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Society and technology in the new age
of crisis and disruption

31 March 2022 at 16:00 CEST - Online

Jeremy Millard 3.jpg


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.

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About the host

Jeremy Millard is CEO of his non-profit consultancy, Third Millennium Governance, and works as a Senior Research Analyst with Copenhagen-based SME City Facilitators providing specialist advice and guidance on urban growth, business development and urban finance mechanisms. Jeremy is also a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at both Bradford University in the UK and Galway University in Ireland, as well as a former Senior Consultant at the Danish Technological Institute and Managing Consultant at Tele Danmark. He has taught at both Aarhus University in Denmark and the Open University in the UK, and is currently teaching modules in social innovation for sustainable development for the ITCILO and the Turin School of Development. He has over 40 years’ global experience on governance, technology, open and social innovation, participation and democracy, sustainable and socio-economic development and tackling poverty and exclusion. He also works on the sharing and circular economies, urbanization and nature-based solutions for growth and urban development. Currently he’s researching changing forms of work and regional development in the context of ‘zoomshock’ and is coordinating the European Food-Covid-19 network: He has taught, presented and published extensively in these and many related fields. Clients include governments, the European Commission, United Nations, OECD and World Bank, as well as many non-profits and companies around the world. He works with partners to develop new business and social innovation models of change at organizational, spatial and societal levels.

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