Time & Location
31 Mar 2022, 16:00 – 17:30
About the Event
Society and technology in the new age of crisis and disruption
For many years we have seen the disruptive impacts of new digital innovations on society when Silicon Valley’s mantra of ‘move fast and break things’ appeared dominant. But the technology-society relationship has never been all one way from a proactive former to a passive latter. Although digital, as the new general-purpose technology, is probably always an enabler, it is hard to describe it ubiquitously as the driver. The financial crisis of 2007-8 caused huge economic disruption around the globe, then compounded by the 2020-? Covid-pandemic that affected all aspects of social and economic life, and now turbo-charged by the Ukraine war depositing a thick layer of geo-political tectonic change on top. Underlying all this is the ‘mother-of-all’ crises that sees our natural environment stretched to near collapse, thereby putting the very survival of our species in peril. It is clear that the 21st Century has ushered in a new age of more or less continuous crisis and disruption and that these are not times for business-as-usual. It is time for rethinking many of our shibboleths, both sustainable development and resilience, how we re-structure our economies and politics, as well as how we work, play and live on the earth’s surface. These are huge íssues, intimately inter-related, and in which digital technology clearly plays an essential role. We will discuss a few of these issues, including how we work, the jobs we do, and how cities and settlements are organised, although we can instead touch on others depending how the discussion goes. However, I will contend we should mainly see the technology as an enabler that certainly opens new possibilities, whilst insisting that the type of society we want, especially in Europe, needs to be the driver.