one step further, Marco Dorigo's group in Brussels is leading a European effort to create a "swarmanoid," a group of cooperating robots with complementary abilities: "foot-bots" to transport things on the ground, "hand-bots" to climb walls and manipulate objects, and "eye-bots" to fly around, providing information to the other units.

The military is eager to acquire similar capabilities. On January 20, 2004, researchers released a swarm of 66 pint-size robots into an empty office building at Fort A. P. Hill, a training center near Fredericksburg, Virginia. The mission: Find targets hidden in the building.

Zipping down the main hallway, the foot-long (0.3 meter) red robots pivoted this way and that on their three wheels, resembling nothing so much as large insects. Eight sonars on each unit helped them avoid collisions with walls and other robots. As they spread out, entering one room after another, each robot searched for objects of interest with a small, Web-style camera. When one robot encountered another, it used wireless network gear to exchange information. ("Hey, I've already explored that part of the building. Look somewhere else.")

In the back of one room, a robot spotted something suspicious: a pink ball in an open closet (the swarm had been trained to look for anything pink). The robot froze, sending an image to its human supervisor. Soon several more robots arrived to form a perimeter around the pink intruder. Within half an hour, all six of the hidden objects had been found. The research team conducting the experiment declared the run a success. Then they started a new test.

The demonstration was part of the Centibots project, an investigation to see if as many as a hundred robots could collaborate on a mission. If they could, teams of robots might someday be sent into a hostile village to flush out terrorists or locate prisoners; into an earthquake-damaged building to find victims; onto chemical-spill sites to examine hazardous waste; or along borders to watch for intruders. Military agencies such as DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) have funded a number of robotics programs using collaborative flocks of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, schools of torpedo-shaped underwater gliders, and herds of unmanned ground vehicles. But at the time, this was the largest swarm of robots ever tested.

"When we started Centibots, we were all thinking, this is a crazy idea, it's impossible to do," says Régis Vincent, a researcher at SRI International in Menlo Park, California. "Now we're looking to see if we can do it with a thousand robots."

In nature, of course, animals travel in even larger numbers. That's because, as members of a big group, whether it's a flock, school, or herd, individuals increase their chances of detecting predators, finding food, locating a mate, or following a migration route. For these animals, coordinating their movements with one another can be a matter of life or death.

"It's much harder for a predator to avoid being spotted by a thousand fish than it is to avoid being spotted by one," says Daniel Grünbaum, a biologist at the University of Washington. "News that a predator is approaching spreads quickly through a school because fish sense from their neighbors that something's going on."

When a predator strikes a school of fish, the group is capable of scattering in patterns that make it almost impossible to track any individual. It might explode in a flash, create a kind of moving bubble around the predator, or fracture into multiple blobs, before coming back together and swimming away.

Animals on land do much the same, as Karsten Heuer, a wildlife biologist, observed in 2003, when he and his wife, Leanne Allison, followed the vast Porcupine caribou herd (Rangifer tarandus granti) for five months. Traveling more than a thousand miles (1,600 kilometers) with the animals, they documented the migration from winter range in Canada's northern Yukon Territory to calving grounds in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

"It's difficult to describe in words, but when the herd was on the move it looked very much like a cloud shadow passing over the landscape, or a mass of dominoes toppling over at the same time and changing direction," Karsten says. "It was as though every animal knew what its neighbor was going to do, and the neighbor beside that and beside that. There was no anticipation or reaction. No cause and effect. It just was."

One day, as the herd funneled through a gully at the tree line, Karsten and Leanne spotted a wolf creeping up. The herd responded with a classic swarm defense.

"As soon as the wolf got within a certain distance of the caribou, the herd's alertness just skyrocketed," Karsten says. "Now there was no movement. Every animal just stopped, completely vigilant and watching." A hundred yards (90 meters) closer, and the wolf crossed another threshold. "The nearest caribou turned and ran, and that response moved like a wave through the entire herd until they were all running. Reaction times shifted into another realm. Animals closest to the wolf at the back end of the herd looked like a blanket unraveling and tattering, which, from the wolf's perspective, must have been extremely confusing." The wolf chased one caribou after another, losing ground with each change of target. In the end, the herd escaped over the ridge, and the wolf was left panting and gulping snow.

For each caribou, the stakes couldn't have been higher, yet the herd's evasive maneuvers displayed not panic but precision. (Imagine the chaos if a hungry wolf were released into a crowd of people.) Every caribou knew when it was time to run and in which direction to go, even if it didn't know exactly why. No leader was responsible for coordinating the rest of the herd. Instead each animal was following simple rules evolved over thousands of years of wolf attacks.

That's the wonderful appeal of swarm intelligence. Whether we're talking about ants, bees, pigeons, or caribou, the ingredients of smart group behavior—decentralized control, response to local cues, simple rules of thumb—add up to a shrewd strategy to cope with complexity.

"We don't even know yet what else we can do with this," says Eric Bonabeau, a complexity theorist and the chief scientist at Icosystem Corporation in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "We're not used to solving decentralized problems in a decentralized way. We can't control an emergent phenomenon like traffic by putting stop signs and lights everywhere. But the idea of shaping traffic as a self-organizing system, that's very exciting."

Social and political groups have already adopted crude swarm tactics. During mass protests eight years ago in Seattle, anti-globalization activists used mobile communications devices to spread news quickly about police movements, turning an otherwise unruly crowd into a "smart mob" that was able to disperse and re-form like a school of fish.

The biggest changes may be on the Internet. Consider the way Google uses group smarts to find what you're looking for. When you type in a search query, Google surveys billions of Web pages on its index servers to identify the most relevant ones. It then ranks them by the number of pages that link to them, counting links as votes (the most popular sites get weighted votes, since they're more likely to be reliable). The pages that receive the most votes are listed first in the search results. In this way, Google says, it "uses the collective intelligence of the Web to determine a page's importance."

Wikipedia, a free collaborative encyclopedia, has also proved to be a big success, with millions of articles in more than 200 languages about everything under the sun, each of which can be contributed by anyone or edited by anyone. "It's now possible for huge numbers of people to think together in ways we never imagined a few decades ago," says Thomas Malone of MIT's new Center for Collective Intelligence. "No single person knows everything that's needed to deal with problems we face as a society, such as health care or climate change, but collectively we know far more than we've been able to tap so far."

Such thoughts underline an important truth about collective intelligence: Crowds tend to be wise only if individual members act responsibly and make their own decisions. A group won't be smart if its members imitate one another, slavishly follow fads, or wait for someone to tell them what to do. When a group is being intelligent, whether it's made up of ants or attorneys, it relies on its members to do their own part. For those of us who sometimes wonder if it's really worth recycling that extra bottle to lighten our impact on the planet, the bottom line is that our actions matter, even if we don't see how.

Think about a honeybee as she walks around inside the hive. If a cold wind hits the hive, she'll shiver to generate heat and, in the process, help to warm the nearby brood. She has no idea that hundreds of workers in other parts of the hive are doing the same thing at the same time to the benefit of the next generation.

"A honeybee never sees the big picture any more than you or I do," says Thomas Seeley, the bee expert. "None of us knows what society as a whole needs, but we look around and say, oh, they need someone to volunteer at school, or mow the church lawn, or help in a political campaign."

If you're looking for a role model in a world of complexity, you could do worse than to imitate a bee.


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Mfg Mythologies, Swarming Smart Mobs, "Get 7 Billion on the global grid"
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2011, 09:50:30 am »

Guerrilla Strategy and Cybernetic Theory

 To fight a hundred times and win a hundred times is not the blessing of blessings.
The blessing of blessings is to beat the other man's army without getting into the fight yourself.
—Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Traditional guerrilla activity such as bombings, snipings, and kidnappings complete with printed manifestos seems like so many ecologically risky short-change feedback devices compared with the real possibilities of portable video, maverick data banks, acid meta-programming, cable TV, satellites, cybernetic craft industries, and alternate life-styles. Yet the guerrilla tradition is highly relevant in the current information environment. Guerrilla warfare is by nature irregular and non-repetitive. Like information theory, it recognizes that redundancy can easily become reactionary and result in entropy and defeat. The juxtaposition of cybernetics and guerrilla strategy suggests a way of moving that is a genuine alternative to the film scenario of New York City urban guerrilla warfare, Ice. Using machine guns to round up people in an apartment house for a revolutionary teach-in is not what the information environment is about. All power does not proceed from the end of a gun.

We suffer the violence of the entropy of old forms—nuclear family, educational institutions, supermarketing, cities, the oil slick complex, etc. They are running us down, running down on us and with us. How do we get out of the way? How do we develop new ways? This ship of state continues to run away from its people and its planetary responsibilities, while efforts continue to seduce us into boarding this sinking ship—educational loans, fellowships, lowering the voting age. Where did Nixon come from anyway? How did that leftover from the days of Elvis get to be captain of our ship, master of our fate?

How many Americans, once horrified by thermonuclear war, are now thinking the unthinkable in ecological terms with a certain spiteful glee of relief at the prospect of a white hell for all?

Psychedelic my ass: Children of A-Bomb

— Bob Lenox

Nobody with any wisdom is looking for a straight-out fight. We have come to understand that in fighting you too easily become what you behold. Yet there is no way on this planet to get out of the way. Strategy and tactics need be developed so the establishment in its entropy does not use up our budgets of flexibility. The efforts to enlist the young in the traditional political parties for 1976 will be gross. Relative to the establishment and its cultural automatons, we need to move from pure Weiner wise Augustinian cybernetics into the realm of war game theory and practice in the information environment.

The most elegant piece of earth technology remains the human biocomputer; the most important data banks are in our brain cells. Inherent in cybernetic guerrilla warfare is the absolute necessity of having the people participate as fully as possible. This can be done in an information environment by insisting on ways of feeding back for human enhancement rather than feeding off people for the sake of concentration of power through capital, pseudo-mythologies, or withheld information. The information economy that begins in a guerrilla mode accepts, cultivates, and depends on living, thinking flesh for its success. People are not information coolies rickshawing around the perceptions of the privileged, the well-paid, or the past. People can and do process information according to the uniqueness of their perceptual systems. Uniqueness is premium in a noospheric culture that thrives on high variety. Information is here understood as a difference that makes a difference. The difficulties of a negentropic or information culture are in the transformations: how do we manage transformation of differences without exploitation, jam, or corruption that sucks power from people?

I am not talking about cultivation of perceptual systems at the expense of emotional cadences. Faster is not always better. Doing it all ways sometimes means slowing down. Internal syncing of all facets is critical to the maintenance of a flexibility and avoidance of non-cybernetic “hang-up” and “drag.”

The bulk of the work done on cybernetics, from Wiener’s guided missiles through the work at IBM and Bell Labs along with the various academic spin-offs, has been big-budget, establishment-supported, and conditioned by the relation of those intellectuals to the powers that be distinctly non-cybernetic and unresponsive to people. The concept of entropy itself may be so conditioned. Witness the parallel between Wiener’s theoretical statements about enclaves and the enclave theory of withdrawal from Vietnam. One of the grossest results of this situation is the preoccupation of the phone company and others with making “foolproof terminals” since many potential users are assumed to be fools who can only give the most dumb-dumb responses. So fools are created.

The Japanese, the people we dropped the A-bomb on in 1945, introduced the portable video system to this country in 1967, at a price low enough so that independent and semi-independent users could get their hands on it and begin to experiment. This experimentation, this experience, carries within it the logic of cybernetic guerrilla warfare.

Warfare…because having total control over the processing of video puts you in direct conflict with that system of perceptual imperialism called broadcast television that puts a terminal in your home and thereby controls your access to information. This situation of conflict also exists as a matter of fact between people using portable video for feedback and in situations such as schools that operate through withholding and controlling the flow of information.

Guerrilla warfare…because the portable video tool only enables you to fight on a small scale in an irregular way at this time. Running to the networks with portable video material seems rear-view mirror at best, reactionary at worst. What is critical is to develop an infrastructure to cable in situations where feedback and relevant access routes can be set up as part of the process.

Cybernetic guerrilla warfare…because the tool of portable video is a cybernetic extension of man and because cybernetics is the only language of intelligence and power that is ecologically viable. Guerrilla warfare as the Weathermen have been engaging in up to now, and revolution as they have articulated it, is simply play-acting on the stage of history in an ahistoric context. Guerrilla theater, doing it for the hell of it on their stage, doesn’t make it either. We need to develop biologically viable information structures on a planetary scale. Nothing short of that will work. We move now in this present information environment in a phase that finds its best analogue in those stages of human struggle called guerrilla warfare.

Yet this is not China in the 1930’s. Though there is much to learn from Mao and traditional guerrilla warfare, this is not the same. Critically, for instance, in an economy that operates on the transformation of differences, a hundred flowers must bloom from the beginning. In order to “win” in cybernetic guerrilla warfare, differences must be cherished, not temporarily suppressed for the sake of “victory.” A la McLuhan, war is education. Conflict defines differences. We need to know what not to be enough to internally calculate our own process of becoming earth-alive noosphere. The more we are able to internally process differences among us, the more we will be able to process “spoils” of conflict with the entropic establishment—i.e., understanding the significant differences between us and them in such a way as to avoid processing what is dangerous and death-producing. Learn what you can from the Egyptians; the exodus is cybernetic.

Traditional guerrilla warfare is concerned with climate and weather. We must concern ourselves with decoding the information contours of the culture. How does power function here? How is this system of communications and control maintained? What information is habitually withheld and how? Ought it to be jammed? How do we jam it? How do we keep the action small enough so it is relevant to real people? How do we build up an indigenous data base? Where do we rove and strike next?

Traditional guerrilla warfare is concerned with knowing the terrain. We must expand this to a full understanding of the ecological thresholds within which we move. We must know ourselves in a cybernetic way, and know the ecology so that we can take and take care of the planet intact.

The traditional concern is for good generals. What’s desirable for us is ad hoc heterarchies of power which have their logistics down. Cybernetics understands that power is distributed throughout the system. Relevant pathways shift and change with the conditions. The navy has developed war plans where the command in a fleet moves from ship to ship every fifteen minutes. It is near impossible to knock out the command vessel.

The traditional tricks of guerrilla warfare are remarkably suited for cybernetic action in an information environment. To scan briefly:

•       Mixing “straight” moves with “freak” moves. Using straight moves to engage the enemy, freak moves to beat him and not let the enemy know which is which.
•       Running away when it’s too heavy. Leave the enemy’s strong places and seek the weak. Go where you can make a difference.
•       Shaping the enemy’s forces and keeping our own unshaped, thereby beating the many with the few.
•       Faking the enemy out. Surprise attacks.
•       Count the cost. We need to develop an information accounting system, a cultural calculus.
•       Use the enemy’s supply. With portable video one can take the American mythology right off the air and use it as part of a new perceptual collage.
•       Be flexible. In cybernetics, flexibility, the maintenance of a good guessing way, is critical.
•       Patience. Cybernetics is inherently concerned with timing and time design. It is a protracted war.

We retreat in space, but we advance in time.

Q.     Who are the enemy?
A.     All conspiring with entropy. Ourselves insofar as we make trash of consciousness.
Q.     Who are allies?
A.     All who are developing self-referencing modes of sharing life on planet earth.

Do not repeat a tactic which has gained you victory, but shape your actions to an infinite variety. Water sets its flow according to the ground below; set your victories according to the enemy against you. War has no constant aspect as water has no constant shape.
—Sun Tzu


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Mfg Mythologies, Swarming Smart Mobs, "Get 7 Billion on the global grid"
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2011, 01:57:44 pm »

Joseph Nye Makes the Case for Soft Power in the Obama Administration

Submitted by Maggie Barker Taylor on 6/13/08

I think it's safe to say that Dr. Joseph Nye, former Dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, prefers U.S. Sen. Barack Obama to U.S. Sen. John McCain when it comes to the path forward for U.S. foreign policy. Moderating a panel on "A New U.S. Grand Stategy" at a stellar Center for New American Security conference on Tuesday, Nye emphasized his trademark "soft power" thesis. In his words, soft power "is the ability to obtain the outcomes one wants through attraction rather than using the carrots and sticks of payment or coercion." Both at this conference and in a piece on Huffington Post yesterday, Nye is critical of the decline of soft power in the last eight years:

    Polls show that American soft power has declined quite dramatically in much of the world over the past eight years. Some say this is structural, and resentment is the price we pay for being the biggest kid on the block. But it matters greatly whether the big kid is seen as a friend or a bully. In much of the world we have been seen as a bully as a result of the Bush Administration policies.

In presidential candidate Sen. Obama, Nye sees a new opportunity for America's role in the world. He warns that although Obama will inherit a scrum of nasty foreign policy problems "where hard power plays a role," Obama must also flex soft power, and he must signal his interest to do so immediately after the election:

    Some time between November 4 and January 20, he will need to indicate a new tone in foreign policy which shows that we will once again export hope rather than fear. This could take several forms: announcement of an intent to close Guantanamo; dropping the term "global war on terror;" creation of a special bipartisan group to formulate a new policy on climate change; a "listening trip" to Asia, and so forth. Electing Obama will greatly help restore America's soft power as a nation that can recreate itself, but the election alone will not be sufficient. It is not too soon to start thinking about symbols and policies for the days immediately after the election.

It is heartening to me to hear commentary on America's role in the world that goes beyond the sad and simple slogans of the Bush camp: "you're with us or against us," "axis of evil," "stay the course," "stuff happens," "mission accomplished," "shock and awe," "they'll greet us with candy and sweets," "I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul." I hope that Nye and other serious foreign policy experts continue to contribute to discourse on a new foreign policy agenda and that Sen. Obama seizes the opportunity to change America's course for the better.

Update: Also on The Huffington Post, Tom Edsall has a good review of folks working with Obama on his economic and foreign policy agendas. Scroll down the post for discussion on his foreign policy team. He nicely contrasts Clinton's team vs. Obama's team:

    Hillary Clinton's foreign policy advisers came of political age during the Cold War, in many cases during in the Carter administration, and tend to see the world in terms of states and state conflicts, this source said. In addition, many of Hillary Clinton's top advisers "spent eight years dealing with Saddam [Hussein's] intransigence in the 90s," making them more receptive to the arguments for invading Iraq.

    Conversely, this expert argued, many of the Obama advisers are post-Cold War theorists who tend to see the world in terms of failed states, the influence of technology, food crises, non-state actors like Osama bin Laden, the spread of nuclear weapons, and the uneven distribution of the benefits of globalization.


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Mfg Mythologies, Swarming Smart Mobs, "Get 7 Billion on the global grid"
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2011, 09:07:15 am »

The Zapatista "Social Netwar" in Mexico

The information revolution is leading to the rise of network forms of organization in which small, previously isolated groups can communicate, link up, and conduct coordinated joint actions as never before. This in turn is leading to a new mode of conflict--netwar--in which the protagonists depend on using network forms of organization, doctrine, strategy, and technology. Many actors across the spectrum of conflict--from terrorists, guerrillas, and criminals who pose security threats, to social activists who may not--are developing netwar designs and capabilities. The Zapatista movement in Mexico is a seminal case of this. In January 1994, a guerrilla-like insurgency in Chiapas by the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), and the Mexican government's response to it, aroused a multitude of civil-society activists associated with human-rights, indigenous-rights, and other types of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to swarm--electronically as well as physically--from the United States, Canada, and elsewhere into Mexico City and Chiapas. There, they linked with Mexican NGOs to voice solidarity with the EZLN's demands and to press for nonviolent change. Thus, what began as a violent insurgency in an isolated region mutated into a nonviolent though no less disruptive social netwar that engaged the attention of activists from far and wide and had nationwide and foreign repercussions for Mexico. This study examines the rise of this social netwar, the information-age behaviors that characterize it (e.g., extensive use of the Internet), its effects on the Mexican military, its implications for Mexico's stability, and its implications for the future occurrence of social netwars elsewhere around the world.

Chapter One
An Insurgency Becomes a Social Netwar

Chapter Two
The Advent of Netwar: Analytic Background

Chapter Three
Emergence of the Zapatista Netwar

Chapter Four
Mobilization for Conflict

Chapter Five
Transformation of the Conflict

Chapter Six
The Netwar Simmers--And Diffuses

Chapter Seven
Beyond Mexico

Appendix A
Chronology of the Zapatista Social Netwar (1994-1996)

Appendix B
Rethinking Mexico'S Stability and Transformability


Offline squarepusher

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Mfg Mythologies, Swarming Smart Mobs, "Get 7 Billion on the global grid"
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2011, 09:02:52 pm »
It's very telling they talk about 'myth creation' so much - because really, despite their protestations to the contrary -

Official 9/11 story - myth

Narrative on why we had to go to Iraq - myth

Narrative on America 'democratizing' the Middle East - myth

Narrative on climate change - myth

Myth has replaced history - it's all the people have going for them now. But really, Quigley touched on this a long time ago in The Anglo-American Establishment and Tragedy and Hope - myth is your current-day history books on the past.

But what I'm still surprised at the most is how well they have managed to create the cognitive perception that the whole 'climate change'/'global warming' agenda has anything to do with 'the weather'. 'Climate change' is 'cybernetics' in disguise - it's about enforced austerity and a society MICRO-MANAGED by computers and feedback control systems. That's why the leading climate change evangelists (James Lovelock) are all members of the Cybernetic Society and sit on prestigious boards among thinktanks such as RAND and the like.
Infowars Wiki - Help make this become the official wiki of - contribute!

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« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2011, 09:07:46 pm »

Joseph Nye Makes the Case for Soft Power in the Obama Administration

Submitted by Maggie Barker Taylor on 6/13/08

I think it's safe to say that Dr. Joseph Nye, former Dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, prefers U.S. Sen. Barack Obama to U.S. Sen. John McCain when it comes to the path forward for U.S. foreign policy. Moderating a panel on "A New U.S. Grand Stategy" at a stellar Center for New American Security conference on Tuesday, Nye emphasized his trademark "soft power" thesis. In his words, soft power "is the ability to obtain the outcomes one wants through attraction rather than using the carrots and sticks of payment or coercion." Both at this conference and in a piece on Huffington Post yesterday, Nye is critical of the decline of soft power in the last eight years:

    Polls show that American soft power has declined quite dramatically in much of the world over the past eight years. Some say this is structural, and resentment is the price we pay for being the biggest kid on the block. But it matters greatly whether the big kid is seen as a friend or a bully. In much of the world we have been seen as a bully as a result of the Bush Administration policies.

In presidential candidate Sen. Obama, Nye sees a new opportunity for America's role in the world. He warns that although Obama will inherit a scrum of nasty foreign policy problems "where hard power plays a role," Obama must also flex soft power, and he must signal his interest to do so immediately after the election:

    Some time between November 4 and January 20, he will need to indicate a new tone in foreign policy which shows that we will once again export hope rather than fear. This could take several forms: announcement of an intent to close Guantanamo; dropping the term "global war on terror;" creation of a special bipartisan group to formulate a new policy on climate change; a "listening trip" to Asia, and so forth. Electing Obama will greatly help restore America's soft power as a nation that can recreate itself, but the election alone will not be sufficient. It is not too soon to start thinking about symbols and policies for the days immediately after the election.

It is heartening to me to hear commentary on America's role in the world that goes beyond the sad and simple slogans of the Bush camp: "you're with us or against us," "axis of evil," "stay the course," "stuff happens," "mission accomplished," "shock and awe," "they'll greet us with candy and sweets," "I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul." I hope that Nye and other serious foreign policy experts continue to contribute to discourse on a new foreign policy agenda and that Sen. Obama seizes the opportunity to change America's course for the better.

Update: Also on The Huffington Post, Tom Edsall has a good review of folks working with Obama on his economic and foreign policy agendas. Scroll down the post for discussion on his foreign policy team. He nicely contrasts Clinton's team vs. Obama's team:

    Hillary Clinton's foreign policy advisers came of political age during the Cold War, in many cases during in the Carter administration, and tend to see the world in terms of states and state conflicts, this source said. In addition, many of Hillary Clinton's top advisers "spent eight years dealing with Saddam [Hussein's] intransigence in the 90s," making them more receptive to the arguments for invading Iraq.

    Conversely, this expert argued, many of the Obama advisers are post-Cold War theorists who tend to see the world in terms of failed states, the influence of technology, food crises, non-state actors like Osama bin Laden, the spread of nuclear weapons, and the uneven distribution of the benefits of globalization.

This they've managed to do successfully - 110%. 'Soft power' is what you see right now in Egypt and Libya. They've managed to create the illusion these are 'people-powered coups' that have nothing to do with non-state actors such as NGOs and foreign western intelligence agencies. Good Job Dave Man once again to the Obama admin - Americans and people of the world being willfull suckers once more.
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« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2011, 06:35:13 am »

The Information Age

Emmanuel C. Lallana, Ph.D
with assistance from
Margaret N. Uy


One the many challenges facing the countries in the Asia-Pacific today is preparing their societies and governments for globalization and the information and communication revolution.  Policy-makers, business executives, NGO activists, academics, and ordinary citizens are increasingly concerned with the need to make their societies competitive in the emergent information economy.

The e-ASEAN Task Force and the UNDP Asia Pacific Development Information Programme (UNDP-APDIP) share the belief that with enabling information and communication technologies (ICTs), countries can face the challenge of the information age.  With ICTs they can leap forth to higher levels of social, economic and political development.  We hope that in making this leap, policy and decision-makers, planners, researchers, development practitioners, opinion-makers, and others will find this series of e-primers on the information economy, society, and polity useful.

The e-primers aim to provide readers with a clear understanding of the various terminologies, definitions, trends, and issues associated with the information age.  The primers are written in simple, easy-to-understand language.  They provide examples, case studies, lessons learned, and best practices that will help planners and decision makers in addressing pertinent issues and crafting policies and strategies appropriate for the information economy.

