Societies progress from one era to the next
During all epochs of the past, societies adapted to their political, economic, and climactic challenges by developing new tools for communications. For example, the alphabet permitted the birth of the first cities and the first empires, printing, the unfolding of the Renaissance, television and the cinema, and the arrival of the Industrial Age.
Today our societies are facing a collection of inter-related crises because our societies are essentially globalized. Many of the key elements of each society depend upon the effective functioning and goodwill of other people in other societies.
Also, we are beginning to develop a new global tool, the Internet, which integrates the written word, sound and images .. or in other words, the existing networks of computers, telephones and television.
For the first time in history Internet 2 (or Web 2.0) will permit citizens to exercise and amplify their voices. So, they are able (if willing) to create a participative democracy with which to respond to the series of current and sure-to-come crises. Internet 2 will become a place where we will battle with each other (with ideas, opinions, facts and organized activities) in order to change the word.
At this point in time, we are living in new situations that are difficult to evaluate :
- We are not facing several isolated crises but rather an ensemble of interrelated crises. To date, we have not responded to these crises with effective tools or developmental initiatives.
- But if these situations seem full of threats and general menace they also offer much oppor
- The solutions to our problems will not be technical or economic (as the media suggests to us) but mainly cultural. The changes in behaviour which will required of all people will be very difficult to accept for most, and even more difficult to carry out and sustain.
- tunity for new and inovative solutions.
What are the mechanisms that we must learn and use if we want to create and live in a society which is becoming much more complex that the industrial society which preceeded it ?
In other words, our societies evolve at the speed at which the behaviors of its citizens change, which is clearly too slow to respond effectively to the series of rolling crises we are experiencing. That observation has caused several important thinkers to believe that we are enrolled in a race between catastrophe and education.
The tools and dynamics of educating citizens and communicating effectively with them will make all the difference with respect to our collective future. That is why this document is concentrated on the tools and information that make up Internet 2.