The spirit of the 18th Century Enlightenment movement gives our non-profit association Digital Enlightenment Forum (DEF) the drive and inspiration to address the challenges for man and society that arise from the digital revolution that comes over us. Similar principles as were central to the debate in the Enlightenment period should again be at the basis of developing the potential that digital technology promises for the 21st century:
- sharing of information and knowledge
- respect for the freedom of choice of the citizen as a prerequisite for a flourishing and creative relation between humans and technology and for society as a whole
- scientific and intellectual inquiry and open debate in service to all.
Since the establishment of DEF in 2011 we have seen a rapid development shifting the debate from individuals using new and convenient technology to the effects on these individuals and society of this technology. It is visible in the series of three DEF Yearbooks since 2012. Where the first focused on technology infrastructure and its governance, the second brought up a general discussion on personal data management in a time that data are collected practically unlimited. The latter publication was at the height of the debate on the Snowden revelations. Our Forum 2013 and the latest Yearbook took up the debate on Social Networks and Social Machines, Surveillance and Empowerment. The position of the citizen in the digital world will be the focus of our Forum 2015.
This Blog wants to strengthen the debate further and aims bringing together the views of experts of all relevant disciplines and backgrounds, as well as interested laymen in a debate that will feed into policy action.
We invite experts to act as a permanent author and/or link their own blogs to this DEF BLOG to ensure efficient and effective discussions on the issues of relevance to the principles and policy of DEF. Priority topics for the coming year are for us:
- Liberty & security: in particular the tensions between civil liberties and state security surveillance in the digital world. Safety of citizens against crime and terrorism may create a dangerous entanglement of societal law enforcement with national security agencies.
- Education and skills in the digital world. Which skills are needed and how should they be taken up in education systems for maximum effect. Experiments are ongoing with new ways of skills development in the digital world.
- Digital ethics. How can we contribute to building a legal and technical infrastructure that includes essential ethical principles and at the same time ensures the various globally existing cultures to build interoperable digital service infrastructures to their choice.
But of course there are other important issues, or there will come up new ones. This Blog is open, input is welcome and we will adapt to needs.
To participate as an author to start a discussion please contact Jacques Bus or Tim Cole. Comments on the discussions are also very welcome.
George Metakides, president
Jacques Bus, secretary general
Digital Enlightenment Forum VZW