The present series of e-primers includes the following titles:

● The Information Age
● Nets, Webs and the Information Infrastructure
● e-Commerce and e-Business
● Legal and Regulatory Issues for the Information Economy
● e-Government;
● ICT and Education
● Genes, Technology and Policy:  An Introduction to Biotechnology

These e-primers are also available online at  and

The primers are brought to you by UNDPAPDIP, which seeks to create an ICT enabling environment through advocacy and policy reform in the Asia-Pacific region, and the e-ASEAN Task Force, an ICT for development initiative of the 10member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.  We welcome your views on new topics and issues on which the e-primers may be useful.

Finally, we thank all who have been involved with this series of e-primers-writers, researchers, peer reviewers and the production team.

Roberto R.  Romulo Shahid Akhtar Chairman (2000-2002)
Program Coordinator e-ASEAN Task Force UNDP-APDIP
Manila.  Philippines  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


What is the digital revolution?                       
What is ICT?                                
What is the relationship between the digital revolution and the
ICT revolution?                             
What are the main characteristics of digital technology?              
What is the Internet?    
Why is the Internet important?    
What is Moore’s Law?  Metcalfe’s Law?  Internet time?           
Why are these technological revolutions important?            
What are some of the consequences of the digital and ICT revolutions?    
Will all countries and peoples be swept up in the technological revolution?  

What is the information economy?                   
What are the main features of the information economy?             
Is the information economy different from the “knowledge economy”,
the “new economy”, or the “network economy”?               
What is Coase Law?  And how is it related to the ICT revolution
and the information economy?                     
What is e-commerce?    
What will happen to agriculture in the information economy?        
Did the information economy end with the dot-com crash?          

Will the widespread introduction of ICT lead to mass unemployment?      
What kind of workers will be needed?                  
What are attention givers?                     
Will there still be farmers in the future?               
What about entrepreneurs?  What role do they have in the new economy?                            
How do we nurture entrepreneurs?                     

How will the Internet affect the individual?               
Given its negative effects on individuals, shouldn’t the Internet simply be banned?  
How will the Internet affect the family?    
What is the impact of ICTs on communities?               
Do other communication technologies affect societies the way the Internet does?


What is globalization and how is it related to the ICT revolution?         
How will globalization affect the nation-state?               
How do the Internet and the ICT revolution affect governance?        
How does ICT transform international politics?               
What is cyberwar?  Is it the same as information war and cyberterrorism?     
What is cybersecurity?                         

What is the digital divide and why is it important?               
How do we measure the digital divide?                 
Is lack of access the only problem?                     
How can we bridge the digital divide?                  
Is government’s role limited to developing the physical infrastructure?      
Is there a role for the private sector in bridging the digital divide?        
What is the role of nongovernment organizations?               
What about international organizations?                  

VII.   THE CHALLENGE AHEAD                

FOR FURTHER READING                     
ABOUT THE AUTHOR                        


Imagining the future is always a chancy proposition.  For the future almost always turns out differently from how it was imagined.  Just think of all the movies made about the present 20 or even 10 years ago.  They hardly got it right.  The reason we fail to anticipate the future is simple enough—the many variables that affect the unfolding of history are never fully captured by analysts, activists, artists and scientists.

Yet, we persist in imagining the future.  We persist because we are motivated by what could be as much as by what has been.  We persist because we have a stake in the future—we intend to live in it.  Imagining a future is affirming a particular account of it.  We imagine a future we want to live in.  In looking at trends, in extrapolating, we make choices.  Even when we take into account all variables, we give some variables more weight than others.  Even when all outcomes are anticipated, we deem some outcomes more likely than others.  This is not intellectual dishonesty.  It is simply how things are.  (To say otherwise is to be dishonest.)

This primer on the information age, as well as the other primers in this series on the Information Economy, Society and Polity, is an act of imagination and affirmation of a future that is being shaped by information and communication technologies (ICTs).  This particular primer begins with a review of the digital and the ICT revolutions and how these profound technological transformations are changing the economy, business, and the workplace.  The primer also outlines the impact of the pervasiveness of ICTs on the individual, the family and society.  The effects of technological change on the global order—the nation-state system and governance—are likewise considered.  Finally, the primer charts the challenges arising from the widening divide between those who have access to ICT and those who do not.  Ultimately, we imagine the information age in order that we can affect its becoming.


What is the digital revolution?

Technological breakthroughs have revolutionized communications and the spread of information.  In 1875, for example, the invention of the telephone breached distance through sound.  Between 1910 and 1920, the first AM radio stations began to broadcast sound.  By the 1940s television was broadcasting both sound and visuals to a vast public.  In 1943, the world’s first electronic computer was created.  However, it was only with the invention of the microprocessor in the 1970s that computers became accessible to the public.  In the 1990s, the Internet migrated from universities and research institutions to corporate headquarters and homes.

All of these technologies deal with information storage and transmission.  However, the one characteristic of computer technology that sets it apart from earlier analog technologies is that it is digital.  Analog technologies incorporate a combination of light and sound waves to get messages across, while digital technology, with its system of discontinuous data or events, creates a “universal model” to represent information that is expressed by almost anything using light and sound waves.1

To use an analogy, a digital world is a world united by one language, a world where people from across continents share ideas with one another and work together to build projects and ideas.  More voluminous and accurate information is accumulated and generated, and distributed in a twinkling to an audience that understands exactly what is said.  This in turn allows the recipients of the information to use it for their own purposes, to create ideas and to redistribute more ideas.  The result is progress.

Take this scenario to a technological level—all kinds of computers, equipment and appliances interconnected and functioning as one unit.  Even today, we see telephones exchanging information with computers, and computers playing compressed audio data files or live audio data streams that play music over the Internet like radios.  Computers can play movies and tune in to television.  Some modern homes allow a person to control central lighting and air-conditioning through computers.  These are just some of the features of a digital world.

Box 1.  Wearable Computer Systems

    Wearable computers are entire systems that are carried by the user, from the CPU and hard drive, to the power supply and all input/output devices.  Such systems are under development here at the (MIT) Media Lab, where we are also working to create prototypes of uniquely affective wearable systems.  The size and weight of these wearable hardware systems are dropping, even as [ their ] durability…is increasing.  We are also designing clothing and accessories (such as watches, jewelry, etc.) into which these devices may be embedded to make them not only unobtrusive and comfortable to the user, but also invisible to others.

    Wearable computers allow us to create systems that go where the user goes, whether at the office, at home, or in line at the bank.  More importantly, they provide a platform that can maintain constant contact with the user in the variety of ways that the system may require; they provide computing power for the all affective computing needs, from affect sensing to the applications that can interpret, understand and use the data; and they can store the applications and user input data in on-board memory.  Finally, such systems can link to personal computers and to the Internet, providing the same versatility of communications and applications as most desktop computers.

Source:  MIT Media Lab Affective Computing Research Group, “Wearable Computer Systems for Affective Computing” [home page on-line]; available from; accessed 28 August 2002.

What is ICT?

ICT is short for information and communications technology.  It refers to a broad field encompassing computers, communications equipment and the services associated with them.  It includes the telephone, cellular networks, satellite communication, broadcasting media and other forms of communication.

What is the relationship between the digital revolution and the ICT revolution?

The digital and ICT revolutions are twin revolutions.  To understand their relationship, let us look at the history of voice telephony.  According to Robert W.  Lucky, “The crux of [Alexander Graham] Bell’s invention of the telephone in 1875 was the use of analog transmission—the voltage impressed on the line was proportional to the sound pressure at the microphone.”2  The growth of the telephone was relatively slow; it was not until the 1920s that a national telephone network was established in the US.  In the late 1940s, an alternative to analog transmission of voice was considered with pulse-code modulation (an encoded signal of pulses).  This marked the start of digitization in telecommunications.

However, it was only in 1961 that the first digital carrier system was installed.  Digitization meant the widespread replacement of telephone operators with digital switches.  In 1971 the first fiber optic cables suitable for communications were made, leading to efforts to send communications signals via light waves.  (Light wave transmission systems are inherently digital.) By about 1989, “ones and zeros” had become the language of telephone networks in the US.  Digitization was a critical development because with digital transmission “noise and distortion were not allowed to accumulate, since the ones and zeros could be regularly restored (i.e., regenerated) by a succession of repeater sites along the transmission line.”3 The outcome was clearer communications over longer distances at lower costs.

Today, voice is translated into data packets, sent over networks to remote locations, sometimes thousands of kilometers away, and, upon receipt, translated back to voice.  Even television is not immune to digitization.  In the near future, television signals and television sets will be digital.  It will also be possible to use the television to surf the Internet.  The digital TV will allow people from different locations to chat with each other while watching a program.  With everything becoming digital, television, voice telephony, and the Internet can use similar networks.  The transmission of hitherto different services (telephony, television, internet) via the same digital network is also known as convergence.

Cairncross observes that once the infrastructure and the hardware, be it a computer or a telephone or another device, have been set in place, the cost of communications and information exchange will be virtually zero.  Distance will no longer decide the cost of communicating electronically.4 This explains why, for example, a threeminute transatlantic call that costs $0.84 today would probably have cost nearly $800 in today’s money 50 years ago!

Box 2.  Enter the Communication Satellite

    In the late 1970s and early 1980s, just as [ Michael ] Jordan appeared on the scene, commercial television began to jump over national boundaries.  A decade later, NBA games, especially those of the Chicago Bulls, could be seen in ninety-three countries.  This exposure was made possible by the direct broadcast satellite (DBS).  ..  DBS was to have a much greater impact on the day-to-day lives of people around the world than did the moon landing.  Launched into orbit so it would float in space over the west coast of South America, the first broadcast satellite relayed information from specialists on health and education into previously isolated areas….  The experiment was so successful that private companies stepped in to launch their own satellites.  The companies, as usual, made their profits by selling advertising.  Thus new technology led the world’s people into a new era of globalization, paid for by new advertising.…

    The potential profit of [ TV ] markets skyrocketed in the 1980s when fiber optic cable carried information in light waves along a silicon wire that had the thinness of human hair.  Compared with the copper wire it replaced, the silicon wire could transmit dozens of television programs at once instead of one or two … Digital compression technologies meanwhile increased the possible number of channels on a television set from dozens to 150 and even 500.  A British firm developed the first round-the-world fiber optic system in 1991.

    Now the possibilities were breathtaking.  A single direct-to-broadcast satellite could transmit to earth all of the Encyclopedia Britannica in less than a minute.  The contents could even be picked up and placed before the viewer by a cable relay station whose cost in 1975 had been $125,000, but in 1980 was less than $4,000 because of the quick technological advances.  Profits promised to have no limit.  As cable and satellites created international television in the 1980s, so did advertising, whose profits for cable companies shot up more than ten times.

    These new systems seemed to resemble magic cash registers as they churned out the money.  They also resembled dynamite as they blew apart governmental regulation and geographical boundaries.  They did nothing less than change some of the fundamental ways nations’ officials behaved toward their citizens.

Source:  Walter LaFeber, Michael Jordan and the New Global Capitalism (New York:  Norton & Company, 1999), 69-71.

What are the main characteristics of digital technology?

Media Integrity.  Data stored in analog formats cannot be reproduced without degradation.  The more copies made, the worse the copies get.  Digital data, on the other hand, do not suffer such deterioration with reproduction.5 For instance, movies, videos, music and audio files in digital format can be copied and distributed with a quality that is as good as the original.

Media Integration.  One of the major limitations of many conventional technologies is their inability to combine media types.  Telephones, for example, can send and receive only sound.  Similarly, you can’t watch television and expect a character to answer a question you pose.  However, with digital data, it is easy to combine media.6  Thus, phones with video, or interactive sound with pictures, become possible.  Hence the term multimedia.

Flexible Interaction.  The digital domain supports a great variety of interactions, including one-on-one conferences, one-to-many broadcasts, and everything in between.  In addition, these interactions can be synchronous and in real time.7

Transactions.  The ability to combine the transactional capability of computers and computer networks with digital media is another interactive advantage of the digital domain.  Placing an order and finalizing a transaction becomes as easy as filling in an electronic form and clicking a button.  Movies-on-demand (where you pay for movies that you choose to watch on your TV screen) is just around the corner.

Tailoring.  Software developed for digital communications and interaction is designed so that users may tailor their use of the tool and the media in a manner not possible with conventional analog technologies.8

Editing.  The conventional alternatives for manipulating text, sound, images, and video are almost always more cumbersome or limited than the new digital tools.  Years ago, Francis Ford Coppola said that the day would come when his young daughter will take a home video camera and make films that would win film awards.  Coppola’s prediction is fast becoming a reality.  Computers with the right software and minimal hardware can do today what thousands of dollars worth of film and video editing equipment did in the past decades.

What is the Internet?

The Internet is a network of networks.  It is a global set of connections of computers that enables the exchange of data, news and opinion.  Aside from being a communications medium, the Internet has become a platform for new ways of doing business, a better way for governments to deliver public services and an enabler of lifelong learning.

Unlike the telephone, radio or television, the Internet is a many-to-many communication medium.  John Gage argues that—

    The Internet is not a thing, a place, a single technology, or a mode of governance:  it is an agreement.  In the language of those who build it, it is a protocol, a way of behaving.  What is startling the world is the dramatic spread of this agreement, sweeping across all arenas—commerce, communications, governance—that rely on the exchange of symbols.9

The Internet has become the fastest growing mass medium.  In only four years the number of Internet users has reached 50 million.  In contrast, it took radio 38 years, television 13 years and the PC 16 years to reach the same milestone.  Despite its explosive growth, however, less than 10% of the global population is online.

Why is the Internet important?

The Internet, according to Lawrence Lessig, is an “innovation commons”, a shared resource that enables the creation of new and/or innovative goods and services.10

The Internet can be likened to designer clay; its use is limited only by the imagination and skill of the designer.  This unique characteristic is due to the fact that the Internet is designed using the end-to-end (e2e) principle.  That is, the intelligence in the network is at the ends, and the main task of the network is to transmit data efficiently and flexibly between these ends.

Lessig identifies at least three important consequences of an e2e network on innovation.  First, because applications run on computers at the edge of the network, innovators with new applications need only to connect their computers to the network to let their applications run.  Second, because the design is not optimized for any particular existing application, the network is open to innovation not originally imagined.  Third, because the design has a neutral platform—in the sense that the network owner can’t discriminate against some packets and favor others—the network can’t discriminate against a new innovator’s design.

The Internet as an “innovation commons” has made the transformation to the information age possible.  As Christopher Coward notes,

    Because of end-to-end, the Internet acts as a force for individual empowerment.  It fosters entrepreneurship.  And, as long as end-to-end is not violated, it is democratizing in the sense that it redistributes power from central authorities (governments and companies) to individuals.  In the Internet Age, everyone can be a producer of content, create a new software application, or engage in global activities without the permission of a higher authority.11

Box 3.  The Earth Will Don an Electronic Skin

    In the [ 21st ] century, planet earth will don an electronic skin.  It will use the Internet as a scaffold to support and transmit its sensations.  This skin is already being stitched together.  It consists of millions of embedded electronic measuring devices:  thermostats, pressure gauges, pollution detectors, cameras, microphones, glucose sensors, EKGs, electroencephalographs.  These will probe and monitor cities and endangered species, the atmosphere, our ships, highways and fleets of trucks, our conversations, our bodies—even our dreams.

    Ten years from now, there will be trillions of such telemetric systems, each with a microprocessor brain and a radio.  Consultant Ernst & Young predicts that by 2010, there will be 10,000 telemetric devices for every human being on the planet.  They’ll be in constant contact with one another.  But the communication won’t be at our plodding verbal pace.  ‘’Fifty kilobits per second is slow,’’ huffs Horst L. Stormer, a Nobel prize-winning physicist employed by Lucent Technologies Inc.’s Bell Laboratories and Columbia University.  Machines will prefer to talk at gigabit speeds and higher—so fast that humans will catch only scattered snippets of the discussion.

    What will the earth’s new skin permit us to feel?  How will we use its surges of sensation?  For several years—maybe for a decade—there will be no central nervous system to manage this vast signaling network.  Certainly there will be no central intelligence.  But many scientists believe that some qualities of self-awareness will emerge once the Net is sensually enhanced and emulates the complexity of the human brain.

Source:  Neil Gross, “The Earth Will Don an Electronic Skin,” in Businessweek Online (August 30, 1999); available from; accessed 28 August 2002.

What is Moore’s Law?  Metcalfe’s Law?  Internet time?

Moore’s Law and Metcalfe’s Law are insightful observations into the power of the personal computer and the Internet.

Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, the chip making company, postulated that the computing power of a microchip doubles every 24 months.  This means that the power of the computer chip keeps growing as its size shrinks.  As the chip becomes smaller and more powerful without significant price increases, so does the personal computer.  Many associate Moore’s Law with the widespread availability of powerful PCs at constant (if not lower) prices.  It was used as an explanation for the rapid changes in the PC industry, which in turn affected the whole economy.

Robert Metcalfe, co-inventor of the Ethernet, the local area networking (LAN) technology, observed that a network’s value grows proportionately with the number of users.

Internet time refers to the fact that with the Internet, more intensive activities are possible.  Indeed, in business Internet time can be the source of competitiveness.

Moore’s Law, Metcalfe’s Law and Internet time are pithy ways of expressing the dynamism that characterizes developments in the ICT sector and in the areas being transformed by ICT.  Ed Lozowska best puts the rapid changes in the ICT sector in perspective:

    If, over the past 30 years, transportation technology had improved at the same rate as information technology with respect to size, cost, performance, and energy efficiency, then an automobile would be the size of a toaster, cost $200, go 100,000 miles per hour, travel 150,000 miles on a gallon of fuel."12

Why are these technological revolutions important?

New technologies transform our lives “by inventing new, undreamed of things and making them in new, undreamed of ways”, says the economist Richard Lipsey.13

Imagine what will happen when the cost of a long distance telephone call becomes as low as the cost of a local call?  Or, when you can get a driving license at a time and place of your own choosing?  Or, when you can bank from the comfort of your own living room?  In some countries, ICT is already making these happen.  Many believe that the current technological revolution may in time exceed the Industrial Revolution in terms of social significance.14

Lipsey, who studies the relationship between technological change and economic development, suggests that the introduction of new technologies can have the following effects on society15 :

●  Initial productivity slowdown and delayed productivity payoff from the new technologies
●  Destruction of human capital (as many old skills are no longer wanted)
●  Technological unemployment (temporary but serious)
●  Widening disparities in the distribution of income, which tends to be temporary until the supply of labor catches up to the new mix of skill requirements
●  Big changes in regional patterns of industrial location (globalization)
●  Big changes in required education
●  Big changes in infrastructure (e.g., the information highway)
●  Big changes in rules and regulations (intellectual property, antimonopoly, etc.)
●  Big changes in the way we live and interact with each other

What are some of the consequences of the digital and ICT revolutions?

First, let us look at the effects of the digital revolution.  James Beniger explains:

    The progressive digitization of mass media and telecommunications content begins to blur earlier distinctions between the communication of information and its processing…, as well as between people and machines.  Digitization makes communications from persons to machines, between machines, and even from machines to persons as easy as it is between persons.  Also blurred are the distinctions among information types:  numbers, words, pictures, and sounds, and eventually tastes, odors, and possibly even sensations, all might one day be stored, processed, and communicated in the same digital format.16

On a societal level, the digital and ICT revolutions make possible better and cheaper access to knowledge and information.  This speeds up transactions and processes and reduces their cost, which in turn benefit citizens and consumers.  The ability of ICTs to traverse time and distance allows human beings to interact with each other in new ways.  Distance is no longer a consideration.  As Giddens observes,

    With the advent of the communications revolution, distance has a different relationship to self-immediacy and experience than it used to have.  Distance isn’t simply wiped out, but when you have a world where the value of the money in your pocket is affected immediately by ongoing electronic transactions happening many miles away it’s simply a different situation from how the world was in the past."17

Put another way, so what if two people are located in different time zones?  They can still talk, negotiate, and make deals as though they were face to face.  As the sociologist Manuel Castells has noted, “Technological revolutions are all characterized by their pervasiveness, that is by their penetration of all domains of human activity, not as an exogenous source of impact, but as the fabric in which such activity is woven.”18

Will all countries and peoples be swept up in the technological revolution?

The revolution will affect some countries earlier than it will others.  For ICT to weave its magic, it must find a hospitable social and political environment.  New technologies threaten existing power and economic relationships, and those that benefit from these old relationships put up barriers to the spread of the new technologies.  Note, for example, how the music industry has resisted digital audio tapes and Napster.  Moreover, laws can deter (or encourage) the spread of new technologies.  For example, the lack of legal recognition for digital contracts and digital signatures is holding back electronic commerce.

Debora Spar states that “life along the technological frontier moves through four distinct phases:  innovation, commercialization, creative anarchy, and rules.”19 While individualism and the absence of government are characteristics of the first three stages, government—with its rule making and enforcing capability—is a key player in the fourth stage.  This is because

    The establishment of property rights is one of the most crucial events along the technological frontier.  It allows the market to unfold in a predictable way, and gives pioneers a hefty dose of  ownership and security.  Most important, perhaps, the creation of property rights also marks the difference between pioneers and pirates, between those whose claim on the new technology is legitimate and those whose claim is not."20

It is important to remember that technology is shaped by society as much as it shapes society.  Thus, those interested in harnessing the power of new technologies should help create the right environment for it to flourish.


What is the information economy?

An information economy is where the productivity and competitiveness of units or agents in the economy (be they firms, regions or nations) depend mainly on their capacity to generate, process, and apply efficiently knowledge-based information.21 It is also described as an economy where information is both the currency and the product.

While we have always relied on information exchange to do our jobs and run our lives, the information economy is different in that it can collect more relevant information at the appropriate time.  Consequently, production in the information economy can be fine tuned in ways heretofore undreamed of.  What makes information plentiful in this economy is the pervasive use of information and communications technology.

Box 4.  Banking Without Boundaries

    For the first time in 300 years, the very nature of banking has changed.  We still handle money, but information, not money, is now the lifeblood of our industry.  From what was essentially a transaction-based business, where customers came to you (or didn’t), banking has to make the leap into what is essentially a sale-and-marketing culture.  In the new culture, a bank is defined almost solely by its ability to add value to the customer relationship, which breaks down into acquiring, analyzing, integrating, and leveraging of information about, from, and for the benefit of each individual customer.

    The last (but obviously not the least) of our fundamental changes goes to the very heart of how banking is done.  What used to happen only in branches (and only during ‘bankers hours’) can now happen not just anywhere in the world at any time of the day or night, but also through just about any delivery channel a customer cares to select—the automated banking machine, the telephone, the personal computer, even the television set.

Source:  Lloyd Darlington “Banking Without Boundaries:  How the banking industry is transforming itself for the digital age” in Don Tapscott, Alex Lowy and David Ticoll (eds.), Blueprint for the Digital Economy:  Creating Wealth in the Era of e-Business (New York:  McGraw Hill), 115.

What are the main features of the information economy?

The information economy is global.  A historically new reality, the global economy has the capacity to work as a unit in real time on a planetary scale.22 Corporations and firms now have a worldwide base for skilled labor to tap.  Capital flows freely between countries, and countries can utilize this capital in real time.

However, some critics claim that a true global economy has yet to be achieved.  Stephen Cohen observes that the mobility of labor is undermined by people’s xenophobia and stricter immigration laws.  Multinational corporations still maintain their assets and strategic command centers in their home nations, and capital is still limited by banking and finance laws.

Castells, however, argues that even if globalization has not yet been fully realized, it will only be a matter of time before this happens.  Globalization will be affected by government regulations and policies, which will affect international boundaries and the structure of the global economy.23

A second characteristic of the information economy is that it is highly productive.  William Nordhaus of the US National Bureau of Economic Research states that:

    Productivity growth in the new economy sectors has made a significant contribution to economy-wide productivity growth.  In the business sector (between 1999 and 2001), labor-productivity growth excluding the new economy sectors was 2.24 percent per year as compared to 3.19 percent per year including the new economy.  Of the 1.82 percentage point increase in labor-productivity growth in the last three years relative to the earlier period, 0.65 percentage point was due to the new economy sectors.  The contribution of the new economy was slightly larger for well-measured output because that sector is smaller than the business economy.24

Some critics argue that there is no relationship between profitability and investment in ICT.  Castells looks into the history of productivity growth in advanced market economies and observes a downward trend of productivity growth starting roughly around the time that the information technology revolution was taking shape in the early 1970s.  According to him, this decline was particularly marked in all countries for serviced activities, where new information-processing devices could be thought to have increased productivity.  However, manufacturing productivity presents a different picture.  Manufacturing productivity in the US and Japan increased dramatically in 1988-1989 by an annual average of 3% and 4.1% respectively, and productivity increased at a faster pace than during the 1990s.25

Castells concludes that economic statistics do not adequately capture the movements of the new information economy, precisely because of the broad scope of transformation under the impact of information technology and related organizational change.  There may be a diffusion from information technology, manufacturing, telecommunications, and financial services into manufacturing services at large, and then into business services.

A third characteristic of the information economy is the change in the manner of obtaining profits.  Robert Reich observes that profits in the old economy came from economies of scale—long runs of  more or less identical products.  Thus, we had factories, assembly lines, and industries.  Now profits come from speed of innovation and the ability to attract and keep customers.  Where before the winners were big corporations, now the winners are small, highly flexible groups that devise great ideas, develop trustworthy branding for themselves and their products, and market these effectively.26  The winning competitors are those who are first at providing lower prices and higher value through intermediaries of trustworthy brands.  But the winning is temporary, and the race is never over.  Those in the lead cannot stop innovating lest they fall behind the competition.27

Is the information economy different from the “knowledge economy”, the “new economy”, or the “network economy”?

All these terms are used interchangeably, although the various concepts tend to emphasize different aspects of the phenomenon—like “knowledge” instead of “information” or “network” as opposed to “new”.  Peter Drucker describes the information revolution as a knowledge revolution.  The key, he says, is not electronics but cognitive science.28  The software used for computers merely reorganizes traditional work, which had been based on experience.  This is done through the application of knowledge, in particular systematic, logical analysis.  Setting up an IT structure is not enough.  To maintain leadership in the new economy, the social position of knowledge professionals and the social acceptance of their values should be guaranteed.

The knowledge economy is also a networked economy.  The concept stresses the important role of links among individuals, groups and corporations in the new economy.  It has been argued that networks have always been an ideal organizing tool due to their inherent flexibility and adaptability.  However, traditional networks were not designed to coordinate functions beyond a certain size and complexity.  This early limitation has been overcome with the introduction of ICTs, particularly the Internet, where the flexibility and adaptability of  networks are brought to the fore, and their evolutionary nature is asserted.29

What is Coase Law?  And how is it related to the ICT revolution and the information economy?

Nobel Laureate for Economics Ronald Coase noted that a firm tends to expand until “the costs of organizing an extra transaction within the firm become equal to the costs of carrying out the same transaction on the open market.”30  Coase also believed that the law of diminishing returns applies to firm size:  Big firms are complicated and they find it hard to manage resources efficiently.  Small companies often do things more cheaply than big ones.  Therefore, if it’s cheaper to perform a transaction within a firm, it usually stays there.  However, if it’s cheaper to go to the marketplace, then firms go to external suppliers.  Thus, a car maker (like Toyota) will buy car batteries from a supplier rather than manufacture batteries in-house if it is easier to do so.

ICT reduces transaction costs significantly.  Large and diverse groups of people can now more easily and more cheaply gain near real-time access to the information they need to make sound decisions and to coordinate complex activities.31  Firms can now downsize to the point of producing their main competence and purchasing everything else they need from outside.  Thus, instead of massive corporations, what are emerging are small highly focused corporations that farm out production to their allies.  This is also known as network production.

Box 5.  Furiously Fast Fashions (excerpts)

    … Hong Kong is the center of the garment outsourcing industry.  Most of the companies located there own and run factories across Asia that weave, cut and sew garments.  But Li & Fung is a different kind of outsourcer… the 95-year-old trading house that once sold ceramics and fireworks overseas doesn’t own a stitch when it comes to making garments.  No factories, no machines, no fabrics.  Instead, [ Li & Fung ] deal only in information, relying on a far-flung network of more than 7,500 suppliers in 37 countries, from Madagascar to China to Guatemala.  “There are no secrets in the actual manufacturing.  I mean, a shirt is a shirt,” says William Fung, the managing director.  “We would rather build on something proprietary, like what information it takes to make that shirt faster or more efficiently.”

    As an order comes in … Li & Fung uses personalized Web sites and e-mail to fine-tune specifications with the customer.  It then takes those instructions and feeds them into its intranet to find the right supplier of raw materials and the right factory for assembling the clothes.

    … (Li & Fung’s) division manager Ada Liu explains how she juggled a pants order for a major American clothing brand.  She had the fabric woven in China because the factories there could dye it the dark green indigo she needed, and she chose fastenings from factories in Hong Kong and Korea because they are the most durable.  Then she sent the raw materials to Guatemala for sewing.  “For simple things like pants with four seams, Guatemala is great.” says Liu.  “They can do things quickly, and it’s close to the U.S.  Delivery takes only a few days.” And if production problems arise in Guatemala, Li & Fung can tap into its worldwide network and send the order to another country to avoid delays.

    As a garment moves through production, retailers can make last-minute changes to orders on the Web site, which tracks the entire production process.  About five years ago, when the company was run by phone and fax, Li & Fung would get an order for 50,000 khaki cargo pants and deliver the goods five months later.  Now, until the material is woven, the customer can cancel the order online.  Until the fabric is dyed, the retailer can change the color.  Until it is cut, the client can change the design or size.  “There are generally fewer mistakes and disputes now when we have to make changes because the communication is clearer.  That makes [ adjustments ] easier to do,” explains Liu.

Source:  Joanne Lee-Young and Megan Barnett, “ Furiously Fast Fashions,” in The Software and Information Industry Association Trends Report 2001 [home page on-line]; available from; accessed 28 August 2002.

What is e-commerce?

The ICT revolution has transformed not only how (and where) goods are produced but also how commodities are exchanged.  E-commerce is buying and selling over the Internet or any transaction concluded through an information network involving the transfer of ownership or rights to use goods or services.  More precisely, it includes all business transactions that use electronic communications and digital information processing technology to create, transform and redefine relationships for value creation between organizations, and between organizations and individuals.

The different types of e-commerce are:  business-to-business (B2B); business-toconsumer (B2C); business-to-government (B2G); consumer-to-consumer (C2C); and mobile commerce (m-commerce).

What will happen to agriculture in the information economy?

Like the production and exchange of commodities, agriculture will also be transformed by ICT.  ICTs will allow farmers to have more accurate information on the factors that are needed to increase crop yield.  “Precision farming” or farm management using ICTs will become the norm rather than the exception.

We can also expect better crops and livestock as a result of agricultural biotechnology.  The term “biotechnology” broadly includes “any technique that uses living organisms, or parts of such organisms, to make or modify products, to improve plants or animals, or to develop microorganisms for specific use.”32

The potential applications of modern biotechnology in agriculture are varied and promising.  These include:  (a) improved yield from crops; (b) reduced vulnerability of crops to environmental stresses; © increased nutritional qualities of food crops; (d) improved taste, texture or appearance of food; (e) reduced dependence on fertilizers, pesticides and other agrochemicals; and (f) production of novel substances in crop plants.

Box 6.  Farming Goes Into Space

    For most of the twentieth century, farming has been somewhat of an inexact science, more a matter of a farmer developing an innate understanding of the nuances of his land and thereby planting and harvesting his fields accordingly.  Now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, sophisticated technological advancements offer today’s farmers a variety of methods to increase crop yields, selectively apply pesticides, and lower associated costs.  The technology that is enabling this revolution in farming processes is on the ground, in the tractors, but it is also up in the sky, circling the globe in a geo-synchronous orbit 12,000 miles above the planet’s surface.

    Twenty-four satellites orbit the Earth, making up the Global Positioning System (GPS) System.  These satellites have the ability to pinpoint the location of an object on the ground within a few centimeters.  Developed by the Department of Defense for military purposes, GPS has now been opened up for civilian use.  In fact, civilian applications have come to outnumber military one almost 10 to 1.  Among the former, precision farming seems poised to become the next great application area for GPS.

    How, specifically, are these new technologies helping farmers to improve farming efficiencies?  At this point, precision farming can be broken down into three major areas:  crop, soil, and positioning sensors — including remote and vehicle-mounted, on-the-go tools that detect moisture levels, protein, water stress, and disease or weed infestations; machine controls that guide field equipment and can vary the rate, mix, and location of water, seeds, nutrients, or chemical sprays; and computerized GIS maps and databases that process the data produced by the first category of tools and generates the “prescriptions” that drive the second category.

    Although improvements can and are being made in the first and second categories, their capabilities are well developed, well defined, increasingly integrated, user-friendly, and ever more affordable.  The critical component, and the one that can realize the greatest benefits for farmers, is found in the final category:  GIS-based, decision-support software that can guide management practices.  It is in this third area where more work remains to be done:  building the databases, refining the analytical tools, and increasing the site-specific agronomic knowledge and expertise of the community.

Source:  Craig Sutton and John Deere, “Farming Goes Into Space,” in The Software and Information
Industry Association Trends Report 2001 [home page on-line]; available from; accessed 28 August 2002.

Did the information economy end with the dot-com crash?

Not at all.  If we look at the history of technology and development, we will see that the dot-com bust is part of the normal pattern of events in any technological revolution.  The economist Joseph Schumpeter suggests that a technology revolution starts with the introduction of one or more technologies that enables the new cluster.

The new technology cluster, at first little noticed, achieves successes in early demonstrations.  Technical people start small companies based on the new ideas.  These new companies compete intensely in this early turbulent phase, when government regulation is largely absent, and as successes mount in a technical free-for-all environment.  The promise of extraordinary profit looms.  The public begins to speculate.

The middle phase sees a sustained build out or golden age of the technology, during which the technology becomes the engine of growth for the economy.  Large companies and oligopolies reign, and the period is one of confidence and prosperity.  In the last phase, the technology matures.  Technological possibilities are saturated, production moves to places on the periphery, and complacency sets in.  Profits at home are low, and entrepreneurs start scouting for new opportunities.  The economy becomes ripe for the next revolution.33

It was not the information economy that died with the dot-com crash.  Only the hype died.  The downturn in ICTs and the dot-com crash simply ended the first phase.  We are now just entering the middle phase, the “sustained build out or golden age of the technology”.


Will the widespread introduction of ICT lead to mass unemployment?

Jeremy Rifkin suggests that the rise of productivity as a consequence of ICT deployment affects the amount of time worked in two ways.34  First, labor and time saving technologies have allowed companies to eliminate and dismiss workers en masse.  Second, those who manage to hold their jobs are made to work longer hours.  For firms a smaller workforce means saving on the cost of providing benefits such as health care.

But the history of the industrial revolution suggests that workers will not disappear; only particular kinds of workers will.  Peter Drucker gives us a clue on what kinds of work will disappear.  According to Drucker, “the Information Revolution has routinized traditional processes in an untold number of areas.” 35  Just as the industrial revolution mechanized weaving, the information revolution will replace what has been automated by robots.  The scenario is not much different from what transpired in previous eras and technology revolutions.  There will always be room for workers, but the areas or fields of demand will change.

What kind of workers will be needed?

The breadth of new work in the information age is immense.  New workers can be seen in traditional industries (old workers renewed), in new ICT-related services and content provision (the information workers), in infrastructure development and maintenance of the information economy (information managers and entrepreneurs) and in a host of related areas.

Among the most in demand and sought after workers are information technology (IT) professionals.  According to a 1999 US Commerce Department study:  “For more than 15 years, employment in the core IT occupations—computer scientists, computer engineers, system analysts and computer programmers—has grown at an astounding pace.  The growth rate for computer scientists and system analysts has even accelerated in recent years.”36  The recent downturn has not changed this trend; it has only slowed down the demand.

But it is not only IT professionals who will thrive.  What Robert Reich calls “symbolic analysts”—engineers, attorneys, scientists, professors, executives, journalists, consultants and other “mind workers” who engage in processing information and symbols for a living—will occupy a privileged position in that they can sell their services in the global economy.  In an economy where information is critical, symbolic analysts or “knowledge workers” will constitute an elite group.

Box 7.  The New Workforce (excerpts)

    ...[ T ]he knowledge workers, collectively, are the new capitalists.  Knowledge has become the key resource, and the only scarce one.  This means that knowledge workers collectively own the means of production….Effective knowledge is specialized.  That means knowledge workers need access to an organization—a collective that brings together an array of knowledge workers and applies their specialism to a common end-product.  …

    Knowledge workers… see themselves as equal to those who retain their services, as ‘professionals’ rather than ‘employees’.  The knowledge society is a society of seniors and juniors rather than bosses and subordinates.

    … although women have always worked, since time immemorial the jobs they have done have been different from men’s.  There was men’s work and there was women’s work.  … Knowledge work, on the other hand, is ‘unisex’, not because of feminist pressure but because it can be done equally well by both sexes.

    Such workers have two main needs:  formal education that enables them to enter knowledge work in the first place, and continuing education throughout their working lives to keep their knowledge up to date.  Although the emergence of knowledge as an important resource increasingly means specialization, knowledge workers are highly mobile within their specialism.  They think nothing of moving from one university, one company or one country to another, as long as they stay within the same field of knowledge.

    The knowledge society is the first human society where upward mobility is potentially unlimited.  Knowledge differs from all other means of production in that it cannot be inherited or bequeathed.  It has to be acquired anew by every individual, and everyone starts out with the same total ignorance.  The upward mobility of the knowledge society, however, comes at a high price:  the psychological pressures and emotional traumas of the rat race.  There can be winners only if there are losers.  This was not true of earlier societies.  The son of the landless labourer who becomes a landless labourer himself was not a failure.  In the knowledge society, however, he is not only a personal failure but a failure of society as well.

Source:  “The Next Society:  A Survey of the Near Future,” The Economist (November 3, 2001), 8-11.

What are attention givers?

Another category of workers that will emerge are attention-givers—people who care for, tend to, or oversee children, the elderly, the disabled, the depressed and anxious, as well as more or less healthy adults who want more attention for themselves and are able and willing to pay for it.37

Two reasons account for the growth of the attention industry.  First is the increasing number of  people who work harder and subcontract family responsibilities, many of which involve giving attention.  Second, with the growing productivity of machines (computerized machine tools and robots inside factories, and, in the service economy, automated bank tellers, automated gas pumps, voice activated telephone answering systems, and digital devices), they will soon be capable of doing just about everything.  Everything, that is, except personal attention.  So those with jobs that have been replaced by highly productive machines sell personal attention instead, and this trend will continue as the years pass.38

Will there still be farmers in the future?

The information revolution will not eliminate farmers, just as the industrial revolution did not eliminate them.  But farming methods will change yet again.  More information will help farmers to irrigate only those areas that need water and provide for more effective use of fertilizers, among others.  In addition, agricultural biotechnology genetically modifies plants and food sources to maximize their reproduction and nutritional value.

Aside from increased yield, faster communications and transactions and lower transportation costs also ensure more efficient delivery of farm inputs that lead to lower prices and better inventory.

What about entrepreneurs?  What role do they have in the new economy?

It has been suggested that the Internet is a natural environment for entrepreneurs.  Entrepreneurs are innovators who implement change within markets through the introduction of new goods, new methods of production or new markets.  Gregory K. Ericksen believes that enterpreneurs will flourish in the new Internet society:

    …the Internet world calls for a personality portfolio that comes naturally to entrepreneurs.  It demands a willingness to take risks, a whole-hearted commitment to the enterprise, a sense of  timing, and a readiness to act fast.  The challenge of the Internet is not technology, whish is the enabler.  The challenges and the opportunities are based on problem solving and innovations that deliver true value.  Ideas that make a difference can and must be put into action quickly.39

How do we nurture entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurs flourish in an environment that allows the free flow of ideas, encourages risk taking and accepts failure as a necessary part of doing business.  Creating entrepreneurs is also linked to an environment of lifelong learning.  The European Commission defines lifelong learning as “all learning activity undertaken throughout life, with the aim of improving knowledge, skills and competence, within a personal, civic, social and/or employment-related perspective.”40 Lifelong learning involves acquiring and updating all kinds of abilities, interests, knowledge and qualifications to enable citizens to adapt to the information age.  If designed and implemented properly, ICT use in education can promote the acquisition of the knowledge and skills that will empower students for lifelong learning in the 21st century.

Box 9.  Educating Entrepreneurs

    The Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education supports the concept that entrepreneurship is a lifelong learning process that has at least five distinct stages of development.  This lifelong learning model assumes that everyone in our educational system should have opportunities to learn at the beginning stages, but the later stages are targeted to those who choose to become entrepreneurs.

    Each of the following five stages may be taught with activities that are infused in other classes or as a separate course.

    Stage 1 BASICS:  In primary grades, junior high and high school, students should experience various facets of business ownership.  At this first stage the focus is on understanding the basics of our economy, career opportunities that result, and the need to master basic skills to be successful in a free market economy.  Motivation to learn and a sense of individual opportunity are the special outcomes at this stage of the lifelong learning model.

    Stage 2 COMPETENCY AWARENESS:  The students will learn to speak the language of business, and see the problems from the small business owner’s point of view.  This is particularly needed in vocational education.  The emphasis is on beginning competencies that may be taught as an entire entrepreneurship class or included as part of other courses related to entrepreneurship.  For example, cash flow problems could be used in a math class and sales demonstrations could be part of a communications class.

    Stage 3 CREATIVE APPLICATIONS:  There is so much to learn about starting a business it is not surprising that so many businesses have trouble.  We teach future doctors for many years, but we have expected a small business owner to learn everything by attending several Saturday seminars.

    This stage may take place in advanced high school vocational programs, two-year colleges where there are special courses and/or associate degree programs, and some colleges and universities.  The outcome is for students to learn how it might be possible to become an entrepreneur.

    Stage 4 STARTUP:  After adults have had time to gain job experience and/or further education, many are in need of special assistance in putting a business idea together.  Community education programs are widely available in the vocational schools, community colleges, 4-year colleges and universities to provide startup help.

    Stage 5 GROWTH:  Often business owners d[/li


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Mfg Mythologies, Swarming Smart Mobs, "Get 7 Billion on the global grid"
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2011, 06:35:54 am »
How will the Internet affect the family?

Technology allows families living in different locations to stay in touch with each other.  Filipinos are now able to send text (SMS) messages to their relatives in the United States and Europe.  Singaporeans who are working overseas are able to keep in touch with their families back home via the Internet.  Children of expatriate Lao are able to learn more about their parents’ home country via the Internet.

But it also cannot be denied that in recent years people have been spending less time with their families because of information and work overload.  Work takes more and more time, and even when a family member is physically present, work is intrusive, preoccupying and unpredictable.  Reich believes that the new family now requires a complex set of logistical arrangements for the various members to respond to the economy’s new demands.44

Changes in family structure and family attitudes are directly parallel to changes in the economic system that began in the 1970s.  In the old system of large-scale production, most men had steady jobs and solid wages, while women had fewer job opportunities.  However, in the new system of continuous innovation, we see less predictable earnings and wider disparities in earnings.  This induces harder work in terms of time and emotional energy.45

Nevertheless, although the emerging economy is more stressful, it generates more opportunities to earn more money for talented men and women alike.  Almost all women now have the option of having a job and need not be entirely dependent on a male breadwinner.46  Gender and racial issues in employment may soon be a thing of the past.  Talent is what matters most.

What is the impact of ICTs on communities?

ICTs make possible communities not bound by space.  In these “communities of choice” proximity is not a factor for intimacy.  Examples of communities of choice are Web forums, newsgroups and mailing lists, which are generally organized topically.  Strangers who have similar interests are encouraged to read each other’s messages and communicate, giving each other advice, information and updates.  Forums for all fields of interest or concerns and issues exist online, and a person can find others similarly situated with whom to form possible friendships based on common interests, or support groups if suffering from afflictions rare or otherwise.

For this reason, Castells tends to disagree that Internet use lowers social interaction and causes greater social isolation.  He does agree that in certain circumstances, perhaps for individuals suffering from addiction or dependence, Internet use tends to become a substitute for other social activities.47

Box 10.  Ashá[email protected] Peruvian Amazon (excerpts)

    In an open grass hut on the edge of the Peruvian Andes and the Amazon jungle, an unlikely sight heralds a revolution:  a computer on a rough plank table, displaying Internet web pages.  The anachronistic beige box, owned by a village of indigenous Asháninka, called Marankiari Bajo, is connected to the Internet by high-powered radio.  The tiny community, located more than 500 metres above sea level and 400 kilometres from Lima (a journey that includes many changes in elevation), is remote — yet in touch with the world.  Perhaps more importantly to the villagers, it’s also networked with other Asháninka communities nearby.  Until recently, they didn’t even have telephones.

    The Asháninka do not see the Internet as the beachhead of a cultural invasion from the North.  Rather, they have seized it as a tool to reinforce and perpetuate their own culture, to build a larger sense of community purpose among the 400-odd Asháninka villages scattered across South America, and to tell their own story to the world.  In the process, they bypass outside news media and governments, which they think tend to marginalize them.

    In the course of embracing the Internet, the Asháninka are moving from an oral to a written culture.  Parents hope their children will be able to learn new things that the Asháninka have not known before.  But the community also still believes that elders have something to teach their youth about succeeding on Asháninka terms, even while they prepare to enter a world larger than Marankiari Bajo.  In the meantime, the Internet gives villagers the chance to set up strategic alliances, not just with other Asháninka communities nearby, but with First Nations around the world, says Castro.

    “It’s difficult for me to synthesize the experience sometimes, but on the way we’ve found friends, we’ve learned to dialogue and to agree.  This has permitted us to strengthen our local capacities,” he concludes.  “This whole experience has shown us that we’re not alone -- we have friends who are in the same circumstances as we are.”

Source:  Keane Shore, “Ashá[email protected] Peruvian Amazon,” in Reports:  Science from the Developing World, International Development Research  Centre [home page on-line]; available from read_article_english.cfm?article_num=837; accessed 28 August 2002.

Do other communication technologies affect societies the way the Internet does?

A mode of communication that is more prevalent in the developing world than the computer-based Internet is the mobile phone.  In most of Asia the mobile phone has become a familiar gadget.  Interestingly, mobile phones are not used only for making voice calls but also for short messaging.  It is believed that in the developing world more people will access the Internet via mobile phones than computers.

Castells observes that “cell-telephony” also fits a social pattern organized around communities of  choice and individualized interaction based on the selection of time, place, and partners of the interaction.  In addition, the development of wireless Internet increases the possibility of  personalized networking to a broader range of social situations.  This enhances the capacity of  individuals to rebuild structures of sociability from the bottom up.48

Kraut and Lundmark of the Human Interaction Institute of the Carnegie Mellon University issue a cautionary note.  Based on their studies, they conclude that the Internet is not a substitute for real human interaction as a means for emotional and social fulfillment.  The use of the Internet can be both highly entertaining and useful, but if it causes too much disengagement from real life, it can also be harmful.  Until the technology evolves to be more beneficial, people should moderate their use of the Internet and monitor the uses to which they put it.49 While there are clear benefits to virtual communities formed around infocommunication networks, a balance should be maintained and social isolation minimized.


What is globalization and how is it related to the ICT revolution?

Technological development, from better transportation and carrier services to the telephone and mass media, has created a smaller, more integrated world.  Now, the ICT revolution is making the world even smaller and more integrated.  Communications, trade and employment, personal and political transactions are now occurring on a global scale, in real time, ignoring boundaries between states.

Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz defines globalization as

    …the closer integration of the countries and peoples of the world which has been brought about by the enormous reduction of costs of transportation and communication, and the breaking down of artificial barriers to the flows of goods, services, capital, knowledge, and (to a lesser extent) people across borders.50

It is important to underscore that globalization is not just an economic phenomenon.  It affects all aspects of life.

At least four factors have contributed to globalization:  (1) technological change, particularly the ICT revolution; (2) the spread of market-based systems; (3) domestic politics—pro-globalization forces are more politically significant; and (4) inter-state rivalries.51

How will globalization affect the nation-state?

Anthony Giddens suggests that globalization affects the nation-state in three ways.52 First, globalization, especially the global marketplace, takes certain powers away from the nation-state.  Nation-states are not as in command of their economic futures as they used to be.  The best example of this is the increasing inability of governments to control their currencies.  Exchange rates are now determined by other people’s assessment of a country’s economic well-being.

At the same time, says Giddens, globalization creates new possibilities and motivations for local cultural autonomy and identities.  This “push down effect” of globalization is the reason for the revival of local nationalism and local forms of cultural identity in all parts of the world.  It may seem strange but the more we globalize, the more we localize.

The third effect of globalization is that it also pushes sideways.  This is best seen in the emergence of regional groupings, which Keniche Ohmae calls “regional states”.53 Both Giddens and Ohmae give as an example the area of Catalonia around Barcelona in northern Spain:  Catalonia overlaps with southern France, but it is linked to the Spanish economy.

Clearly globalization is a complex set of partly contradictory forces.  It is not, as globalization critics suggest, a single force pulling in a single direction.

How do the Internet and the ICT revolution affect governance?

Governance can be simply defined as “organizing collective action”.54 It implies the organization of rules that allows, prescribes and prohibits certain actions.  A narrower definition of governance relates it to government or the decision-making processes in the administration of a state.  ICT has a major effect on governance in both its broad and narrow sense.  The Institute of Governance (Canada) believes that ICTs:

    “… create new expectations among citizens about how governments should interact with them, and how services should be delivered.  Internet technology and recent advances in applied genetics are significantly redefining the boundaries of personal choice and private influence, and of collective decision-making on matters of public importance.”55

At one level, governments that use ICT will be better able to govern.  E-government, or the use of  ICT to enhance the access and delivery of government services to benefit citizens, is a necessary element in the government’s drive for good governance.  Egovernment promises not only a more efficient and effective government but a more transparent one as well.

How does ICT transform international politics?

Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye, Jr reject the view that the information age will radically transform relations between nations.  Their position is based on their belief that countries are already embedded in patterns of complex interdependence where “security and force matter less and countries are connected by multiple social and political relationships.”56

However, they judge that

    “The information revolution alters patterns of complex interdependence by exponentially increasing the number of channels of communications in world politics—between individuals in networks, not just individuals within bureaucracies.  But it exists in the context of an existing political structure, and its effects on the flows of different types of information vary vastly.”57

They also agree that in the 21st century, “information technology, broadly defined, is likely to be the most important power resource.”

Other scholars have proposed the concept of noopolitik, which refers to a dimension of international relations that is related to the formation of a ‘noosphere’ or a global information environment.  Noopolitik is projected as an alternative to realpolitik, the latter being the traditional approach to fostering the power of the state in the international arena, by
negotiation, force, or the potential use of force.  In a world characterized by globalization and shaped by information and communication, the ability to act on information flows, and on media messages, becomes an essential tool for fostering a political agenda.58

With noopolitik, diplomacy will now include not only governments but also the societies they represent.  This new diplomacy may prevent confrontation, increase the opportunity for alliances, and foster cultural and political hegemony.  Embedded in this new diplomacy is the capacity to intervene in the process of mental representation underlying public opinion and collective political behavior at the national level.59

What is cyberwar?  Is it the same as information war and cyberterrorism?

Cyberwar, according to James Dunnigan, is the use of “electronic networks, and information, …as part of a weapon system”.60 It includes warplanes using electronic devices to jam enemy radars to elude their missiles as well as hacking into the enemies’ bank accounts and/or their servers and information networks.  He distinguishes cyberwar from “information war”, which is using information and news as weapon.  Information war or propaganda war, claims Dunnigan, has been around for thousands of years.  Cyberterrorism is a narrower concept, and is defined as “the premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer systems, computer programs, and data which result in violence against noncombatant targets by sub national groups or clandestine agents.”61

The emergence of these terms is related to the fact that more and more governments and businesses are becoming dependent on computers and information systems.  Databases of highly sensitive and confidential information are stored on computer systems.  Air traffic control, banking and finance accounts, water utilities and other public utilities are assisted by computer programs and networks as well.  Thus, these systems become targets of those who wish to threaten the government or the economy.

What is cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is about combating threats and crimes in cyberspace.  It includes passing appropriate laws and policies, as well as developing capabilities and institutions to prevent fraud and fight threats.

At the national level, government cybersecurity efforts have focused on creating the appropriate policy and legal environment, protecting critical infrastructure against cyber attacks and improving the security of the national information system.  At the global level, various efforts are now underway to create a harmonized policy infrastructure to enable a robust and globally integrated system capable of responding to cyber threats in a coordinated and timely manner.  In December 2002, the UNGA adopted resolution 57/239 calling for a “global culture of security”.62
In the Asia-Pacific, APEC Leaders have issued a “Statement on Fighting Terrorism and Promoting Growth” which includes an APEC Cybersecurity Strategy to protect communications and information systems.63 In their statement APEC leaders have announced their intention to:  (1) enact cybersecurity laws that are consistent with international norms; (2) identify national cybercrime units; and (3) establish institutions that exchange threats and vulnerabilities (such as computer emergency response teams or CERTs).

While a focus on cybersecurity is important, analysts believe that cyber terrorist threats to computer structures are implausible.  This is because terrorism is like lightning, taking the path of least resistance.  Moreover, currently it is easier to blow something up than to figure out how to damage it by hacking into and manipulating a computer system.64


What is the digital divide and why is it important?

The digital divide separates the information rich and the information poor.  The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development defines the digital divide as the difference between individuals, households, businesses and geographic
areas with regard to (a) their opportunities to access ICTs and (b) their use of the Internet for a wide variety of activities.  It is the gap between those who have real access to information and communications technology and who are able to use it effectively, and those who don’t have such access.65

Lack of access to ICT goods and services poses social and economic disadvantages.  More and more, developing countries are recognizing that they cannot compete in the new global market unless they take advantage of the ICT revolution.  Countries that do not undertake measures to enhance their ICT infrastructure risk not just being marginalized but also being completely bypassed in the new global order.  The experience of a number of countries, like Singapore, Malaysia and Korea, demonstrate that bold actions in bringing their countries into the digital age pay off.

Box 11.  Internet Access Under African Skies by Noah Elkin

    In absolute terms, the number of internet users in Africa is abysmally low.  The entire continent has a user population that is approximately half that of Canada, even though its population is nearly 20 times as large.  Penetration rates are likewise miniscule—currently, less than 1% of Africa’s population uses the internet, while penetration rates top 50% in North America.  As a result, Africa, with the exception of South Africa and some of the more developed North African countries, barely appears on the radar in most global internet studies.

    This may not be the case in the future.  According to a recent report by Mike Jensen, an independent monitor of information and communication technology development in Africa, internet usage has progressed considerably throughout the continent in recent years and shows no sign of slowing down.  All countries there enjoy internet access, at least in the capital city, while few countries could make that claim just five years ago.  By mid-2002, Jensen had tallied 560 internet service providers (ISPs) across Africa, noting that competition for dial-up subscribers exists in most countries.

    However, high fees, a recurring problem in developing countries, keep the subscriber rolls from growing.  Jensen’s analysis indicates that the average monthly cost for 20 hours of dial-up account usage (a standard measure used by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [ OECD ]), which includes ISP charges and local call fees but not the cost of a renting the telephone line itself, is an astronomical $60 per month.  This figure is nearly three times the average monthly rate recorded by the OECD in the US, and, as Jensen notes, exceeds the average per capita income in many African countries.

    Those Africans who cannot afford a phone or a computer—in other words, most of the continent’s population—have responded by sharing paid subscriptions (a popular strategy in developing areas), with an estimated three to five people using a single subscription.  Residents of urban areas, where the telecommunications infrastructure is typically the most highly developed in any given country, have flocked to public access points such as cybercafés, internet kiosks and community telecenters, where equipment and costs can be shared by a large number of users.

    However, these arrangements often leave out the majority of the population, given that the population of most African countries remains overwhelmingly rural.  The extant challenge lies in extending the communications infrastructure throughout each country in such a way that the build-out does not make installation and usage costs too onerous for consumers and small businesses to take advantage of it.  And entrepreneurs must develop creative business models that are based on shared internet usage, such as community internet centers offering connectivity plus international money transfer, small business assistance and educational services.  This is one way of creating a self-sustaining technology base in Africa.

Source:  Noah Elkin, “Internet Access Under African Skies,” eMarketer Daily Issue 162 (2002); available from http://; accessed 21 August 2002.

How do we measure the digital divide?

The digital divide is usually measured in terms of citizen/population access to ICT.  Among the indicators for measuring access are (1) telephone density (teledensity); (2) personal computer (PC) deployment and penetration; and (3) number of Internet users.

Teledensity is the ratio of population to telephones (traditionally defined as fixed or wired telephone lines).  This indicator of the divide must be redefined to include cellular/mobile phone use since in a number of developing countries there are more mobile phones than wired phones.  Taylor Nelson Sofres Interactive (TNS) estimates that 57% of the adult population (defined as those between ages 15 and 65) in the Asia-Pacific region have a mobile phone.66

Personal computer penetration and deployment has also been used to measure access, since the PC is the most common way of accessing the Internet.  However, recently more and more ways of accessing the Internet have been devised.  In Japan, people can access the Internet through their mobile phones.  Those from developing countries share PCs, usually in an Internet café or in school.

The number of Internet users is also a way of looking at the digital divide.  Statistics show that only about 10% of the world’s population is online.  Furthermore, most of these Internet users are in the developed Western countries:  the US, Canada and Europe account for about 63% of the world’s Internet users.  The Asia-Pacific’s share is about 30%.  Africa and the Middle East combined account for less than 2% of the universe of Internet users.

Equally disturbing is the fact that the global Internet population is predominantly male.  Again, there are marked regional differences in the gender digital divide.  In the Asia Pacific, the ratio of Internet users is about 60% men and 40% women.  In the US and Canada the gender distribution is more balanced.

Box 12.  Asian Women Love E-mail

    More and more Asian women are discovering the joys of getting in touch over the internet.  The number of them who used e-mail and internet chat leapt towards the end of last year, according to recent figures by the net measurement company NetValue.

    “Towards the end of 2001, women were definitely interested in keeping in touch with people over the internet,” said NetValue President Jack Loo in a statement.  “We saw more female users sending e-cards, sending and receiving e-mail, joining chat rooms, and posting up messages in forums.”  The figures reinforce the commonly held belief that women are better communicators than men, using new technology to share experiences.

    Chat takes off

    The highest growth was in Hong Kong, where women flocked to use webmail and send electronic greetings cards during the holiday season.  Between October and December 2001, the number of Hong Kong women using webmail jumped 104.7%.  There was also an increase of just under 80% in those sending e-cards.  There was also considerable growth in Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.

    The study also showed that more women were attracted by chatting over the internet, especially in Korea where more than half of all female internet users headed to chat sites.  But Singaporean women are fast catching up, with more than a fourfold jump in number of female chat users at the end of last year.

    Women’s voices

    …Experts say the internet is tailor-made to help women find their voices, citing the rise of women’s organisations across Asia.  The figures from NetValue also reflect the increasing numbers of women who are going online in Asia.  They now account for more than 40% of internet population in the Asia-Pacific region.

Source:  “Asian women love e-mail” (26 February, 2002) in BBC News [home page on-line]; available from http://; accessed 28 August 2002.

Is lack of access the only problem?

It is already received wisdom among those who are working to bridge the digital divide that providing access to technology is only one of many obstacles that must be addressed.  Internet access is not enough.  The Children’s Partnership argues that content is one aspect of the digital divide that has been neglected.  The four contentrelated barriers to greater Internet uptake across society are:  (1) local information barriers; (2) literacy barriers; (3) language barriers; (4) cultural diversity barriers.

Local content is determined by the commercialized nature of the Web.  Commercial content providers tend to focus on content that delivers returns to their investments.  Thus, Internet users from developing countries, such as farmers, for example, rarely discover information that is relevant to them.  Compounding the problem is that non-profit, community-based initiatives to create content face sustainability problems.

Literacy is another concern.  Literacy includes not only basic and functional literacy but also technological literacy.  Older people who may be literate may find using a computer and accessing the Internet an intimidating experience.  A related concern is creating inexpensive content that is accessible to all, including illiterate people.  Perhaps this aim will be achieved through voice recognition technologies.

The language barrier compounds the literacy issue.  Over 68% of Internet content worldwide is in English.  In e-commerce, English is even more dominant, with over 94% of links to pages on secure servers in English.  However, although there are currently fewer sites for non-English speakers, the trend is expected to change soon.

How can we bridge the digital divide?

Studies have shown that technology diffusion is slow and costly and developing countries “cannot assume that relevant new technologies will flow easily to them across international borders”.67

Governments play a vital role in bridging the digital divide.  This is particularly true in developing national information infrastructures that will increase Internet access among the population.  Specifically, governments should develop a policy and legal regulatory environment conducive to the creation of a robust national information infrastructure, including a regulatory environment that would increase competition and keep prices down.  Government should also consider lowering or removing import duties and/or sales taxes on IT goods and services.  This would contribute towards increasing PC penetration rates.  Finally, governments’ own use of technology to enhance efficiency, effectiveness and transparency (e-government) could stimulate growth in the private ICT sector.

Governments should also encourage alternative access to the Internet.  If in the developed world the PC through the telephone or cable networks is the main mode of accessing the Internet, developing countries should seriously consider the use of wireless technologies and devices to connect to the Internet.

Box 13.  Mobile Internet for Developing Countries

Mobile communications has exploded in many developing nations.  Mobile has often been the first competitor to sluggish government-owned fixed line telephone systems.  Instead of waiting for years for a fixed line, and sometimes paying high line installation fees, citizens in many developing countries can now get a mobile connection on demand and need only to pay for the card that activates their handset.  Furthermore, because wires do not need to be laid, mobile networks can be installed relatively quickly and are appearing in formerly ‘unwired’ places such as ‘up-country’ Uganda.  Another big driver of mobile in developing countries has been the pre-paid card which turns the mobile handset into a portable, personal pay phone.  Pre-paid service has allowed millions of users who would not normally financially qualify for subscription-based service to become mobile users.

One of the reasons that wireless Internet seems logical for developing countries is that mobile phones outnumber PCs.  In addition, mobile phones are beginning to exceed fixed lines in a growing number of developing countries.  Of course, many of those handsets cannot access the Internet but most could be used for SMS (short messaging service), a precursor of Internet use.  SMS is exploding in many developing countries.  Take the Philippines for example where one of the leading mobile operators is Globe Telecom.  At the end of 2000, it had 2.6 million subscribers (of which 86% were pre-paid) generating 25 million SMS messages a month.  Revenues from SMS increased almost 500% in 2000 and accounted for 17% of Globe’s wireless revenue.

Is it realistic to expect that the latest mobile Internet applications will also be launched in developing countries?  The Congo, one of the poorest countries in the world, was one of the first nations in Africa to get WAP in June 2000.  It was introduced by Celtel Congo, which launched its mobile service only in December 1999.  A year and half later, Celtel had grown to be the largest telecom operator in the Congo with 14,000 subscribers.  Celtel’s WAP users can access content such as local news, exchange rates, travel schedules and overseas WAP sites.

Source:  Michael Minges, “Mobile Internet for Developing Countries” in INET 2001 Proceedings; The Internet Society
[home page on-line]; available from; accessed 28 August 2002.

Is government’s role limited to developing the physical infrastructure?

The problem with focusing too much on providing the infrastructure to enhance access is that the public may have Internet access but will not find anything useful or relevant on the Net anyway.  Since governments are the biggest repository of information that is important to citizens, and since information is a public good, governments’ role as a content provider is also critical.

Some governments address the issue of content directly.  For instance, the Information Stores (Boutiques d’information), which is operated by the government of Burkina Faso, provides agricultural production and marketing information to rural farmers.  The Information Boutiques collect and provide information about judicial matters, facilitate courses and mediate between the local population and services.  It was designed to meet the information needs of the rural population of Burkina, who do not have sufficient access to information supporting basic economic, social and political activities.

Is there a role for the private sector in bridging the digital divide?

The private sector, through investments and economic activities, plays an important role in bridging the digital divide.  The numerous Internet cafes in the developing world are a testament to fact that the drive for profit does not preclude doing social good (in this case making the Internet more accessible).  Moreover, the development of new IT businesses contributes to employment and economic growth in general.

A number of global IT companies are also keen on helping to provide people with the necessary skills to succeed in the information age.  Oracle’s Oracle Academic Initiative, Sun Microsystems’ Java Competency Center, Cisco Systems’ Cisco Networking Academy, and other similar efforts not only help make their graduates more employable but also upgrade skills in the community.  That they also ensure a steady supply of workers for these corporations certainly makes it a win-win-win situation for individuals, communities and corporations.

Corporate social responsibility efforts are also useful in ensuring broader access to ICT goods and services.  Microsoft’s international community affairs program aims to bring the benefits of ICT to disadvantaged people in countries where it does business.  In China, Microsoft is sponsoring Project Hope, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that aims to create five computer labs or cyberschools.  The project will involve teaching computer skills to disadvantaged youth, who will have Internet access and the highest quality teachers and curricula in China.  The same is being done in Indonesia, where Microsoft is working with Pact Indonesia to create six computer centers and offer IT skills development for disadvantaged youth.

In the Philippines, Coca-Cola Export Corporation has entered into a joint project with the Foundation for IT Education and Development, a non-profit organization, to operate the ed.venture project, which provides computers and Internet connectivity, training and post-training support services to high schools in the Philippines.  By using schools as an entry point to the community, ed.venture and similar projects are laying the foundation for greater community participation in the digital universe.

Box 14.  Tuning In to The Village Voice

    Under the name Radyo Natin, or Our Radio, MBC has launched more than 400 low-power FM stations since late (2001), with another 400 in the pipeline.  This network of tiny radio stations represents an effort by MBC to convince national advertisers that they can reach virtually every consumer in the Philippines at the local level.  For the stations’ operators, the money they make will depend on convincing small local businesses to advertise, while also selling blocks of the stations’ airtime to local politicians, religious institutions and others with a desire to reach the community.

    Using a combination of low-cost transmitters and satellite-programming muscle developed in Manila as part of its traditional radio network, MBC, the oldest broadcaster in the Philippines, stands poised to revolutionize local radio.  For the first time, tiny local stations are able to deliver the latest music and news from Manila in tandem with local-language news and information about the village or the neighborhood.

    The network is so new that it is difficult to say if the local stations will generate consistent profit for the operations.  One thing is certain, however:  Never before in Asia has a company come up with a formula for such widespread low-power broadcasting.  Traditional so-called ‘community’ radio has relied on foundations and funding agencies like the United Nations to set up small stations in remote communities in the developing world.  But frequently, when the money from the agency dries up, the stations go off the air.  With Radyo Natin, MBC is betting that operators will develop sufficient local-revenue streams to keep the network going and that national advertisers will give the home networks a steady flow of advertising pesos to make the venture profitable.

    If all goes as planned, by the end of (2002) MBC will have 1,174 stations in its network, including its 74 traditional big stations, the 100 larger Radyo Natin properties and the 1,000 tiny local stations currently being established.

Source:  A.  Lin Neumann, “Tuning In to The Village Voice” in Far Eastern Economic Review (August 29, 2002).

What is the role of nongovernment organizations?

Nongovernment organizations (NGOs) play a number of roles in bridging the digital divide.  NGOs help define the issue and mobilize resources to bridge the digital divide.  The work of the Benton Foundation is an example.  This non-profit organization produces and coordinates the Digital Divide Network (DDN), which serves as “a catalyst for developing new, innovative, digital divide strategies and for making current initiatives more strategic, more partner-based, and more outcome-oriented, with less duplication of effort, and more learning from each other’s activities.”68

NGOs are also engaged in policy work, helping develop proposals for global action on the digital divide.  This is seen in the role of the non-profit organizations in the Digital Opportunity Task Force (DOT Force), a body created by the G8 Summit in July 2000.  The DOT Force report, presented at the 2001 Genoa Summit, proposed a nine-point action plan to resolve the digital divide.69

NGOs also act as technology providers (in some instances acting as Internet service providers and/or application services providers).  An interesting effort along this line is that of Jhai Foundation’s Remote IT Village Project in Laos.70 Faced with no electricity or telephone wires and harsh conditions, Jhai Foundation is developing the following:

●  A rugged computer and printer that draws less than 20 watts in normal use (less than 70 watts when the printer is operating) and that can survive dirt, heat and immersion in water;

●  A wireless local area network with relay stations based on the 802.11b protocol, that will transmit signals between the villages and a server located at the Phon Hong Hospital for switching to the Internet or the Lao telephone system; and

●  A Lao-language version of the free, Linux-based KDE graphical desktop and Lao-language office tools.

It is expected that Lao villagers in the five pilot areas will use these facilities to make telephone calls within Lao PDR and internationally (using voice-over-Internet technologies), and for the activities that are so important for their start-up enterprises, such as accounting, letter writing and email.

NGOS also play a significant role in bridging the digital divide particularly as content providers and trainers.  The Community Learning Centers in Ghana are a case in point.

Box 15.  High Tech/Grassroots Education:  Community Learning Centers (CLCs) for Skill Building (excerpts) by Mary Fontaine

    Since November 1998, three Ghanaian NGOs have been managing and running CLCs in Accra, Kumasi, and Cape Coast.  The purpose of the centers is to empower individuals and organizations for local development by providing public access—particularly for low-income populations—to the Internet and other ICTs.  In just a little over two years, the centers grew from small, relatively obscure offices to popular establishments with their waiting rooms filled.  They served nearly 14,000 clients during the first quarter of 2000 alone, 77 percent of whom took advantage of the training opportunities in typing, word processing, spreadsheets, computer literacy, and Internet orientation that are offered in addition to simple access to computer equipment.

    That’s over 10,000 individuals who gained increasingly important computer-related skills.  Trainees include students, teachers, and researchers as well as business people, staff from NGOs, medical practitioners, artisans, merchants, local officials, and telecommunications workers.  Ranging in age from eight to sixty seven, with 85 percent between 18 and 40, the vast majority of clients are males.  However, female enrollment has been growing steadily, in part due to the CLCs’ creative outreach campaigns.

    The CLCs in Ghana and Benin are providing practical, hands-on, and affordable training to thousands of people from all walks of life, who are developing skills that simply cannot be acquired anywhere else—even at some of the major universities.  Individuals participating in the training perceive it to be highly empowering, due not only to the employment opportunities it opens up but also to the ready access to global information and networking it provides.  In the long term, it may have the same empowering effect on low-income communities as a whole.  For now, the training programs are clearly meeting a need and helping to satisfy a growing demand that remains otherwise unfulfilled.

    Beyond the impact on individuals and communities, the operation of CLCs is having an interesting impact on NGOs as well.  Their entry into the telecenter business illustrates a growing trend in the NGO world toward a kind of “social entrepreneurship” that is neither strictly non-profit nor for-profit.  Generating revenue to run a business is a relatively new undertaking for most NGOs, especially small, indigenous groups in developing countries.  The NGOs in Ghana and Benin deserve credit for their courage in taking the risk on behalf of their constituents—and congratulations for making it work.

Source:  Mary Fontaine, “High Tech/Grassroots Education:  Community Learning Centers (CLCs) for Skill Building” in TechKnowLogia (July/August 2000), Knowledge Enterpise Inc.; available from hightech.pdf; accessed 28 August 2002.

What about international organizations?

The digital divide has reached the top of the agenda of numerous international and regional organizations.

The United Nations’ ICT Task Force, for one, aims to find new, creative and quickacting means for spreading the benefits of the digital revolution and averting the prospect of a two-tiered world information society.71 The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has projects to boost Internet connectivity and access in some of the poorest countries in the world.

These include the United Nations Information Technology Service (UNITeS), a volunteer corps to train groups in developing countries in the uses and opportunities of the Internet and IT, and the Sustainable Development Networking Program (SDNP), an initiative to kick-start networking in developing countries and help people share information and expertise relevant to sustainable development.  The UNDP Asia Pacific Development Information Program (APDIP) aims to promote and establish information technology for social and economic development throughout the region.

The World Bank’s Global Information and Communication Technologies Department (GICT) seeks to accelerate the participation of client countries in the global information economy; to promote private sector investment in developing countries, which will reduce poverty and improve people’s lives; and to promote innovative projects on the use of ICTs for economic and social development, with special emphasis on the needs of the poor in developing countries.

The World Bank’s Information for Development Program (infoDev) is a global grant program that promotes innovative projects in the use of ICTs for economic and social development in developing countries.  The Development Gateway is a development portal that provides access to information and knowledge on development activities.72 Through this initiative, the World Bank hopes to make it easier to share experience and knowledge in development, and offers up-to-date information on projects, resources, best practices and expertise on such subjects as poverty, governance, gender, IT, development and environment.

At the regional level, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum has adopted an e-APEC strategy, which has three pillars:  to create an environment for strengthening market structures and institutions; to provide an environment for infrastructure investment and technology development; and to enhance human capacity building and promote entrepreneurship.  The e-ASEAN initiative is an effort of the 10 Southeast East Asian states to develop a broad and comprehensive action plan to develop competencies within ASEAN to enable it to flourish in the global information economy.


Developing countries recognize the need to harness ICTs for development.  However, the ICT uptake has been largely unequal.  The digital divide is a problem that both government and the private sector must work together to address.  Without doubt, the ICT revolution is changing the course of history, and developing countries must equip themselves with better information and policies that would enable them to join the digital revolution.

The aim of this primer and the series on the Information Economy, Society and Polity is to provide policy makers and opinion leaders in developing countries of the Asia-Pacific with a clear understanding of the various terminologies, definitions, trends and issues surrounding the information age.  The other primers in the series are:

●  Nets, Webs and Information Infrastructure
●  E-commerce and E-business
●  Legal and Regulatory Issues in the Information Economy
●  E-Government
●  ICT and Education
●  Genes, Technology and Policy:  An Introduction to Biotechnology

It is our hope that these primers will spur the continuing efforts of developing countries to prepare for the information age.

Much has been written about the information revolution.  Many initiatives have been undertaken and some are to be applauded for their success while others need further support and guidance.  The signs of the times—digitization, convergence, globalization, as well as their various impacts on politics, economics, social structures and culture—all foreshadow a future in which information is the key component.  We must heed these signs if the future, the new era of information and progress, is to be ours.


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1 Andy Covell, Digital Convergence:  How the Merging of Computers, Communications, and Multimedia is Transforming Our Lives (Rhode Island:  Aegis, 2000), 58.  2 Robert W.  Lucky, “In a Very Short Time:  What is Coming Next in Telecommunications,” in Technology 2001:  The Future of Computing and Communications, ed.  Derek Leebaert (Cambridge, MA:  MIT Press, 1995), 339.
3 Ibid., 342.
4 Frances Cairncross, The Death of Distance:  How the Communications Revolution Will Change Our Lives (London:  Orion, 1997), xiii.
5 Covell, Digital Convergence, 66.
6 Ibid., 67.
7 Ibid., 68.
8 Ibid., 69.
9John Gage, “Decentering Society;” available from C9910E03.html 10/31/2000; accessed 8 August 2002.
10 Lawrence Lessig, The Future of Ideas:The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World (New York:  Random House, 2001), 23.
11 Christopher Coward, correspondence with author.
12 Ed Lazowska, Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science, Department of Computer Science & Engineering, University of Washington; cited in email of Chris Coward to the author.  13 Richard Lipsey, Technological Shocks:  Past, Present and Future; available from http://; accessed 28 August 2002.
14 Tom Forrester and Perry Morrison, Computer Ethics:  Cautionary Tales and Ethical Dilemmas in Computing (Oxford:  Blackwell, 1990), 1.
15 Lipsey, Technological Shocks, 11.
16 John V.  Pavlik, citing James Beniger, New Media Technology:  Cultural and Commercial Perspectives, 2nd ed.  (Boston:  Allyn and Bacon, 1998), 134.
17 Anthony Giddens, “Runaway World:  The Reith Lectures Revisited Lecture 1:  10 November 1999;” available from; accessed 28 August 2002.
18 Manuel Castells, The Rise of the Network Society.  The Information Age:  Economy, Society & Culture, vol.  1 (Oxford:Blackwell, 1996), 31.
19 Debora L.  Spar, Ruling the Waves:  From the Compass to the Internet, a History of Business and Politics along the Technological Frontier (New York:  Harcourt:  2001), 11.  20 Ibid, 374.
21 Castells, The Rise of the Network Society, 66.
22 Ibid., 92.
23 Ibid., 97-98.
24 William D.  Nordhaus, “Productivity Growth and the New Economy,” Working Paper 8096 National Bureau of Economic Research; available from; accessed 28 August 2002, 6-7.
25 Castells, The Rise of the Network Society, 79.
26 Robert Reich, The Future of Success (New York:  Alfred A.  Knopf, 2001), 106.
27 Ibid., 48.
28 Peter Drucker, “Beyond the Information Revolution” in The Atlantic Online [home page online]; available from; accessed 28 August 2002.  29 Manuel Castells, The Internet Galaxy (Oxford & New York:  Oxford University Press, 2001), 1-2.
30Cited in Tapscott, Ticoll and Lowy, Digital Capital:  Harnessing the Power of Business Webs (London:  Nicolas Brealey Publishing, 2000), 8.  31 Ibid., 7-9.
32 Doyle, J.J.  and G.J.  Persley, eds., Enabling the Safe Use of Biotechnology:  Principles and Practices (Washington, D.C.:  The World Bank, 1996).
33 W.  Brian Arthur, “Is The Information Revolution Dead?” Business 2.0 (March 2002); available from,1643,37570,FF.html; accessed 8 August 2002.  34 Jeremy Rifkin, The End of Work:  The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era, (New York:  JP Putnam, 1995), 223.
35 Drucker, “Beyond the Information Revolution” in The Atlantic Online.  36 Carol Ann Meares et al., The Digital Workforce:  Building Infotech Skills at the Speed of Innovation (US Department of Commerce, June 1999), 21.
37 Reich, The Future of Success, 176.
38 Ibid., 176-7.
39 Gregory K.  Ericksen, Net Entrepreneurs Only:  10 Entrepreneurs Tell The Stories of Their Success (New York, NY:  John Wiley & Sons, 2000), ix.
40 The European Commission, “LifeLong Learning,” European Communities, 1995-2002; available from; accessed 31 August 2002
41 Distance Education Centre at Technical University of Gdansk, “The Internet:  Its Psychological Effects”; available from Internet.html; accessed 31 August 2002).
42 Robert Putnam, “Bowling Alone:  America’s Declining Social Capital” in Journal of Democracy 6:1, Jan 1995, 65-78; available from journal_of_democracy/v006/putnam.html; accessed 31 August 2002.  43 Castells, The Internet Galaxy, 130-131.
44 Reich, The Future of Success, 158.
45 Ibid., 174.
46 Ibid., 175.
47 Castells, Internet Galaxy, 124.
48 Ibid., 132.
49 Robert Kraut & Vicki Lundmark, “Internet Paradox:  A Social Technology That Reduces Social Involvement and Psychological Well-Being?” in American Psychological Association 53:  9, 1017–1031 (1998); available from amp5391017.html; accessed 29 June 2002.  50 Joseph E.  Stiglitz, Globalization and Its Discontents (New York:  Norton & Company, 2002), 9.
51 Aseem Prakash and Jeffrey A.  Hart, “Globalization and Governance:  An Introduction”, in Aseem Prakash and Jeffrey A.  Hart (eds.), Globalization and Governance (London:  Routledge, 1999), 5.  52 Giddens, “Runaway World,” 6.
53 Kenichi Ohmae, The Invisible Continent:  Four Strategic Imperatives of the New Economy (New York:  HarperBusiness, 2000).
54 Prakash and Hart, Globalization and Governance, 2.
55 Institute on Governance, “Technology and Governance”; available from
knowledge_areas.asp?pageID=6&area=4; accessed 31 August 2002
56 Robert O.  Keohane and Joseph S.  Nye, Jr., “Power and Interdependence in the Information Age”
Foreign Affairs Sept/Oct 1998; available from
57 Ibid.
58 Castells, The Internet Galaxy, 160.
59 John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, The Emergence of Noopolitik:  Toward an American Information Strategy  (Santa Monica, CA:  RAND National Defense Research Institute, 1999).
60 James F.  Dunnigan, The Next War Zone:  Confronting the Global Threat of Cyberterrorism (New York:  Citadel Press, 2002), 2.
61 Mark M.  Pollitt, „Cyberterrorism  Fact or Fancy?”; available from; accessed 8 August 2002.
63 64 Scott Berinato, “The Truth About Cyberterrorism” in CIO Magazine (15 March 2002); available from; accessed 8 August 2002.  65, “What is the Digital Divide?” (2000-2001); available from http://; accessed 8 August 2002.  66 Taylor Nelson Sofres, “Adults Who Have Internet Access in Selected Countries in the Asia-Pacific Region, December 2000-February 2001 (as a % of Respondents)” in eMarketer (4 May 2001); available from 20010508_tns_asia.html?ref=asw.; accessed 24 June 2002.
67 Lipsey, Technological Shocks, 19.
68 The  Digital  Divide  Network  [home  page  on-line];  available  from  http://; accessed 28 August 2002.  69 Digital Opportunity Task Force, Report Card:  Digital Opportunities For All (June 2002); available from ; accessed 31 August 2002.
70 “Remote IT Village Project in Laos” in Jhai Foundation [home page on-line]; available from; accessed 31 August 2002.
71 “Information and communication technologies are creating a new global information society—from which four billion of the world’s people currently are excluded” in UN ICT Task Force [home page on-line]; available from itforum/icttaskforce.htm.  72 Development Gateway Foundation [home page on-line]; available from; accessed 31 August 2002.


Emmanuel C.  Lallana, PhD, conducts research and training on ICT for development issues.  He is lead author of [email protected]:  Electronic Commerce Policy Issues in the Philippines (1999), e-primer:  An Introduction to Electronic Commerce (2000) and e-Government in the Philippines:  

Benchmarking Against Global Best Practices (2002).  Dr.  Lallana has also organized and taught at a number of training programs on e-Commerce and e-Government in various Southeast Asian countries.  He was Executive Director of the e-ASEAN Task Force from 2000 to 2002.


Shahid Akhtar played a crucial role in making this series a reality.  He mooted the idea during our first meeting and provided funding for it.  He not only gave important inputs during the writing and publishing phases, but was also very understanding when deadlines were not met.

Mr.  Roberto R.  Romulo, generous mentor, provided the “enabling environment” that made writing and publishing this series on the Information Economy, Society and Polity a lot easier.
Janet Pearce, Fellow at the Center for Telecoms Management, University of Southern California, and Chris Coward, Director of the Center for Internet Studies, University of Washington, read and critiqued this primer on the information age.

Rudy, Patricia, Joey, Zorah, Edwin and Vicky/Bibi were game enough to undertake the project with me.  Margaret Uy readily agreed to be drafted when I needed help.

Patricia Pascual made leading this project less demanding.  Katch Nakpil and Shelah Lardizabal provided the critical administrative support during the lifetime of the project.  So did Yenny, Nannie, Mel, Evelyn, Kitty, Claire, Myra, Rhiza, Macki, Ruel and Len.

Pat Arinto skillfully copyedited the primers.  Jenny Pascual gave the series its look.  Reynaldo Lane made sure that we have an online version of the series.  Ruth Pison and Veni Ilowa helped fine tune the layout.

The UNDP-APDIP team not only facilitated the project but also provided critical inputs that made the primers better.  Jose Estrella provided the inspiration and the motivation to see this (and other projects) through.  I dedicate this work to my parents.

Offline Satyagraha

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Mfg Mythologies, Swarming Smart Mobs, "Get 7 Billion on the global grid"
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2011, 06:57:38 am »

What is the role of nongovernment organizations?

Nongovernment organizations (NGOs) play a number of roles in bridging the digital divide.  NGOs help define the issue and mobilize resources to bridge the digital divide.  The work of the Benton Foundation is an example.  This non-profit organization produces and coordinates the Digital Divide Network (DDN), which serves as “a catalyst for developing new, innovative, digital divide strategies and for making current initiatives more strategic, more partner-based, and more outcome-oriented, with less duplication of effort, and more learning from each other’s activities.”68

NGOs are also engaged in policy work, helping develop proposals for global action on the digital divide.  This is seen in the role of the non-profit organizations in the Digital Opportunity Task Force (DOT Force), a body created by the G8 Summit in July 2000.  The DOT Force report, presented at the 2001 Genoa Summit, proposed a nine-point action plan to resolve the digital divide.69

NGOs also act as technology providers (in some instances acting as Internet service providers and/or application services providers).  An interesting effort along this line is that of Jhai Foundation’s Remote IT Village Project in Laos.70 Faced with no electricity or telephone wires and harsh conditions, Jhai Foundation is developing the following:

●  A rugged computer and printer that draws less than 20 watts in normal use (less than 70 watts when the printer is operating) and that can survive dirt, heat and immersion in water;

One of the problems that faced the 'Mythology Manufacturing' team was the lack of internet access in third world countries. It's hard to get a smart mob together if you can't reach them on twitter. So the globalist, Nicholas Negroponte, stepped up to provide the masses with laptops that were designed to fit the need: "A rugged computer and printer that draws less than 20 watts in normal use (less than 70 watts when the printer is operating) and that can survive dirt, heat and immersion in water". Because when you're sitting in a ditch, have no running water and you're dealing with the manufactured famine, you'll want to send out a 'tweet' about your situation.

Nicholas is founder and chairman of the
One Laptop per Child non-profit association
. '

He is currently on leave from MIT, where he was co-founder and director of the MIT Media Laboratory, and the Jerome B. Wiesner Professor of Media Technology. A graduate of MIT, Nicholas was a pioneer in the field of computer-aided design, and has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1966. Conceived in 1980, the Media Laboratory opened its doors in 1985. He is also author of the 1995 best seller, Being Digital, which has been translated into more than 40 languages. In the private sector, Nicholas serves on the board of directors for Motorola, Inc. and as general partner in a venture capital firm specializing in digital technologies for information and entertainment. He has provided start-up funds for more than 40 companies, including Wired magazine.

Negroponte's columns in Wired Magazine:

His last official column in Wired:
Beyond Digital

Sometimes defining the spirit of an age can be as simple as a single word. You may remember, for instance, the succinct (if somewhat cryptic) career advice given to young Benjamin Braddock, played by Dustin Hoffman, in the 1967 film The Graduate:


 "Exactly how do you mean?" asked Ben.

 "There's a great future in plastics," replied Mr. McGuire. "Think about it. Will you think about it?"

Now that we're in that future, of course, plastics are no big deal. Is digital destined for the same banality? Certainly. Its literal form, the technology, is already beginning to be taken for granted, and its connotation will become tomorrow's commercial and cultural compost for new ideas. Like air and drinking water, being digital will be noticed only by its absence, not its presence.

The decades ahead will be a period of comprehending biotech, mastering nature, and realizing extraterrestrial travel, with DNA computers, microrobots, and nanotechnologies the main characters on the technological stage. Computers as we know them today will a) be boring, and b) disappear into things that are first and foremost something else: smart nails, self-cleaning shirts, driverless cars, therapeutic Barbie dolls, intelligent doorknobs that let the Federal Express man in and Fido out, but not 10 other dogs back in. Computers will be a sweeping yet invisible part of our everyday lives: We'll live in them, wear them, even eat them. A computer a day will keep the doctor away.

The foothills of the future
And so? I know: Extrapolating bandwidth, processor speed, network dimensions, or the shrinking size of electromechanical devices has become truly tiresome. Moore's Law, first expounded by Gordon Moore in 1965, is indeed a stroke of brilliance, but one more mention of it should make you puke. Terabit access, petahertz processors, planetary networks, and disk drives on the heads of pins will be ... they'll just be. Face it - the Digital Revolution is over.

Yes, we are now in a digital age, to whatever degree our culture, infrastructure, and economy (in that order) allow us. But the really surprising changes will be elsewhere, in our lifestyle and how we collectively manage ourselves on this planet.

Consider the term "horseless carriage." Blindered by what came before them, the inventors of the automobile could not see the huge change it would have on how we work and play, how we build and use cities, or how we derive new business models and create new derivative businesses. It was hard, in other words, to imagine a concept such as no-fault insurance in the days of the horse and buggy.

We have a similar blindness today, because we just cannot imagine a world in which our sense of identity and community truly cohabitates the real and virtual realms. We know that the higher we climb, the thinner the air, but we haven't experienced it - we're not even at digital base camp.

Looking forward, I see five forces of change that come from the digital age and will affect the planet profoundly:
1) global imperatives,
2) size polarities,
3) redefined time,
4) egalitarian energy, and
5) meaningless territory.

Being global
As humans, we tend to be suspicious of those who do not look like us, dress like us, or act like us, because our immediate field of vision includes people more or less like us. In the future, communities formed by ideas will be as strong as those formed by the forces of physical proximity. Kids will not know the meaning of nationalism.

Nations, as we know them today, will erode because they are neither big enough to be global nor small enough to be local. The evolutionary life of the nation-state will turn out to be far shorter than that of the pterodactyl. Local governance will abound. A united planet is certain, but when is not.

Being big and small
All things digital get bigger and smaller at the same time - most things in the middle fall out. We'll see a rise in huge corporations, airplanes, hotels, and newspaper chains in parallel with growth in mom-and-pop companies, private planes, homespun inns, and newsletters written about interests most of us did not even know humans have.

The only value in being big in any corporate sense will be the ability to lose billions of dollars before making them.

Being prime
Prime time will be my time. We'll all live very asynchronous lives, in far less lockstep obedience to each other. Any store that is not open 24 hours will be noncompetitive. The idea that we collectively rush off to watch a television program at 9:00 p.m. will be nothing less than goofy. It will make sense only for sporting events and election results - and that is only because people are betting.

The true luxury in life is to not set an alarm clock and to stay in pajamas as long as you like. From this follows a complete renaissance of rural living. In the distant future, the need for cities will disappear.

Being equal
The caste system is an artifact of the world of atoms. Even dogs seem to know that on the Net.

Childhood and old age will be redefined. Children will become more active players, learning by doing and teaching, not just being seen and not heard. Retirement will disappear as a concept, and productive lives will be increased by all measures, most important those of self. Your achievements and contributions will come from their own value.

Being unterritorial
Sovereignty is about land. A lot of killing goes on for reasons that do not make sense in a world where landlords will be far less important than webmasters. We'll be drawing our lines in cyberspace, not in the sand. Already today, belonging to a digital culture binds people more strongly than the territorial adhesives of geography - if all parties are truly digital.

Ask yourself about the basics, about water, air, and fire. Remember the game 20 Questions? You begin by giving a hint as to whether you are thinking of an animal, a vegetable, or a mineral. OK. I am thinking of none of them. I am thinking of 100111100010110001.
(note: that binary code translated to what seems to be a website that's no longer available)

I found this paper about Negroponte circa 1995 -- quoting from his book, "Being Digital" - and includes an interview with him.


You can't get your revolution going without the internet. You've got to get people online to control them - and the third world needs kids to be online for future flash/smart mob actions to overthrow the state. Negroponte and his "One Laptop per Child" foundation was one way to get these kids connected to the grid...


In November 2005, at the World Summit on the Information Society held in Tunis, Negroponte unveiled the concept of a $100 laptop computer, The Children's Machine, designed for students in the developing world.[7] The price has increased to US$180, however, due to the falling US dollar. The project is part of a broader program by One Laptop Per Child, a non-profit organisation started by Negroponte and other Media Lab faculty, to extend Internet access in developing countries.

Can we cross-reference the locations where these 'kiddie laptops' were donated to the locations where we see smart mobs emerging to overthrow existing regimes? Are these the seeds the globalists planted to grow into smart mobs?

And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40


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This is from 1994-95, this is known as the Bangemann Report.  It was from the 1995 G8 Summit in Brussels when the pilot programs for the global information society were finalized. 

Europe and the global information society In its Brussels meeting of December 1993, the European Council requested that a report be prepared for its meeting on 24 - 25 June 1994 in Corfu by a group of prominent persons on the specific measures to be taken into consideration by the Community and the Member States for the infrastructures in the sphere of information.

On the basis of this report, the Council will adopt an operational programme defining precise procedures for action and the necessary means.

Brussels, 26 May 1994


Chapter I: The information society - new ways of living and working together
A revolutionary challenge to decision makers
Partnership for jobs
If we seize the opportunity
A common creation or a still fragmented Europe ?
What we can expect for...
The social challenge
Time to press on
An Action Plan
New markets in Europe’s information society

Chapter II: A market-driven revolution
A break with the past
Ending monopoly
Enabling the market
Towards a positive outcome

Chapter III: Completing the agenda
Protection of intellectual property rights (IPR)
Electronic protection (encryption), legal protection and security
Media ownership
The role of competition policy

Chapter IV: The building blocks of the information society
The opportunity for the Union - strengthening its existing networks and accelerating the
creation of new ones
New basic services are needed
Blazing the trail - ten applications to launch the information society
Application One: Teleworking
Application Two: Distance learning
Application Three: A network for universities and research centres
Application Four: Telematic services for SMEs
Application Five: Road traffic management
Application Six: Air traffic control
Application Seven: Healthcare networks
Application Eight: Electronic tendering
Application Nine: Trans-european public administration network
Application Ten: City information highways

Chapter V: Financing the information society a task for the private sector
Chapter VI: Follow-up
An Action Plan  - summary of recommendations

Members of the High-Level Group on the Information Society
Martin Bangemann
Enrico Cabral da Fonseca
Peter Davis
Carlo de Benedetti
Pehr Gyllenhammar
Lothar Hunsel
Pierre Lescure
Pascual Maragall
Gaston Thorn
Candido Velazquez-Gastelu
Peter Bonfield
Etienne Davignon
Jean-Marie Descarpentries
Brian Ennis
Hans-Olaf Henkel
Anders Knutsen
Constantin Makropoulos
Romano Prodi
Jan Timmer
Heinrich von Pierer

This Report urges the European Union to put its faith in market mechanisms as the motive power to carry us into the Information Age.

This means that actions must be taken at the European level and by Member States to strike down entrenched positions which put Europe at a competitive disadvantage:

•   it means fostering an entrepreneurial mentality to enable the emergence of new dynamic sectors of the economy

•   it means developing a common regulatory approach to bring forth a competitive, Europe-wide, market for information services

•   it does NOT mean more public money, financial assistance, subsidies, dirigisme, or protectionism.

In addition to its specific recommendations, the Group proposes an Action Plan of concrete initiatives based on a partnership between the private and public sectors to carry Europe forward into the information society.

Chapter 1
The information society -
new ways of living and working together

A revolutionary challenge to decision makers

Throughout the world, information and communications technologies are generating a new industrial revolution already as significant and far-reaching as those of the past.

It is a revolution based on information, itself the expression of human knowledge. Technological progress now enables us to process, store, retrieve and communicate information in whatever form it may take - oral, written or visual - unconstrained by distance, time and volume.

This revolution adds huge new capacities to human intelligence and constitutes a resource which changes the way we work together and the way we live together.

This revolution adds huge new capacities to human intelligence and.... changes the way we work together and the way we live together.

Europe is already participating in this revolution, but with an approach which is still too fragmentary and which could reduce expected benefits. An information society is a means to achieve so many of the Union’s objectives. We have to get it right, and get it right now.

Partnership for jobs

Europe’s ability to participate, to adapt and to exploit the new technologies and the opportunities they create, will require partnership between individuals, employers, unions and governments dedicated to managing change. If we manage the changes beforeus with determination and understanding of the social implications, we shall all gain in the long run.

Our work has been sustained by the conviction expressed in the Commission’s White Paper, Growth, Competitiveness and Employment, that “...the enormous potential for new services relating to production, consumption, culture and leisure activities will create large numbers of new jobs...”. Yet nothing will happen automatically. We have to act to ensure that these jobs are created here, and soon. And that means public and private sectors acting together.

If we seize the opportunity

All revolutions generate uncertainty, discontinuity - and opportunity. Today’s is no exception. How we respond, how we turn current opportunities into real benefits, will depend on how quickly we can enter the European information society.

In the face of quite remarkable technological developments and economic opportunities, all the leading global industrial players are reassessing their strategies and their options.

A common creation or a still fragmented Europe?

The first countries to enter the information society will reap the greatest rewards. They will set the agenda for all who must follow. By contrast, countries which temporise, or favour half-hearted solutions, could, in less than a decade, face disastrousdeclines in investment and a squeeze on jobs.

Given its history, we can be sure that Europe will take the opportunity. It will create the information society. The only question is whether this will be a strategic creation for the whole Union, or a more fragmented and much less effective amalgam of individual initiatives by Member States, with repercussions on every policy area, from the single market to cohesion.

The only question is whether this will be a strategic creation for the whole Union, or a more fragmented and much less effective amalgam of individual initiatives by Member States.

What we can expect for...

•   Europe’s citizens and consumers:
A more caring European society with a significantly higher quality of life and a wider choice of services and entertainment.

•   the content creators:
New ways to exercise their creativity as the information society calls into being new products and services.

•   Europe’s regions:
New opportunities to express their cultural traditions and identities and, for those standing on the geographical periphery of the Union, a minimising of distance and remoteness.

•   governments and administrations:
More efficient, transparent and responsive public services, closer to the citizen and at lower cost.

•   European business and small and medium sized enterprises:
More effective management and organisation, access to training and other services, data links with customers and suppliers generating greater competitiveness.

•   Europe’s telecommunications operators:
The capacity to supply an ever wider range of new high value-added services.

•   the equipment and software suppliers; the computer and consumer electronics industries:
New and strongly-growing markets for their products at home and abroad.

The social challenge

The widespread availability of new information tools and services will present fresh opportunities to build a more equal and balanced society and to foster individual accomplishment. The information society has the potential to improve the qua-lity of life of Europe’s citizens, the efficiency of our social and economic organisation and to reinforce cohesion.

The information society has the potential to improve the quality of life of Europe’s citizens, the efficiency of our social and economic organisation and to reinforce cohesion.

The information revolution prompts profound changes in the way we view our societies and also in their organisation and structure. This presents us with a major challenge: either we grasp the opportunities before us and master the risks, or we bow to them, together with all the uncertainties this may entail.

The main risk lies in the creation of a two-tier society of have and have-nots, in which only a part of the population has access to the new technology, is comfortable using it and can fully enjoy its benefits. There is a danger that individuals will reject the new information culture and its instruments.

Such a risk is inherent in the process of structural change. We must confront it by convincing people that the new technologies hold out the prospect of a major step forward towards a European society less subject to such constraints as rigidity, inertia and compartmentalisation. By pooling resources that have traditionally been separate, and indeed distant, the information infrastructure unleashes unlimited potential for acquiring knowledge, innovation and creativity.

Mastering risks, maximising benefits

Thus, we have to find ways to master the risks and maximise the benefits. This places responsibilities on public authorities to establish safeguards and to ensure the cohesion of the new society. Fair access to the infrastructure will have to be guaranteed to all, as will provision of universal service, the definition of which must evolve in line with the technology.

A great deal of effort must be put into securing widespread public acceptance and actual use of the new technology. Preparing Europeans for the advent of the information society is a priority task.
Education, training and promotion will necessarily play a central role. The White Paper’s goal of giving European citizens the right to life-long education and training here finds its full justification. In order best to raise awareness, regional and local initiatives - whether public or private - should be encouraged.

Preparing Europeans for the advent of the information society is a priority task. Education, training and promotion will necessarily play a central role.

The arrival of the information society comes in tandem with changes in labour legislation and the rise of new professions and skills. Continuous dialogue between the social partners will be extremely important if we are to anticipate and to manage the imminent transformation of the work place. This concerted effort should reflect new relationships at the work place induced by the changing environment.

More detailed consideration of these issues exceeds the scope of this Report. The Group wishes to stress that Europe is bound to change, and that it is in our interest to seize this opportunity. The information infrastructure can prove an extraordinary instrument for serving the people of Europe and improving our society by fully reflecting the original and often unique values which underpin and give meaning to our lives.

At the end of the day, the added value brought by the new tools, and the overall success of the information society, will depend on the input made by our people, both individually and in working together. We are convinced that Europeans will meet this challenge.

Time to press on

Why the urgency? Because competitive suppliers of networks and services from outside Europe are increasingly active in our markets. They are convinced, as we must be, that if Europe arrives late our suppliers of technologies and services will lack the commercial muscle to win a share of the enormous global opportunities which lie ahead. Our companies will migrate to more attractive locations to do business. Our export markets will evaporate. We have to prove them wrong.

Tide waits for no man, and this is a revolutionary tide, sweeping through economic and social life. We must press on. At least we do not have the usual European worry about catching up. In some areas we are well placed, in others we do need to do more - but this is also true for the rest of the world’s trading nations.

The importance of the sector was evident by its prominence during the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations. This importance is destined to increase.

We should not be sceptical of our possibilities for success. We have major technological, entrepreneurial and creative capabilities. However, the diffusion of information is still too restricted and too expensive. This can be tackled quickly through regulatory reforms.

Public awareness of the technologies has hitherto been too limited. This must change. Political attention is too intermittent. The private sector expects a new signal.

Political attention is too intermittent. The private sector expects a new signal.

An Action Plan

This Report outlines our vision of the information society and the benefits it will deliver to our citizens and to economic operators. It points to areas in which action is needed now so we can start out on the market-led passage to the new age, as well as to the agents which can drive us there.

As requested in the Council’s mandate, we advocate an Action Plan based on specific initiatives involving partnerships linking public and private sectors. Their objective is to stimulate markets so that they can rapidly attain critical mass.

In this sector, private investment will be the driving force. Monopolistic, anticompetitive environments are the real roadblocks to such involvement. The situation here is completely different from that of other infrastructural investments where public funds are still crucial, such as transport.

This sector is in rapid evolution. The market will drive, it will decide winners and losers. Given the power and pervasiveness of the technology, this market is global.

The market will drive ... the prime task of government is to safeguard competitive forces....

The prime task of government is to safeguard competitive forces and ensure a strong and lasting political welcome for the information society, so that demand-pull can finance growth, here as elsewhere.

By sharing our vision, and appreciating its urgency, Europe’s decision-makers can make the prospects for our renewed economic and social development infinitely brighter.

New markets in Europe’s information society

Information has a multiplier effect which will energise every economic sector. With market driven tariffs, there will be a vast array of novel information services and applications:

•   from high cost services, whose premium prices are justified by the value of benefits delivered, to budget price products designed for mass consumption;

•   from services to the business community, which can be tailored to the needs of a specific customer, to standardised packages which will sell in high volumes at low prices;

•   from services and applications which employ existing infrastructure, peripherals and equipment (telephone and cable TV networks, broadcasting systems, personal computers, CD players and ordinary TV sets) to those which will be carried via new technologies, such as integrated broadband, as these are installed.

Markets for business

Large and small companies and professional users are already leading the way in exploiting the new technologies to raise the efficiency of their management and production systems. And more radical changes to business organisation and methods are on the way.

Business awareness of these trends and opportunities is still lower in Europe compared to the US. Companies are not yet fully exploiting the potential for internal reorganisation and for adapting relationships with suppliers, contractors and customers. We have a lot of pent up demand to fill.

Business awareness of these trends and opportunities is still lower in Europe compared to the US.

In the business markets, teleconferencing is one good example of a business application worth promoting, while much effort is also being dedicated worldwide to the perfection of telecommerce and electronic document interchange (EDI).

Both offer such cost and time advantages over traditional methods that, once applied, electronic procedures rapidly become the preferred way of doing business. According to some estimates, handling an electronic requisition is one tenth the cost of handling its paper equivalent, while an electronic mail (e-mail) message is faster, more reliable and can save 95% of the cost of a fax.

Electronic payments systems are already ushering in the cashless society in some parts of Europe. We have a sizeable lead over the rest of the world in smart card technology and applications. This is an area of global market potential.

Markets for small and medium sized enterprises

Though Europe’s 12 million SMEs are rightly regarded as the backbone of the European economy, they do need to manage both information and managerial resources better.

They need to be linked to easy access, cost-effective networks providing information on production and market openings. The competitiveness of the whole industrial fabric would be sharpened if their relationships with large companies were based on the new technologies.

Networked relationships with universities, research institutes and laboratories would boost their prospects even more by helping to remedy chronic R&D deficiencies. Networking will also diminish the isolation of SMEs in Europe’s less advantaged regions, helping them to upgrade their products and find wider markets.

Markets for consumers

These are expected to be richly populated with services, from home banking and teleshopping to a near-limitless choice of entertainment on demand.

In Europe, like the United States, mass consumer markets may emerge as one of the principal driving forces for the information society. American experience already shows that the development markets encounters a number of obstacles and uncertainties.

Given the initial high cost of new pay-per-view entertainment services, and of the related equipment, as well as the high cost of bringing fibre optics to the home, a large mass consumer market will develop more easily if entertainment services are part of a broader package. This could also include information data, cultural programming, sporting events, as well as telemarketing and teleshopping. Pay-per-view for on-line services, as well as advertising, will both be necessary as a source of revenue. To some extent, existing satellite and telephone infrastructure can help to serve the consumer market in the initial phase.

At the moment, this market is still only embryonic in Europe and is likely to take longer to grow

than in the United States. There, more than 60% of households are tapped by cable TV systems which could also carry text and data services. In Europe, only 25% are similarly equipped, and this figure masks great differences between countries, e.g. Belgium (92%) and Greece (1-2%).

Another statistic: in the United States there are 34 PCs per hundred citizens. The European figure overall is 10 per hundred, though the UK, for instance, at 22 per hundred, is closer to the US level of computer penetration.

Lack of available information services and poor computer awareness could therefore prove handicaps in Europe. Telecommunication networks are, however, comparable in size and cover, but lag behind in terms of utilisation. These networks, therefore, can act as the basic port of access for the initial services, but stimulation of user applications is still going to be necessary.

Such structural weaknesses need not halt progress. Europe’s technological success with CD-ROM and CD-I could be the basis for a raft of non-networked applications and services during the early formative years of the information society. These services on disk have considerable export potential if Europe’s audio-visual industry succeeds in countering current US dominance in titles.

In terms of the market, France’s Minitel network already offers an encouraging example that European consumers are prepared to buy information and transaction services on screen, if the access price is right. It reaches nearly 30 million private and business subscribers through six million small terminals and carries about 15,000 different services. Minitel has created many new jobs, directly and indirectly, through boosting business efficiency and competitiveness.

In the UK, the success of the Community-sponsored Homestead programme, using CD-I, is indicative, as is the highly successful launch of (an American) dedicated cable teleshopping channel.

Meanwhile in the US, where the consumer market is more advanced, video-on-demand and home shopping could emerge as the most popular services.

Audio-visual markets

Our biggest structural problem is the financial and organisational weakness of the European programme industry. Despite the enormous richness of the European heritage, and the potential of our creators, most of the programmes and most of the stocks of acquired rights are not in European hands. A fast growing European home market can provide European industry with an opportunity to develop a home base and to exploit increased possibilities for exports.

Linguistic fragmentation of the market has long been seen as a disadvantage for Europe’s entertainment and audio-visual industry, especially with English having an overwhelming dominance in the global market - a reflection of the US lead in production and, importantly, in distribution. This lead, which starts with cinema and continues withtelevision, is likely to be extended to the new audio-visual areas. However, once products can be easily accessible to consumers, there will be more opportunities for expression of the multiplicity of cultures and languages in which Europe abounds.

...once products can be easily accessible to consumers, there will be more opportunities for expression of the multiplicity of cultures and languages in which Europe abounds.

Europe’s audio-visual industry is also burdened with regulations. Some of these will soon be rendered obsolete by the development of new technologies, hampering the development of a dynamic European market.

As a first step to stimulating debate on the new challenges, the Commission has produced a Green Paper on the audio-visual industry.

Chapter 2
A market-driven revolution

A break with the past

The Group is convinced that technological progress and the evolution of the market mean that Europe must make a break from policies based on principles which belong to a time before the advent of the information revolution.

The key issue for the emergence of new markets is the need for a new regulatory environment allowing full competition. This will be a prerequisite for mobilising the private capital necessary for innovation, growth and development.

In order to function properly, the new market requires that all actors are equipped to participate successfully, or at least that they do not start with significant handicaps. All should be able to operate according to clearrules, within a single, fair and competitive framework.

The Group recommends Member States to accelerate the ongoing process of liberalisation of the telecom sector by:

•   opening up to competition infrastructures and services still in the monopoly area

•   removing non-commercial political burdens and budgetary constraints imposed on telecommunications operators

•   setting clear timetables and dead lines for the implementation of practical measures to achieve these goals

Ending monopoly

This is as true for the telecommunications operators (TOs) as for others. It is now generally recognised as both necessary and desirable that the political burdens on them should be removed, their tariffs adjusted and a proper regulatory framework created. Even the operations of those TOs whose status has already evolved over recent years are not fully in line.

It is possible to end monopoly. In future, all licensed public operators should assume their share of public service responsibilities (e.g. universal service obligation and the provision of equal access to networks and services).

A competitive environment requires the following:

•   TOs relieved of political constraints, such as:

•   subsidising public functions;
•   external R&D activities;

•   contributions to land planning and management objectives;

•   the burden to carry alone the responsibility of universal service;

•   a proper regulatory framework designed to achieve:

•   market regulation to enable and to protect competition;

•   a predictable environment to make possible strategic planning and investment;

•   adjustment of tariffs.

Enabling the market

The Group recommends the establishment at the European level of an authority whose terms of reference will require a prompt attention.

In order for the market to operate successfully, the Group has identified the following objectives and recommendations:

Evolution in the regulatory domain

Identify and establish the minimum of regulation needed, at the European level, to ensure the rapid emergence of efficient European information infrastructures and services. The terms of reference of the authority which will be responsible for the enforcement of this regulation is a question that will require a prompt attention.

The urgency of the matter is in direct relation to the prevailing market conditions. A clear requirement exists for the new “rules of the game” to be outlined as soon as possible. The market place will then be in a position to anticipate the forthcoming framework, and the opportunity will exist for those wishing to move rapidly to benefit from these efforts.

The authority will need to address:

•   the regulation of those operations which, because of their Community-wide nature, need to be addressed at the European level, such as licensing, network interconnection when and where necessary, management of shared scarce resources (e.g. radio-frequency allocation, subscriber numbering and advice to Member States regulatory authorities on general issues.

•   a single regulatory framework valid for all operators, which would imply lifting unequal conditions for market access. It would also ensure that conditions for network access and service use be guided by the principles of transparency and non-discrimination, complemented by practical rules for dispute resolution and speedy remedy against abuse dominance.

Interconnection and interoperability

Two features are essential to the deployment of the information infrastructure needed by the information society: one is a seamless interconnection of networks and the other that the services and applications which build on them should be able to work together (interoperability).

In the past the political will to interconnect national telephone networks resulted in hundreds of millions of subscriber connections world-wide. Similar political determination and corresponding effort are required to set up the considerably more complex information infrastructures.

Interconnection of networks and interoperability of services and applications are recommended as primary Union objectives.

The challenge is to provide interconnections for a variety of networking conditions (e.g. fixed and new type of networks, such as mobile and satellite) and basic services (e.g. Integrated Service Digital Network - ISDN). Currently, the positions of monopoly operators are being eroded in these fast-developing areas.

Joint commercial decisions must be taken by the TOs without delay to ensure rapid extension of European basic services beyond telephony. This would improve their competitive position vis-à-vis non-European players in their own markets.

The European information society is emerging from many different angles. European infrastructure is evolving into an ever tighter web of networks, generic services, applications and equipment, the development, distribution and maintenance of which occupy a multitude of sources worldwide.

In an efficient and expanding information infrastructure, such components should work together.

Assembling the various pieces of this complex system to meet the challenge of interoperability would be impossible without clear conventions. Standards are such conventions.

Open systems standards will play an essential role in building a European information infrastructure.

Standards institutes have an honourable record in producing European standards, but the standardisation process as it stands today raises a number of concerns about fitness for purpose, lack of interoperability, and priority setting that is not sufficiently market driven.

Action is required at three different levels:

•   at the level of operators, public procurement and investors:

following the successful example of GSM digital mobile telephony, market players (industry, TOs, users) could establish Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) to set the specifications requirements for specific application objectives. These requirements would then provide input to the competent standardisation body. This type of mechanism would adequately respond to market needs.

Operators, public procurement and investors should adopt unified open standard-based solutions for the provision and the procurement of information services in order to achieve global interoperability.

•   at the level of the European standards bodies:

These should be encouraged to establish priorities based on market requirements and to identify publicly available specifications, originated by the market, which are suitable for rapid transformation into standards (e.g. through fast track procedures).

•   at the level of the Union:

European standardisation policy should be reviewed in the light of the above. When the market is not providing acceptable technical solutions to achieve one of the European Union’s objectives, a mechanism should be sought to select or generate suitable technologies.

World-wide interoperability should be promoted and secured.

The Group recommends a review of the European standardisation process in order to increase its speed and responsiveness to markets.

Urgent action to adjust tariffs

Reduction in international, long distance and leased line tariffs will trigger expansion in the usage of infrastructures, generating additional revenues, and simultaneously giving a major boost to generic services and innovative applications

Reduction in international, long distance and leased line tariffs will trigger expansion in the usage of infrastructures, generating additional revenues, and simultaneously giving a major boost to generic services and innovative applications

In most cases, the current unsatisfactory tariff situation results from the TOs’ monopoly status and a variety of associated political constraints.

The introduction of competitive provision of services and infrastructures implies that TOs would be able to adjust their tariffs in line with market conditions. Rebalancing of international and long-distance versus local tariffs is a critical step in this process.

The Group recommends as a matter of urgency the adjustment of international, long distance and leased line tariffs to bring these down into line with rates practised in other advanced industrialised regions. Adjustment of tariffs should be accompanied by the fair sharing of public service obligations among operators.

Two elements should accompany the process:

•   TOs freed from politically imposed budgetary constraints;

•   a fair and equitable sharing of the burden of providing universal services between all licensed operators.

Fostering critical mass

Market segments based on the new information infrastructures cannot provide an adequate return on investment without a certain level of demand. In most cases, competition alone will not provide such a mass, or it will provide it too slowly.

A number of measures should be taken in order to reach this goal:

•   co-operation should be encouraged among competitors so as to create the required size and momentum in particular market areas. The already mentioned GSM MoU is an archetypal example of how positive this approach can be.

•   agreement between public administrations to achieve common requirements and specifications, and a commitment to use these in procurement at national and European levels.

•   extensive promotion and use of existing and forthcoming European networks and services.

•   awareness campaigns, notably directed at public administrations, SMEs and educational institutions.

It is recommended to promote public awareness. Particular attention should be paid to the small and medium sized business sector, public administrations and the younger generation.

In addition, everyone involved in building up the information society must be in a position to adapt strategies and forge alliances to enable them to contribute to, and benefit from, overall growth in the field.

Secure the world-wide dimension

The Group recommends that the openness of the European market should find its counterpart in markets and networks of other regions of the world. It is of paramount importance for Europe that adequate steps are taken to guarantee equal access.

Since information infrastructures are borderless in an open market environment, the information society has an essentially global dimension.

The actions advocated in this Report will lead to a truly open environment, where access is provided to all players. This openness should find its counterpart in markets and networks of other regions of the world. It is obviously of paramount importance for Europe that adequate steps are taken to guarantee equal access

Towards a positive outcome

The responses outlined above to the challenges posed by the deployment of the information society will be positive for all involved in its creation and use.

Telecommunications, cable and satellite operators will be in a position to take full advantage of market opportunities as they see fit, and to expand their market share.

The service provider and content industries will be able to offer innovative products at attractive prices.

Citizens and users will benefit from a broader range of competing services.

Telecommunication equipment and software suppliers will see an expanding market.

Those countries that have already opted for faster liberalisation, are experiencing rapidly expanding domestic markets that provide new opportunities for TOs, service providers and industry. For the others, the price to pay for a slower pace of liberalisation will be a stiffer challenge from more dynamic foreign competitors and a smaller domestic market. Time is running out. If action is not accelerated, many benefits will arrive late, or never.

It is an essential recommendation of the Group that governments support accelerated liberalisation by drawing up clear timetables and deadlines with practical measures to obtain this goal.

In this context, the 1993 Council Resolution remains a useful point of reference. Even before the specified dates, governments should take best advantage of its built inflexibility to seize the opportunities offered by a burgeoning competitive market. They should speed up the opening to competition of infrastructures and of those services that are still in the monopoly area, as well as remove political burdens imposed on their national TOs.

In this context, the 1993 Council Resolution remains a useful point of reference. Even before the specified dates, governments should take best advantage of its built-in flexibility to seize the opportunities offered by a burgeoning competitive market. They should speed up the opening to competition of infrastructures and of those services that are still in the monopoly area, as well as remove political burdens imposed on their national TOs.

Chapter 3
Completing the agenda

Several policy issues have to be faced in parallel with actions needed to create an open, competitive and market-driven information society. Disparate national regulatory reactions carry a very real threat of fragmentation to the internal market.

Here there are two different sets of issues and problems: one relating to the business community, the other more to individuals and the information society, with specific reference to privacy.

As we move into the information society, a regulatory response in key areas like intellectual property, privacy and media ownership is required at the European level in order to maximise the benefits of the single market for all players. Only the scale of the internal market is sufficient to justify and attract the required financing of high performance trans-European information networks.

Therefore, applying single market principle of freedom of movement of all goods and services, to the benefit of Europeans everywhere, must be our key objective.

The information society is global. The Group thus recommends that Union action should aim to establish a common and agreed regulatory framework for the protection of intellectual property rights, privacy and security of information, in Europe and, where appropriate internationally.

Protection of intellectual property rights (IPR)

While there is a great deal of information that is in the public domain, there is also information containing added value which is proprietary and needs protection via the enforcement of intellectual property rights. IPRs are an important factor in developing a competitive European industry, both in the area of information technology and more generally across a wide variety of industrial and cultural sectors.

Creativity and innovation are two of the Union’s most important assets. Their protection must continue to be a high priority, on the basis of balanced solutions which do not impede the operation of market forces.

The global nature of the services that will be provided through the information networks means that the Union will have to be party to international action to protect intellectual property. Otherwise, serious difficulties will arise if regulatory systems in different areas of the world are operating on incompatible principles which permit circumvention or create jurisdictional uncertainties.

The Group believes that intellectual property protection must rise to the new challenges of globalisation and multimedia and must continue to have a high priority at both European and international levels.

In this global information market place, common rules must be agreed and enforced by everyone. Europe has a vested interest in ensuring that protection of IPRs receives full attention and that a high level of protection is maintained. Moreover, as the technology advances, regular world-wide consultation with all interested parties, both the suppliers and the user communities, will be required.

Initiatives already under way within Europe, such as the proposed Directive on the legal protection of electronic databases, should be completed as a matter of priority.

Meanwhile, in order to stimulate the development of new multimedia products and services, existing legal regimes - both national and Union - will have to be re-examined to see whether they are appropriate to the new information society. Where necessary, adjustments will have to be made.

In particular, the ease with which digitised information can be transmitted, manipulated and adapted requires solutions protecting the content providers. But, at the same time, flexibility and efficiency in obtaining authorisation for the exploitation ofworks will be a prerequisite for a dynamic European multimedia industry.


The demand for the protection of privacy will rightly increase as the potential of the new technologies to secure (even across national frontiers) and to manipulate detailed information on individuals from data, voice and image sources is realised. Without the legal security of a Union-wide approach, lack of consumer confidence will certainly undermine rapid development of the information society.

Europe leads the world in the protection of the fundamental rights of the individual with regard to personal data processing. The application ofnew technologies potentially affects highly sensitive areas such as those dealing with the images of individuals, their communication, their movements and their behaviour. With this in mind, it is quite possible that most Member States will react to these developments by adopting protection, including trans-frontier control of new technologies and services.

Disparities in the level of protection of such privacy rules create the risk that national authorities might restrict free circulation of a wide range of new services between Member States in order to protect personal data.

The Group believes that without the legal security of a Union-wide approach, lack of consumer confidence will certainly undermine the rapid development of the information society. Given the importance andsensitivity of the privacy issue, a fast decision from Member States is required on the Commission’s proposed

Directive setting out general principles of data protection.

Electronic protection (encryption), legal protection and security

Encryption is going to become increasingly important in assuring the development of the pay services. Encryption will ensure that only those who pay will receive the service. It will also provide protection against personal data falling into the public domain.

International harmonisation would assist the market if it were to lead to a standard system of scrambling. Conditional access should ensure fair and open competition in the interests of consumers and service providers.

Encryption is particularly important for telecommerce, which requires absolute guarantees in areas such as the integrity of signatures and text, irrevocable time and date stamping and international legal recognition.

However, the increased use of encryption and the development of a single encryption system will increase the returns from hacking into the system to avoid payment or privacy restrictions. Without a legal framework that would secure service providers against piracy of their encryption system, there is the risk that they will not get involved in the development of these new services.

The Group recommends acceleration of work at European level on electronic and legal protection as well as security. On the other hand, governments may need powers to override encryption for the purposes of fighting against crime and protecting national security.

An answer given at a national level to this and to the hacking issue will inevitably prove to be insufficient because communications reach beyond national frontiers and because the principles of the internal market prohibit measures such as import bans on decoding equipment.

Therefore, a solution at the European level is needed which provides a global answer to the problem of protection of encrypted signals and security. Based on the principles of the internal market it would create parity of conditions for the protection ofencrypted services as well as the legal framework for the development of these new services.

Media ownership

In addition to ownership controls to prevent monopoly abuse, most countries have rules on media and cross media ownership to preserve pluralism and freedom of expression.

In practice, these rules are a patchwork of inconsistency which tend to distort and fragment the market. They impede companies from taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the internal market, especially in multimedia, and could put them in jeopardy vis-à-vis non-European competitors.

In current circumstances, there is a risk of each Member State adopting purely national legislation in response to the new problems and challenges posed by the information society. Urgent attention has to be given to the question of how we can avoid such an undermining of the internal market and ensure effective rules which protect pluralism and competition.

Rules at the European level are going to be crucial, given the universality of the information society and its inherently transborder nature. The Union will have to lead the way in heading off deeper regulatory disparity. In so doing it will reinforce the legal security that is vital for the global competitiveness of Europe’s media industry.

The Group believes that urgent attention should be given to the question of how we can avoid divergent national legislation on media ownership undermining the internal market. Effective rules must emerge to protect pluralism and competition.

The role of competition policy

Competition policy is a key element in Union strategy. It is especially important for consolidating the single market and for attracting the private capital necessary for the growth of the trans-European information infrastructure.

Areas of the information society are beset by intense globalising pressures. These affect both European and non-European companies operating inside the Union. If appropriate, the notion of a global, rather than a Union-wide, market should now be used inassessing European competition issues such as market power, joint ventures and alliances.

Competition Policy is a key element in Europe’s strategy. The Group recommends that the application of competition rules should reflect the reality of the newly emerging global markets and the speed of change in the environment.

The aim should not be to freeze any set of regulations, but rather to establish procedures and policies through which the exploding dynamism of the sector can be translated into greater opportunities for wealth and job creation.

Like other commercial players, companies involved in the supply of technologies and services must be in a position to adapt their strategies and to forge alliances to enable them to contribute to, and to benefit from, overall growth in the sector in the framework of competition policy.


The technological base in Europe today is sufficient to launch the applications proposed in this reports without delay. They must focus on realistic systems on a sufficient scale to explore the value of the services offered to the user, and to evaluate the economic feasibility of the new information systems.

However, new technologies do still have to be developed for their full-scale introduction following these demonstrations. In particular, the usability and cost-effectiveness of the systems must be improved, and the consequences of mass use further investigated.

The research programmes of the Union and of Member States, in particular the Fourth Framework Programme, should be implemented in such a way as to take into account market requirements.  Technical targets and the timing of projects must be defined with appropriate user involvement.

Chapter 4
The building blocks of the information society

Communications systems combined with advanced information technologies are keys to the information society. The constraints of time and distance have been removed by networks (e.g.  telephone, satellites, cables) which carry the information, basic services (e.g. electronic mail, interactive video) which allow people to use the networks and applications (e.g. distance learning, teleworking) which offer dedicated solutions for user groups.

The opportunity for the Union - strengthening its existing networks and accelerating the creationof new ones

ISDN: a first step

The traditional telephone network is changing its character. Having been built as a universal carrier for voice, it now has to meet the communication requirements of a modern economy going far beyond simple telephone calls.

One important development is the Integrated Service Digital Network ISDN. This offers the opportunity to send not only voice, but also data and even moving images through telephone lines.

ISDN is particularly suited for the communications needs of small and medium sized enterprises. It permits, for example, direct PC to PC communication, for instant, low-cost transmission of documents. Teleworking using ISDN services can be attractive to a wide range of businesses. ISDN is also an ideal support for distance learning.

EURO-ISDN, based on common standards, started at the end of 1993.
A number of European countries have a leading position which should be exploited.

The Group recommends priority extension of the availability of EURO-ISDN, in line with current Commission proposals, and reductions in tariffs to foster the market.

Broadband: the path to multimedia

ISDN is only the first step. New multimedia services, for instance high quality video communications, require even more performance. ISDN is showing the way, and the next technological wave aims for themultimedia-world. This is integrated broadband communications, providing an opportunity to combine all media in a flexible way. The lead technology to implement this is called Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM).

European industry and telecoms operators are at the forefront of these technological developments and should reap the benefits.

Europe needs to develop an ATM broadband infrastructure as the backbone of the information society. Multimedia services offered through these networks will support the work and leisure activities of all our citizens.

In many European countries, highly developed broadband distribution already exists in the form of cable and satellite networks, or it is being deployed. Application of currently available sophisticated digital techniques, such as picture compression and digital signal transmission, will easily enable these networks to fulfill mainstream demands for interactive individual information and leisure uses.

The present situation is mainly characterised by national and regional initiatives. The first trials of transnational networks have taken place only recently.

The Group recommends that the Council supports the implementation of the European broadband infrastructure and secure its interconnectivity with the whole of European telecom, cable television and satellite networks.

A European Broadband Steering Committee involving all relevant actors should be set up in order to develop a common vision and to monitor and facilitate the realisation of the overall concept through, in particular, demonstrations and, choice and definition of standards.

Mobile communication: a growing field

Mobile communication is growing at breathtaking speed. The number of mobile telephone subscribers has doubled over the past three years to 8 million. At current growth rates of 30-40%, the Union will soon have 40 million users.

Europe is becoming an important leader in mobile communications through adoption around the world of its standards for digital communications. In particular, GSM is an excellent demonstration of how a common Europe-wide public/private initiative can be successfully transformed into a market driven, job creating operation.

In Germany, the country where GSM is currently having most success, about 30,000 new jobs have been created. On similar assumptions, Europe-wide introduction on the same scale would generate more than 100,000 new jobs.

Satellites: widening the scope of communications

Satellites are mainly used for television broadcasting, Earth observation and telecommunications.  The crucial advantage of satellites is their wide geographical coverage without the need for expensive terrestrial networks. Satellites have many advantages for providing rural and remote areas with advanced communications.

Full exploitation of satellites can only be achieved by a new phase in the Union’s satellite policy. The objective should be to develop trans-European networks.

With regard to mobile and satellite communications, the Group recommends:

•   a reduction in tariffs for mobile communications;

•   promotion of GSM, in Europe and internationally;

•   the establishment of a regulatory ramework for satellite communications;

•   urging the European satellite industry to develop common priority projects and to participate actively in the development of worldwide systems.

New basic services are needed

New basic services such as e-mail, file transfer and interactive multimedia are needed. The necessary technology is available. New networks are developing, such as ISDN, eliminating the present limitations of the telephone network.

Two basic elements are needed for such services: unambiguous standards and critical mass. The attraction of a telecommunications service depends directly on the number of other compatible users. Thus, a new service cannot really take off until a certain number of customers has subscribed to the service. Once this critical mass has been achieved, growth rates can increase dramatically, as in the case of INTERNET.

INTERNET is based on a world-wide network of networks that is not centrally planned. In fact, nobody owns INTERNET. There are now some 20 million users in more than 100 countries. The network offers electronic mail, discussion fora, information exchange and much more. INTERNET is so big, and growing so fast, that it cannot be ignored. Nevertheless, it has flaws, notably serious security problems. Rather than remaining merely clients, we in Europe should consider following the evolution of INTERNET closely, playing a more active role in the development of interlinkages.

The Group recommends urgent and coherent action at both European and Member State levels to promote the provision and widespread use of standard, trans-European basic services, including electronic mail, file transfer and video services.

The Commission is recommended to initiate the creation of a “European Basic Services Forum” to accelerate the availability of unified standards for basic services.

Significant advantages for the whole economy could be realised quite quickly through extension of Europe-wide compatible basic services.

Blazing the trail - ten applications to launch the information society Today technology is in search of applications. At the same time, societies are searching for solutions to problems based on intelligent information.

Tariff reductions will facilitate the creation of new applications and so overcome the present low rate of capacity utilisation. Voice lines operate, for instance, an average of 20 minutes in 24 hours, while some value-added network services are only working at 20% of capacity.

However, confident as we are of the necessity to liberate market forces, heightened competition will not by itself produce -or produce too slowly- the critical mass which has the power to drive investment in new networks and services.

We can only create a virtuous circle of supply and demand if a significant number of market testing applications based on information networks and services can be launched across Europe to create critical mass.

We can only create a virtuous circle of supply and demand if a significant number of market testing applications based on information networks and services can be launched across Europe to create critical mass.

Demonstration Function

Initiatives taking the form of experimental applications are the most effective means of addressing the slow take-off of demand and supply. They have a demonstration function which would help to promote theirwider use; they provide an early test bed for suppliers to fine-tune applications to customer requirements, and they can stimulate advanced users, still relatively few in number in Europe as compared to the US.

It is necessary to involve local, metropolitan and regional administrations in their development.  Cities can have an extremely important role in generating early demand and also in promoting an awareness among their citizens of the advantages of the newservices. In certain cases, local administrations could demonstrate the benefits by assuming the role of the first mass user.

To be truly effective, such applications need to be launched in real commercial environments, preferably on a large scale. These initiatives are not pilot projects in the traditional sense. The first objective is to test the value to the user, and the economic feasibility of the information systems.

As the examples in the following pages demonstrate, it is possible to identify initiatives which will rapidly develop new applications and markets, while also impacting positively on the creation of new jobs and businesses.

The private sector is ready to embark on the initiatives needed.

Priority applications can be divided in two main blocks, according to final users:

•   the personal home market (interactiv and transaction applications related to teleshopping, telebanking, entertainment, leisure)

•   business and social applications.
Priority applications should also contribute to a number of macro-economic objectives:

•   strengthening industrial competitive ness and promoting the creation of new jobs

•   promoting new forms of work organisation

•   improving quality of life and quality of the environment

•   responding to social needs and raising the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of public services.

Application One
More jobs, new jobs, for a mobile society

What should be done? Promote teleworking in homes and satellite offices so that commuters no longer need to travel long distances to work. From there, they can connect electronically to whatever professional environment they need, irrespective of the system in use.

Who will do it? If the telecom operators make available the required networks at competitive prices, the private sector will set up new service companies to supply teleworking support.

Who gains? Companies (both large and SMEs) and public administrations will benefit from productivity gains, increased flexibility, cost savings. For the general public, pollution levels, traffic congestion and energy consumption will be reduced. For employees, more flexible working arrangements will be particularly beneficial for all those tied to the home, and for people in remote locations the narrowing of distances will help cohesion.

Issues to watch? Problems arising from decreased opportunities for social contact and promotion will have to be addressed. Impact on labour legislation and social security provision will need to be assessed.
What target? Create pilot teleworking centres in 20 cities by end 1995 involving at least 20,000 workers. The aim is for 2% of white collar workers to be teleworkers by 1996; 10 million teleworking jobs by the year 2000.

Application Two

Life long learning for a changing society

What should be done? Promote distance learning centres providing courseware, training and tuition services tailored for SMEs, large companies and public administrations. Extend advanced distance learning techniques into schools and colleges.

Who will do it? Given the required network tariffs at competitive prices, industry will set up new service provider companies to supply distance learning services for vocational training. European Commission should support quality standards for programmes and courses and help create a favourable environment. Private sector providers and public authorities will enter the distance education market, offering networked and CD-I and CD-ROM interactive disk based programming and content at affordable prices.

Who gains? Industry (specially SMEs) and public administrations, by cost reductions and optimisation of the use of scarce training and education resources. Employees needing to upgrade their skills by taking advantage of lifelong learning programmes. People tied to the home and in remote locations. Students accessing higher quality teaching.

Issues to Watch? Need to engage in a major effort to train the trainers and expand computer literacy among the teaching profession.

What target? Pilot projects in at least 5 countries by 1995. Distance learning in use by 10% of SMEs and public administrations by 1996. Awareness campaigns among the professional associations and education authorities.

Application Three

Networking Europe’s brain power


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Application Five

Electronic roads for better quality of life

What should be done? Establish telematic solutions on a European scale for advanced road traffic management systems and other transport services (driver information, route guidance, fleet management, road pricing, etc.).

Who will do it? European, national and regional administrations, user groups and traffic operators will create a Steering Committee and define a common open system architecture for advanced telematic services with common user interfaces.

Who gains? Drivers, local communities (especially in heavily congested areas) and industry will benefit from reduction in traffic, increased road safety, lower environmental costs, energy and time saving.

What target? Implementation of telematic systems for road traffic management in 10 metropolitan areas and 2,000 km of motorway by 1996. 30 metropolitan areas and the trans-European motorway network by the year 2000.

Application Six

An electronic airway for Europe

What should be done? Create a European Air Traffic Communication System providing ground-ground connections between all European Air Traffic control centres (ATC) and air-ground connections between aeroplanes, ATC-centres across the European Union and the European Civil Aviation Conference, with the aim of achieving a unified trans-European air traffic control system.

Who will do it? The European Council should promote energetically the creation of a reduced number of networked European Air Traffic centres, as defined by EUROCONTROL.

Who gains? The European air transport industry - and its millions of passengers - will benefit from better air traffic management and significantly reduced energy consumption. A safer system, with less congestion and subsequent reductions in time wasted, noise and fume pollution.

Issues to watch? There is a need to co-ordinate closely with the defence sector.

What target? Set up a Steering Committee with representatives of public authorities, civil and military aviation authorities, the air transport industry and unions byend 1994. Definition of standards for communication procedures and the exchange of data and voice messages between ATC-centres as well as between ATC-centres and aeroplanes.

A functioning trans-European system before the year 2000.

Application Seven

Less costly and more effective healthcare systems for Europe’s citizens

What should be done? Create a direct communication “network of networks” based on common standards linking general practitioners, hospitals and social centres on a European scale.

Who will do it? The private sector, insurance companies, medical associations and Member State healthcare systems, with the European Union promoting standards and portable applications.  Once telecom operators make available the required networks at reduced rates, the private sector will create competitively priced services at a European level, boosting the productivity and cost-effectiveness of the whole healthcare sector.

Who gains? Citizens as patients will benefit from a substantial improvement in healthcare (improvement in diagnosis through on-line access to European specialists, on-line reservation of analysis and hospital services by practitioners extended on European scale, transplant matching, etc.). Tax payers and public administrations will benefit from tighter cost control and cost savings in healthcare spending and a speeding up of reimbursement procedures.

Issues to watch? Privacy and the confidentiality of medical records will need to be safeguarded.

What target? Major private sector health care providers linked on a European scale. First level implementation of networks in Member States linking general practitioners, specialists and hospitals at a regional and national level by end 1995.

Application Eight

More effective administration at lower cost

What should be done? Introduction of electronic procedures for public procurement between public administrations and suppliers in Europe followed by the creation of a European Electronic Tendering Network. This programme will function as a strong enabling mechanism for attaining critical mass in the telematic services market in Europe.

Who will do it? European Council and Member States decide to agree on common standards and to introduce a mandatory commitment to electronic handling of information, bidding and payments related to public procurement. Telecom operators and service providers will enableusers to access to the European Electronic Tendering Network.

Who gains? PublicAdministrations will benefit from cost savings in replacing paper handling with electronic handling and from the more competitive environment between suppliers drawn from the wider internal market. Small and medium sized enterprises will benefit from participating in trans-European public procurement and from the diffusion of telematic services.

Issues to watch? Data security, the need to ensure open access particularly for SMEs, to avoid electronic procurement developing into a hidden form of protectionism. Take proper account of similar programmes developed in third countries, particularly the US (CALS).

What target? A critical mass of 10% of awarding authorities using electronic procedures for their procurement needs could be attained in the next two to three years.

Application Nine

Better government, cheaper government

What should be done? Interconnected networks between Public Administrations networks in Europe, aiming at providing an effective and less expensive (replacement of paper by electronic means) information interchange. Subsequently extended to link public administrations and European citizens.

Who will do it? European Union and Member States should strengthen and speed up the implementation of the programme for Interchange of Data between Administrations (IDA). The private sector will increase its co-operation with the European Union and Member States in defining technical solutions for the provision of interoperable services and interconnectable networks, while supporting national and local authorities in the testing and implementation of networks and services for citizens.

Who gains? The unification process for the single market, with general benefits in lower costs and better relations between public administrations and European citizens.

What target? Implementation of interconnected networks allowing interchange in the tax, customs and excise, statistical, social security, health care domains, etc., by 1995-96.

Application Ten

Bringing the information society into the home

What should be done? Set up networks providing households with a network access system and the means of using on-line multimedia and entertainment services on a local, regional, and national and international basis.

Who will do it? Groups of content and service providers (broadcasters, publishers), network operators (telecoms organisations, cable), system suppliers/integrators (e.g. consumer electronic industry). Local and regional authorities, citizens groups, chambers of commerce and industry, will have very important roles to play.

Who gains? Consumers will enjoy early experience of complex new services, particulary multimedia services, and will be able to express their preferences in the fields of entertainment (video on demand), transaction-oriented services (banking, home shopping etc.) as well as gaining access to information services and teleworking or telelearning.
Public authorities will gain experience with issues such as privacy, IPR protection, standardisation which will be helpful in defining a single legal and regulatory environment.

Private sector participants will gain early hands-on experience of consumer preferences for programmes, software and services. User interfaces can be tested and improved in practice.

What target? Install and operate in up to five European cities with up to 40,000 households per city by 1997.

Chapter 5
Financing the information society - a task for the private sector

It is neither possible nor necessary at this stage to be precise about the amount of investment that will be generated by the development of the information infrastructure and related services and applications. Analyses made of the US market remain highly questionable, although there is no doubt that the total investment required over the next 5 to 10 years will be considerable.
The Group believes the creation of the information society in Europe should be entrusted to the private sector and to market forces.

The Group believes the creation of the information society in Europe should be entrusted to the private sector and to market forces.

Private capital will be available to fund new telecoms services and infrastructures providing that the different elements of this Report’s Action Plan are implemented so that:

•   market liberalisation is fast and credible

•   rules for interoperability and reciprocal access are set

•   tariffs are adjusted

•   the regulatory framework is established

There will be no need for public subsidies, because sufficient confidence will have been established to attract the required investment from private sources.

Ultimately, it is market growth that is perceived as the real guarantee for private investors, rendering subsidies and monopolies superfluous.

Public investment will assume a role, but not by any increase in the general level of public spending - rather by a refocusing of existing expenditure. Indeed, some of the investment that public authorities will have to undertake to develop applications in areas of their own responsibility will generate productivity gains and an improvement in the quality of services that should, if properly handled, lead to savings.

In addition to some refocusing of expenditure on R&D, modest amounts of public money may also be useful to support awareness campaigns mainly directed at small and medium sized businesses and individual consumers.

The Group recommends refocusing existing public funding more specifically to target the requirements of the information society. At the Union level, this may require some reorientation of current allocations under such headings as the Fourth Framework Programme for research and development and the Structural Funds.

The same is true for expenditure at the European Union which can achieve important results by a better focusing of existing resources, including finance available under both the Fourth Framework Programme funding R&D, and under the Structural Funds.

The Commission has also proposed limited support for some of the services and applications included in the Group’s Action Plan from funds linked to the promotion of trans-European networks. These proposals deserve support.

Chapter 6

With this Report the Group has completed its mandate and provided recommendations for action.  Our recommendations should be regarded as a coherent whole, the full benefits of which can only be reaped if action is taken in all areas.

Given the urgency and importance of the tasks ahead, the Group believes that at Union level there must be one Council capable of dealing with the full range of issues associated with the information society. With this in mind, each Member States may wish to nominate a single minister to represent it in a Council of Ministers dedicated to the information society. The Commission should act similarly.

The Group calls for the establishment by the Commission of a Board composed of eminent figures from all sectors concerned, including the social partners, to work on the framework for implementing the information society and to promote public awareness of its opportunities and challenges. This Board should report at regular intervals to the institutions of the Union on progress made on the implementation of the recommendations contained in this report.

An Action Plan - summary of recommendations

Regulatory Framework
Evolving the regulatory domain

Member States should accelerate the ongoing process of liberalisation of the Telecom sector by :

•   opening up to competition infrastructures and services still in the monopoly area

•   removing non-commercial political burdens and budgetary constraints imposed on telecommunications operators

•   setting clear timetables and deadlines for the implementation of practical measures to achieve these goals.

An authority should be established at European level whose terms of reference will require prompt attention.

Interconnection and Interoperability

Interconnection of networks and interoperability of services and applications should be primary Union objectives. The European standardisation process should be reviewed in order to increase its speed and responsiveness to markets.


As a matter of urgency the international, long distance and leased line tariffs should be adjusted to bring these down into line with rates practised in other advanced industrialised regions. The adjustment should be accompanied by the fair sharing of public service obligations among operators.

Critical Mass

Public awareness should be promoted. Particular attention should be paid to the small and medium-sized business sector, public administrations and the younger generation.

Worldwide Dimension

The openness of the European market should find its counterpart in markets and networks of other regions of the world. It is of paramount importance for Europe that adequate steps should be taken to guarantee equal access.

Completing the agenda

The Information Society is global. Union action should aim to establish a common and agreed regulatory framework for the protection of intellectual property rights, privacy and security of information in Europe and, where appropriate, internationally.


Intellectual property protection must rise to the new challenges of globalisation and multimedia, and must continue to have a high priority at both European and international levels.


Without the legal security of a Union-wide approach, lack of consumer confidence will certainly undermine the rapid development of the information society. Given the importance and sensitivity of the privacy issue, a fast decision from Member States is required on the Commission’s proposed Directive setting out general principles of data protection.

Electronic protection, legal protection and security

Work at the European level on electronic and legal protection as well as security should be accelerated.

Media ownership

Urgent attention should be given to the question of how we can avoid divergent national legislation on media ownership undermining the internal market. Effective rules must emerge to protect pluralism and competition.


Competition is a key element in Europe’s strategy. The application of competition rules should reflect the reality of the newly emerging global markets and the speed of change in the environment.

Building blocks

Priority has to be given to the extension of the availability of EURO-ISDN, in line with current Commission proposals, and reductions in tariffs to foster the market.

The Council should support the implementation of the European Broadband Infrastructure and secure its interconnectivity with the whole of European telecom, cable television and satellite networks.

A European Broadband Steering Committee involving all relevant actors should be set up in order to develop a common vision and to monitor and facilitate the realisation of the overall concept through, in particular, demonstrations, and choice and definition of standards.

With regard to mobile and satellite communications :

•   tariffs for mobile communications should be reduced

•   GSM should be promoted in Europe and internationally

•   a regulatory framework for satellite communications should be established

•   the European satellite industry should be urged to develop common priority projects and to participate actively in the development of world-wide systems.
Basic services

The provision and widespread use of standard trans-European basic services, including electronic mail, file transfer, video services, should be promoted by urgent and coherent action at both the European and Member State levels.

The Commission should initiate the creation of a “ European Basic Services Forum” to accelerate the availability of unified standards for basic services.


Initiatives in the application domain are the most effective means of addressing the slow take-off of demand and supply. They have a demonstration function which would help promoting their use.
The Group has identified the following initiatives :

•   Teleworking 

•   Distance learning 

•   University and research networks 

•   Telematic services for SMEs 

•   Road traffic management 

•   Air traffic control 

•   Health care networks 

•   Electronic tendering 

•   Trans-European public administration network 

•   City information highways. 


The creation of the information society should be entrusted to the private sector and to the market forces.

The existing public funding should be refocused more specifically to target the requirements of the information society. At the Union level, this may require some reorientation of current allocations under such headings as the Fourth Framework Programme for research and development and the Structural Funds.


Given the urgency and importance of the tasks ahead, there must be, at Union level, one Council capable of dealing with the full range of issues associated with the information society. With this in mind, each Member State may wish to nominate a single minister to represent it in a Council of Ministers dedicated to the information society. The Commission should act similarly.

A Board composed of eminent figures from all sectors concerned, including the social partners, should be established by the Commission to work on the framework for implementing the information society and to promote public awareness of its opportunities and challenges. This Board should report at regular intervals to the institutions of the Union on progress made on the implementation of the recommendations contained in this Report.

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Concerning the above white paper by the self appointed "Star Chamber" of delusional psychopaths who have written, for all to see, their plans to end humanity itself...

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dude, I am seriously pissed off right now!

All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately


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Mobile Phones and Social Activism - An Ethan Zuckerman White Paper

Posted by KatrinVerclas on May 09, 2007

Ethan Zuckerman has written a solid overview of mobile phones in international activism. It is re-posted here under its Creative Commons license. For additional resources, see also the Strategy Guides on using mobile phones in elections, advoacy, and fundraising.

From Ethan's blog My Heart's in Accra:

"If you ask a US-based activist the most important technical development of the past five years, they’ll likely tell you about the rise of citizen media, the use of blogs and web community sites to disseminate information, organize events and raise money. Bloggers helped make Howard Dean a contender for the democratic nomination for president in 2004, and many of the people involved with his online campaign have gone on to develop increasingly complicated software, helping support efforts towards Congressional transparency as well as political organizing. Because blogs were such a visible manifestation of political discourse, they’ve been extensively studied and reported on, which leads to a sense of the importance of these media for the campaign’s impact.

Ask an activist from the developing world the same question and you’ll get a different answer: the most important activist technology of the last five years is the mobile phone. The reasons for this are simple - for most of the world, mobile phone penetration vastly exceeds internet usage. (In China in 2005, there were 350 million mobile phone users, and 100 million internet users. In sub-Saharan Africa in 2004, there were 52 million mobile phone users and approximately 5-8 million internet users.) While analysts in the North talk about users receiving information on three screens - the computer, the television and the mobile - users in the South are usually looking at two screens, and users in rural areas of the South are looking at one: a mobile phone that might be shared by all the residents of a village.

Market estimates suggest that there are over 2 billion mobile phone users in the world today, heading towards 3.3 billion in 2010. The parts of the world where mobile use is growing the most quickly - the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia are markets where the mobile isn’t a replacement for existing land-line technology, but is allowing people to have a personal communications channel for the first time. 97% of people in Tanzania reported that they could have access to a mobile phone - their own, a friend’s or one they could rent - as compared to 28% who could access a land line. (A map of mobile phone coverage in Uganda from MTN gives you a sense for how thoroughly some nations have become connected via wireless technology.)

The only technology that compares to the mobile phone in terms of pervasiveness and accessibility in the developing world is the radio. Indeed, considered together, radios and mobile phones can serve as a broad-distribution, participatory media network with some of the same citizen media dynamics of the Internet, but accessible to a much wider, and non-literate audience. Interactive Radio for Justice, a participatory radio show in the Ituri region of the DR Congo uses SMS to let listeners ask questions about justice and human rights to a panel of Congolese and UN officials, who answer the questions over the air.

The questioners to Interactive Radio for Justice are anonymous. The producers ask callers not to identify themselves for fear that some pointed questions - “Are soldiers allowed to stay at my house and eat my food without paying for it?” - may lead to retribution. In general, the anonymity of mobile phones is one of the key reasons they’ve been so useful to activists. In the US, we consider most mobiles to be highly traceable - generally, mobile users have a phone number associated with a permanent address and a credit card. But mobile phones in most developing nations are sold on a pay-as-you-go basis. Some countries require registration of a phone’s SIM card using a validated ID, but most don’t, either for the SIM or for “top-up” cards. As a result, it’s not difficult for an activist to have a single phone with multiple SIMs, one which is closely correlated with her identity and one which might be used to send messages to organize a protest or promote a cause.

Anonymity makes these protests unusually difficult for police or other authorities to block. “Smart mobs” of activists, brought to demonstrations by text messages, have led to political change in the Phillipines and the Ukraine. In 2001, SMS messages about political corruption helped turn the tide against Joseph Estrada, and led to SMS-organized street protests and Estrada’s eventual ouster. (Filipino activists have organized subsequent text-based protests, many focused on lobbying for mobile phone user’s rights. The organization TXTPower started as a consumer rights’ organization and has now become active in broader political protest.) SMS messages in Ukraine helped mobilize tens of thousands of young demonstrators in the streets of Kiev in late 2004 to protest election fraud and demand a revote.

In both cases, calls to take to the streets spread organically - virally - with recipients forwarding the messages to multiple friends. Blocking the ability of a single phone to send messages would likely do little to stop the spread of the message. (Activists have discussed the wisdom of using  SMS gateways, web-based services which can send SMS messages to hundreds or thousands of phones. An argument against using gateways is the fact that they are single points of failure that could be blocked by a government anxious to stop the spread of a smart mob message.)

To stop virally-spreading messages, concerned governments might order SMS networks shut down. Some Belarussian activists reported shutdowns of the SMS network in March 2006 to prevent activists in Minsk from making contact outside the capital and encouraging Belarussians in the countryside to come into the city. Similar accusations come from Ethiopian activists, who report that SMS was blocked during election protests in June 2005. Concerned about political text messages, the government of Cambodia declared a two-day “tranquility” period before governing council elections, shutting off SMS messaging and prompting accusations that the blockage was an unconstitutional limitation of speech. Observers from the National Democratic Institute report that the Albanian government attempted to block SMS throughout their network for a week before recent elections. Iran may have blocked SMSs sent from Internet gateways as a way of preventing “defamation” of candidates prior to elections in late 2006.

The Shanghai police have tried another technique for controlling SMS-spread demonstrations - they used SMS messages to warn potential protesters away from anti-Japan street protests. (The technique was a mixed success - the message from Shangai police was so ambiguously worded that some recipients took it as encouragement to protest.) Belarussian authorities attempted something similar during the October Square protests, sending SMS messages warning potential march participants about their health and safety if they appeared at marches, stating that “provocateurs are planning bloodshed”.

In smart-mob scenarios, mobile phones function as an impromptu broadcast network - if activists had access to radio stations with sufficient footprint, they could achieve similar goals by broadcasting information about rallies over the airwaves. Other activist uses of mobiles take advantage of the ability of mobile owners to create content as well as forwarding it. Activists with the pro-democracy Kefaya movement use mobile phones and their cameras to document demonstrations and other news events, including a government crackdown on Sudanese protesters in Cairo - they call, text or use MMS to send messages to the administrator of the Kefaya blog, which compiles reports into blog posts much as a newroom turns field reports into finished articles.

A dispersed group with mobile phones - especially mobile phones equipped with cameras - becomes a powerful force for “ sousveillance“. Coined by Dr. Steve Mann, “sousveillance” refers to the monitoring of authority figures by grassroots groups, using the technologies and techniques of surveillance. The use of mobile phones to monitor the 2000 presidential election in Ghana is a good example of sousveillance - voters who were prevented from voting used mobile phones to report their experience to call-in shows on local radio stations. The stations broadcast the reports, prompting police to respond to the accusations of voter intimidation. Had voters called the police directly, it’s possible that authorities might not have responded - by making reports public through the radio, voters eliminated the possibility of police announcing that there had been no reports of voter intimidation. Similar techniques have been used in Sierra Leone, Senegal and even in the US - American voters used mobile phone cameras and websites to record reports of voting irregularities during the 2006 congressional elections.

Sousveillance has a way of trapping authority figures, even when they’re the ones holding the cameras. Egyptian blogger and activist Mohammed Sharkawy was beaten and sodomized while in police custody - his tormentors filmed the incident and threatened to humiliate him by posting the video on the Internet. The video, posted at sites like YouTube, has now become a document demonstrating the brutality of Egyptian police, leading to criticism by the US State Department of Egypt’s human rights record. In a future where most citizens carry cameras with them at all times and have the ability to spread them phone to phone, or by posting them to a website, there’s tremendous potential for sousveillance to serve as a check to people in power. (Needless to say, there are hundreds of more worrisome scenarios made possible by the same technology, including noxious phenomena like “ happy slapping“.)

Mobiles are powerful because they’re pervasive, personal and capable of authoring content. An intriguing new dimension emerges as they become systems of payment as well. Kenyan mobile company Safaricom has introduced a new system allowing mobile phone users to send money to other users of the network - it’s called M-PESA and has moved from pilot to full-scale implementation rapidly. Once Vodaphone, Safaricom’s international partner in the project, makes it possible for people outside of Kenya to deposit money into the network, it’s likely that M-PESA will become a major tool for remittance as well as for cashless payment. Activists armed with M-PESA-type phones could do more than organize a dispered protest - they could fundraise, making it possible for groups of activists to fund the travel of an activist to a protest or the cost of leaflets. Similar projects, like Wizzit in South Africa, suggest that mobile banking is likely to become widespread in countries with a large “unbanked” population.

These mobile payment systems have a high degree of centralization and identification - M-PESA users have to register with Safaricom with a government ID. But other emerging payment via mobile systems look more like  hawala, the informal money transfer system used through much of the Middle East and South Asia. Nokia anthropologist Jan Chipchase tells a story about Ugandan mobile phone users and a system called “sente”: A caller purchases mobile phone airtime cards in a major cities, then calls his home village - he reads the recharge codes to the person in town who owns a mobile phone, giving her the credits to use. She enters the credits into her phone (validating the transaction), then gives a large percentage of the value of the credits to the person of the caller’s choice, usually a member of his family. Systems like this allow for virtually untraceable money transfer, unless phone card vendors are forced to check identification before selling phone cards.

Finally, it’s worth remembering that the powers unleashed by the mobile phone can affect all sides of a political situation. Protests organized by SMS helped unseat Joseph Estrada in the Philippines and bring President Gloria Arroyo to power. When Arroyo found herself embroiled in  a corruption scandal involving tape recordings of phonecalls to voting commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, one of the tools activists used to spread information was a ringtone. The ringtone featured a snippet of dialog between Arroyo and Garcillano and rapidly became one of the world’s most downloaded ringtones and spawning over a dozen remixed versions. The personal nature of mobile phones makes them the perfect venue for protest, even if the protest is as innocuous as having your phone chirp “Hello Garcia?” in the President’s voice every time you get an SMS. What the mobile giveth, it can taketh away."

Asia Buzz: Revolution
How text messaging toppled Joseph Estrada

January 23, 2001
Web posted at 2:00 p.m. Hong Kong time, 11:00 a.m. EDT

How did you spend your weekend? I spent mine glued to CNN and the BBC watching Filipinos have an even more fabulous weekend in Manila.

It was fascinating to watch Son of EDSA unfold. I say Son -- perhaps Daughter is more appropriate -- of EDSA because it wasn't nearly as dramatic as the fall of Marcos in 1986. (I still have one of Ferdy's campaign posters, purloined from a Manila store awning with the help of a soldier who five minutes earlier had poked a rifle under my nose.)

At no point did Gloria Arroyo's revolution ever look like degenerating into violence, and maybe Filipinos have technology to thank for that. This wasn't so much People Power but Technology Power: the Text Messaging Revolution. Filipinos are great gossips -- aren't we all? -- and extremely expressive. Text messaging with its emoticons, icons and instantaneous delivery is perfect for the charismatic people of "The 'Pines."

Saturday's inauguration -- the interesting one in Manila, not the boring one in Washington, DC -- was perhaps the first where the newly sworn-in President was sometimes interrupted by the chirruping of SMS [short message service]. Where the Bush clan was all solemnity and pomp, the Arroyos were exuberance personified. I wouldn't be surprised if Gloria had a messager in her handbag ­ SMS-ing her Cabinet to tell them they've got the job -- with a little smiley face emoticon no doubt.

Text messages are the mopeds and motor scooters of the Information Age for poorer countries like the Philippines. We all want and need mobility and instant communication. But because of bad government and poor economic management, we often can't afford either. Wealthy Hong Kong and Singapore have extensive mobile phone and car penetration. Vietnam and the Philippines have text messaging -- and mopeds. But the mobility and communication is no less potent, as Erap, as Estrada is known, would now ruefully acknowledge.

A pretty good argument could be made that it wasn't just some petty venal corruption that toppled Estrada. He might've been stunned by just how quickly Filipinos gathered to shout, or text, him down after he looked like he'd won a reprieve in office when 11 loyal senators vetoed the unsealing of incriminating bank documents last Tuesday. They soon knew what was in the accounts anyway, reading details on their message alerts.

Minutes later, thousands of grump Pinoys began to gather at the EDSA memorial to protest that their democratic rights weren't being exercised. Text messages were frantically exchanged by the anti-Estrada camp, advising meeting points and schedules. Such was the demand that one company even bought mobile cell transmitters to critical sites along EDSA.

But officials of PLDT, the country's main telecoms carrier, weren't surprised. The volume of SMS jumped from 30 million messages a day over Christmas (remember this is a deeply Catholic nation) to record levels as the impeachment trial collapsed: about 70 million a day this past week.

Which raises an interesting point of discussion: In this wired age, who's a corrupt politician's best ally? The head of the armed forces? Or the telecommunications czar? As the mob descends demanding your head, which call is the best one to make first?

In the charged atmosphere of last week's revolution -- where numbers were crucial -- Estrada could arguably have nipped the protests in the bud by closing down communications while mobilizing forces elsewhere. It might have bought him valuable time. He might even still be in office. Or out buying a messager.

Wireless World: The 'Orange Revolution'

by Gene J. Koprowski Chicago (UPI) Dec 27, 2004

The court-ordered election rematch in Ukraine this past Sunday, featuring opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, probably would not have happened were it not for mobile phone technologies.

The technologies - text messaging services in particular - enabled hundreds of thousands of youthful demonstrators to coordinate their activities and take to the streets of Kiev to contest the November election results, experts told UPI's Wireless World.

The most significant aspect of this thing is the mobilization of the population, said Lubomyr Hajda, associate director of Harvard's Ukrainian Research Institute in Cambridge, Mass. It led to the birth of a civic nation, not an ethnic nation.

In Kiev's central district, young college students employed the short-messaging service text-messaging tool on their mobile phones to tell a dozen friends to bring their friends to Independence Square.

It's called smart-mobbing, said Bob Ewald, senior director of product marketing for Nextel. Text messages are sent out to folks and they all come to a specified location.

The technologies were sold by an array of European and American developers, including Zi Corp., which makes short messaging service software for 43 different languages and more than 600 mobile phone handsets.

Ukrainian is one of their newest offerings, said a Zi spokesman in New York City.

Technology and democracy experts said Ukraine's Orange Revolution, as the movement is called, is the second democratic uprising in just three years empowered by mobile phone technologies.

In the Philippines in 2001, a spontaneous crowd enabled by text messengers converged on the city square to protest President Estrada's corrupt government and ended up bringing it down, said Gloria Pan, a spokeswoman for The Media Center, a think tank at the American Press Institute in Reston, Va., that concentrates on the intersection of media, society and technology. Talk about exercising democratic rights.

The popularity of text-messaging software in Europe is based on a number of factors. In the United States, the calling party pays for a mobile phone call, but in Europe, the receiving party pays the fee.

It's cheaper to send text messages rather than call someone, Ewald said. Billions of messages are sent on a monthly basis in this way.

Text messaging also is faster and more convenient than leaving a lengthy voice-mail message.

The technologies are favored particularly by U.S. and European college students, said Kristin Wallace, a spokeswoman in Atlanta for Sprint. We started offering text messaging in January of 2004. It's very popular among college age people and teenagers.

The story is quite similar in Ukraine, which has seen a number of youth uprisings recently.

What happened in November did not happen out of the blue, said Hajda, who recently participated in a seminar on the Orange Revolution and factors that facilitated it at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. It has not been noticed by the people writing about the election.

Pan said blogs were the big news of 2004. The next big story will be mobility, she said.

Hajda, who is Ukrainian and was trained as a historian, said there were regional protests this past summer, stirred after the government instituted a policy that increased the expenses of students. Eventually, the government rescinded the decree.

Another protest about two years ago drew between 50,000 and 100,000 to Kiev. A protest in 2001 drew 20,000 and sparked government violence against the protestors.

An important part was played by the youths, Hajda said.

Other factors included a national religious revival among the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, as well as a burgeoning, society-wide free-speech movement.

The government reportedly stopped many trains from running to the capital in Kiev, attempting to prevent the protesters from massing. There have been estimates reported in the international media that upwards of 500,000 pro-democracy protesters met in Kiev after the disputed presidential election, with youths taking to the streets wearing orange garb - which spawned the name Orange Revolution.

They came and went in small groups, Hajda said. They were not there all at the same time, with many sleeping in sprawling tent camps along the main street of the city.

Mobile text-messaging technology allowed the demonstrators to coordinate shifts to keep the pressure on the Parliament and the courts.

There was a lot of talk about technology, Hajda said.

Text-messaging in the United States probably will approach by next year levels of usage currently experienced in Europe, Ewald said. Mobile phone carriers, including T-Mobile, Sprint and Nextel, last year signed an interconnect agreement that allows messages sent from a mobile phone on one carrier's network to be received on any carrier's network. A message is transmitted by sending it to a person's phone number, where it is presented to the recipient on the screen display.

If Yushchenko wins the Dec. 26 ballot - as preliminary results indicated Monday - he has promised to seek European Union membership for Ukraine. The country culturally already is quite close to Europe in some ways because of its reliance on mobile technologies.

I was in Scotland last year and television programs and ads regularly incorporated text messaging, said Mark Pruner, vice president of RD Legal Funding LLC, in Englewood, N.J., an international legal consulting firm. You could vote for who was the better singer, who should get kicked out of a reality TV show, enter contests or send in comments. In Portugal (short messaging services are) very common. In the United Kingdom, it is even used to meet people in bars.

Now, in Ukraine, the technology has been used to choose a new president.

Wireless World is a weekly column examining how mobile telecommunications technologies are transforming society, by Gene J. Koprowski, who covers technology for UPI Science News.


  • Guest

SIDE Theory, Small World Networks, and Smart Mob Formation: A Beginners Guide
By Scott Sanders
– May 2, 2006

Submitted by: Scott Sanders to the Online Interaction Seminar, COM 632Y, Spring 2006, Dr. Sorin A. Matei, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, 47907.

Summary: Social categorization, which is at the heart of SIDE theory, may often prove to be an incredibly powerful dynamic in determining the actions of individuals in a smart mob. However, information provided via SMS messages activates social categorizations only when contextual cues make that information salient to the individuals. For example, an individual who is a fan of a certain movie star may receive a text message urging them to converge on a location at which the star has been seen. If they are close by and the detour costs them little time and effort, the individual may be more likely to follow the message’s suggestion than if they are across town and would be required to expend considerable time and effort to do so.

Article follows….

Over the past two decades the introduction of new communication technologies has changed how individuals interact with one another. The popularization of the internet encouraged the creation of online wiki communities in which all users have the ability to create, reorder, and edit content in such a way that no one person can be identified as the author of the final, and often continually evolving, piece. Likewise, blogging has taken publishing out of the hands of a few select gatekeepers and has allowed any individual with access to the internet to publish their own thoughts and opinions.

Mobile phones have allowed individuals to reorder their lives and coordinate actions in a previously impossible manner. This availability of many-to-many forms of communication creates a necessary condition for the production of smart mobs, mobile ad hoc social networks, which are the result of individuals using personal communication technologies to coordinate collective action.

Smart mobs seem to share at least some characteristics with the emergent behavior of swarm systems (Rheingold, 2002). However, there is one important difference between characteristic swarming behavior and that of smart mobs; individual human beings have considerable intellect. While there are several documented examples of smart mobs displaying emergent behavior, it is most important to consider the cognitive mechanisms and the network structures that create the prerequisite conditions for smart mob formation.

Smart mobs have been documented in a number of different contexts. An exemplar of smart mob behavior is the 2001 toppling of the Estrada administration in the Philippines when citizens were urged to take to the streets wearing black (Rheingold, 2002; Bociurkiw, 2001). A more recent example is the French race riots of the summer of 2005 during which police revealed that rioting teenagers were using the internet and short message service (SMS) messages to coordinate attacks (Smith, 2005). Likewise, during December of 2005 Australia had to contend with youth using SMS messages to instigate and coordinate violence aimed at individuals of Middle Eastern descent in response to the beating of two lifeguards (BBC, 2005).

Although incompatible networks initially hampered their adoption in the United States, many countries have long had a booming SMS trend because of its relative cheapness compared to phone calls. SMS messages have proven an important mechanism in the development of smart mobs for several reasons. First, SMS is an asynchronous communication which allows its users to exert more cognitive effort on expressing and editing thoughts. Second, technological constraints force messages to be brief and to the point allowing them to be created and sent quickly. SMS technology allows brief written messages of a maximum of 160 characters to be sent and received via mobile phones (Featherly, 2003). Furthermore, messages can be sent or forwarded to everyone in an individuals address book.

This is allows a message to be disseminated more quickly than a traditional phone tree where each individual would have to be contacted separately, thereby allowing large networks to be mobilized relatively quickly (Walker, 2003). Finally, SMS messages are sent to mobile phones rather than email inboxes or hard lines. One of the mobile phones primary functions is to serve as a coordination tool. Mobile phones allow micro-coordination of behavior by allowing for midcourse adjustments and the softening of time where the timing of schedules and events are negotiated or reordered (Ling, 2004; Ling & Yttri, 2002).

One explanation for the creation of smart mobs is the threshold models of collective behavior. Threshold models propose that individuals have a particular threshold at which they are willing to engage in collective action (Granovetter, 1978). Threshold models attempt to explain why individuals may be willing to participate in actions collectively that they would not be willing to participate in alone. The argument hinges upon individuals conducting a cost-benefit analysis which weighs the rewards of engaging in the behavior against the possible repercussions. The more people that choose to participate in particular actions the less likely an individual will be held accountable for their behavior.

Some individuals require very few individuals to participate prior to joining in, while others may wait for a majority of the population to engage in a behavior before to taking action. Furthermore, since the threshold is simply the point in which an individual chooses to engage in a behavior two individuals whose thresholds are the same may not be politically identical, as reflected in the popular expression strange bedfellows(Granovetter, 1978, pg. 1422). In short, individuals do not have to share the same motivation to engage in a behavior, they merely must have their threshold level met.

Although the threshold theory holds that individuals need not share an ideology for collective action, Ling (2004) notes that these social aggregates [smart mobs] function as a unit so long as there is a shared ideology and a common sense of strategy, and so long as there is a focused easily communicated form of interaction (pg. 187). Therefore, rather than individuals merely having a threshold that must be exceeded in order to take action, individuals in smart mobs may require a shared sense of identity. Social identity deindividuation theory (SIDE) was developed to explain online group interaction through peoples identification with social identities. Its basic tenet is that text based environments, such as the internet, served to limit nonverbal cues so that individuals are deindividuated (Walther & Parks, 2002). Deindividuation is the loss of self-awareness and critical evaluation of actions as a result of the anonymity created by group scenarios.

For example, larger group sizes have been found to facilitate behavior that contradicts societal norms such as taunting suicides to jump or joining a lynch mob (Mann, 1981; Mullen, 1986). Furthermore, anonymity under conditions of deindividuation has been found to result in salience given to contextual cues concerning how to behave (Johnson & Downing, 1979; Spivey & Prentice-Dunn, 1990). Considered in the context of communication media, it has been found that different media may result in the personal and social attributes being more or less salient. For example, when individuals were individuated by being placed in the same room as one another during interaction they were less likely to comply with group norms and more likely to exert an independent identity (Postmes, Spears, and Lea, 1998). Deindividuation in turn affects whether interpersonal or intergroup differences matter during interaction (Postmes & Baym, 2005).

When people cannot individuate others they are forced to rely on contextual cues that indicate the social identities of group members. Social identities do not just consist of an individuals understanding of a group or social category, but are a shared conception within a group of the defining features of group membership (Postmes & Baym, 2005). Along with norms, social identity can mold group action as a result of social identification and social categorization. Social identification is the internalization of a social identity resulting from long term identification with a particular group and so that group norms are subsequently adopted as personal norms. Conversely, categorization is the result of social context increasing the salience of particular social categories. In short, rather than relating to others as individuals, SIDE theory proposes that, in conditions of limited information and subsequent deindividuation, people relate to one another on the basis of group membership.

Initially, it seems unlikely that SIDE theory can provide an explanation of group behavior in smart mobs. First, individuals who receive a message calling for a smart mob to coalesce may know the sender. After all, the primary way that smart mob messages spread is via forwarded messages sent to multiple receivers in the senders address book. The key rests in the receivers media literacy. It is common for received text messages to be forwarded to others in some cultures, for example, teen cultures of Asian and Scandinavian countries. If individuals perceive the message as originating from the immediate sender, then SIDE effects probably will not be observed because too much individuating information is known about the sender. That is, the receiver is more likely to relate to the sender on an interpersonal level rather than a group level. However, if the receiver interprets the message as a call for action as having not originated from the immediate sender then it is possible that they will identify with the message on a group level and respond to the cues embedded in the message.

SMS technology may be highly conducive to producing anonymous messages that can be used to galvanize support for causes and make calls for action. For example, during the SARS crisis of spring 2003, SMS messages circulated in China satirically poking fun at government officials and protocols and urging individuals to stock up on rice and salt (Yu, 2004). The events in China highlight the subversive potential of SMS as a tool for protest. The anonymity afforded the initial composer of a message and those who forwarded it can be used to oppose powerful social institutions from a safe distance. Furthermore, SMSs text based nature, along with its limitations on the number of characters a message can contain make it an extremely lean medium which may contribute to the activation of a social identity rather than an individual identity.

The second factor that interferes with the application of SIDE theory to smart mobs is that many smart mobs do not have a great deal of interaction. Social identity is formed not only from common perspectives of group history and a sense of future direction but most importantly through comparison and differentiation from relevant outgroups (Postmes & Baym, 2005, pg. 224). This process of developing a group identity through the creation of a shared history and comparison to outgroups is accomplished by individuals using the content of others messages to create and strengthen group norms (Walther & Parks, 2002). However, this presents a quandary in the context of smart mobs that may have little interaction prior to the initial call to action. Even if a receiver contacted the immediate sender of a forwarded message, the sender would be unlikely to be able to inform them or assist them in identifying others who might have received the same message outside of their own personal contacts.

Rather than developing a social identity through mediated interaction, it is possible that individuals who respond to the initiating message of a smart mob already possess a salient social identity that was formed during everyday interaction in society in which they live. It should be noted that the best documented occurrences of smart mob behavior are in contexts such as political dissent, race riots, and celebrity stalking. Individuals who are involved in these activities may already have preformed identities that are activated by the reception of a SMS message.

Postmes and Baym (2005) have noted that individuals social identity can be made salient by features of the social context that do not require the presence of other group members. Therefore, social categorization may often prove to be an incredibly powerful dynamic in determining the actions of individuals in a smart mob. However, information provided via SMS messages activates social categorizations only when contextual cues make that information salient to the individuals. For example, an individual who is a fan of a certain movie star may receive a text message urging them to converge on a location at which the star has been seen.

If they are close by and the detour costs them little time and effort, the individual may be more likely to follow the messages suggestion than if they are across town and would be required to expend considerable time and effort to do so. The message coupled with proximity provides contextual cues that activate the social identity of a fan. Likewise, events may also provoke social categorization. For example, the attack on two lifeguards at Cronulla beach in Sydney, Australia by youths perceived to be of Lebanese descent may have increased the salience of ethnic identity to the point that white youth could be mobilized via SMS messages.

Not only is it important to consider the cognitive mechanisms that lead individuals to participate in smart mobs, it is also important to consider the network structure that allows smart mobs to form. Specifically, small world networks may be an essential component of the development of smart mobs. Small world networks were first proposed in the 1950s in an effort to estimate the number of links required to connect any two individuals living within the United States (Monge & Contractor, 2003). By considering the full range of an individuals social contacts they concluded that the majority of individuals would be linked by two to three others. This conclusion was tested in 1967 by Stanley Milgram who asked individuals in Nebraska and Kansas to send a letter to Boston via intermediaries. Half of the letters were received after going through no more than 5 individuals.

Several types of networks have the potential to form in the real world. Small world networks are characterized by a high degree of clustering among local nodes with a few far flung links to distant nodes so that all nodes are separated by no more than a few links (Monge & Contractor, 2003). Regular networks consist of nodes with a few links to only their immediate neighbors. While regular networks demonstrate high degrees of clustering, nodes may be separated by numerous links. Finally, random networks exist where the nodes are randomly linked. Random networks lack clustering but do have a low degree of separation between nodes. Watts (1999; as cited in Monge & Contractor, 2003) believes that small world networks, rather than regular or random networks, comprise a majority of networks found in the real world.

Small world networks have important implications for the formation and function of smart mobs. Small world networks help explain how smart mobs form quickly. Milgrams experiment shows that human social networks are, or at least approximate, small world networks. Smart mobs are initiated via text messages sent to multiple individuals in the senders address book and, therefore, can be considered a subset of an individuals social network. Still, a majority of people whom the immediate sender of a smart mob SMS knows are likely not included in his address book. This limited list of contacts still may be sufficient to result in a small world network. Although lower link density between individuals in the network might inhibit the spread of an SMS, the nature of SMS technology, which forwards of the messages to large groups of people quickly, could counteract this by allowing for the messages quick and efficient transmission.

There are currently approximately 2 billion mobile phones on the planet and many individuals who do not have access to other forms of new media, such as the internet, that allow many-to-many communication own mobile phones (Gunn, lecture). Such was the case in the Philippines during the 2001 protests against President Estrada. Much of the population lives in poverty and SMS provides a cheap, convenient method of communication (Bociurkiw, 2001). Although mobile phones were far from ubiquitous, small world social networks were likely a decisive factor in allowing messages calling for protest to quickly spread.

We must also take into consideration other mechanisms that effect network structure and the transmission of information. Proximity of nodes to one another may be especially important. When considering personal networks nodes are not chosen randomly but are inversely proportional to the square of its geographical distance from the originating node (Monge & Contractor, 2003, pg. 312). In other words, the closer two nodes are to one another the more likely they are to form a connection. Proximity is not only important for creating new connections but it also plays an important role in the maintenance and dissolution of established ones. Another factor that likely plays a role in transmission of messages to initiate a smart mob is homophily, or the extent to which individuals are similar. When homophily and proximity are jointly taken into account, individuals are much more effective in reaching their intended target with a message.

Both proximity and homophily may provide partial explanations of how smart mobs form. If mobile phone address books are merely subsets of our social networks, then small world network structures that take into account proximity suggests that a bulk of message recipients will be geographically proximal. This is important because smart mobs gather relatively quickly. Proximal individuals would be able to reasonably travel to the appointed destination without undue effort. Furthermore, this structure also suggests that individuals who would be constrained from participating in smart mobs by geographical distance would be less likely to receive the initiating message. Of course, proximities constraints on smart mob participation likely play little role in online smart mobs.

Homophily may also play an important role in the spread of the initial smart mob message. If individuals are more likely to form social linkages with others that they perceive to be similar to themselves then individuals whose social identity is activated by a message are more likely to pass along that message to others than those who do not share that social identity. Not only would homophily facilitate the dissemination of messages but it might also act as a filtering mechanism to prevent people to whom the message would be irrelevant from receiving it. People who do not identify with the message may be less likely to pass the message on to others. As a result, the message is spread among those for whom it activates a social identity, and disregarded by those for whom it does not.

Ling (2004) notes that smart mobs are anomalies in the larger picture of mobile communication and arise only under specific conditions. First, he noted the social contextual features that promote a common ideology are necessary to develop the desire to take action. He illustrates this by showing how dissatisfaction with the corrupt Estrada regime in the Philippines predisposed individuals to protest. Second, he focused on the necessity of a clear, concise strategy for spurring action. Philippine citizens were encouraged to go to a well known, symbolic location to engage in protest. Finally, he describes that the necessity of SMS as an easy and efficient channel for the spread of the initiating messages. Messages were forwarded via the protestors address books to others who might respond.

SIDE theory and small world networks fit neatly into this framework of the necessary preconditions for initiating a smart mob. First, individuals must have the necessary social identity for a smart mob to form. People will not respond to any message, just the ones that they feel are relevant to them. Second, while the social identities that could potentially lead to a smart mob likely persist over time, the social climate must be exact in order for smart mobs to develop. Social identities must be activated via the process of social-categorization by contextual features in the environment or by interaction with others. Additionally, others do not have to be present for this to occur. Contextual cues, such as the beating of the lifeguards at Cronulla beach, increase the salience of social identities so that they can potentially be activated by an SMS calling for specific action. It is for this reason that smart mobs are relatively uncommon.

Finally, the nature of social networks as small world networks coupled with SMS technology is essential to the development of smart mobs. SMS provides a method for alerting many people simultaneously to the call for the formation of a smart mob. Small world networks structures facilitate the spread by allowing messages to be received by individual nodes with a minimal number of linkages. The combination of these factors allow smart mobs to form instantaneously. Further network mechanisms serve to filter and promote the spread of initiating messages.

Smart mobs have been used purposefully to accomplish tasks impossible for a single hierarchical organization. Many of the same conditions that allow smart mobs to form also create conditions in which they can display emergent behavior. First, the nature of many-to-many communication mediums means that leadership is decentralized. This means that disabling one node in the network will not cripple it. A notable example of this is the Direct Action Network which used mobile communication devices to coordinate protest of the World Trade Organization in Seattle. Arresting ring leaders did not slow the attacks or seriously hamper coordination of efforts (de Armond, 2000). Second, human beings are autonomous and make the choice to submerge their personal identity in favor of a social one. Furthermore, as individuals they have street level data and do not have an overall picture of the scenario.

The conciseness of text messages mean that complex strategies cannot be laid out in detail but must evolve as events unfold. Finally, the high connectivity provided by SMS technology allows individuals to coordinate action by converging on a target from many directions and then dispersing just as quickly. This phenomenon has been labeled swarming in the contexts of political protests (Ronfeldt & Arquilla, 2001) but can also be observed in contexts as diverse as celebrity watching or article editing on wikipedia. As a result of the role peer influence plays in a smart mob, the network structure of a smart mob, and the high connectivity that characterizes it, smart mobs can be highly adaptive and unpredictable.

The application of SIDE theory to mobile ad hoc mobile networks helps illustrate how difficult, if not impossible, it would be to intentionally start a smart mob if the prerequisite conditions were not in place. When the conditions are right it may be possible to initiate and determine the initial trajectory of a smart mobs actions, but then it takes a life of its own. However, starting a smart mob from scratch may be impossible. A man pleads in comment left on the Smart Mob blog, Help Im running for polictical [sic] office, and i [sic] want to use this method to reach the voters who are on the net. how [sic] do I go about doing this.[sic] (Rheingold & Grayman, 2003). Appropriately, he never received a response.

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