Life in the digital world – Future challenges: what do you think they are?

This is a practical blog.  I am seeking input.  I will be moderator of the Plenary Panel session “Life in the digital world – Future challenges” at the Digital Enlightenment Forum on 26 March 2015 in Kilkenny, Ireland.

The input?  What should we consider under such a wide ranging heading that is consistent with the objectives and values of the Digital Enlightenment Forum?

As a former Privacy Commissioner of Australia, naturally I see privacy as a major issue (so long as we can define what privacy is…).  But there are also some emerging pragmatic issues that may not be seen primarily as ‘privacy’ issues, such as:

  • Digital haves and have nots
  • Impact on freedom of will, freedom to experiment and concepts of ‘forgive and forget’
  • What is acceptable and what is unacceptable hidden manipulation
  • What is acceptable and what is unacceptable discrimination commercially (note the paper on Big Data and Price Discrimination that has just been released) and by governments
  • Appropriate legal frameworks and protections, including arguments that existing law (for example anti-discrimination law) is sufficient but just needs to be properly applied

Overlaying any discussion is the argument in favour of ‘innovation’ and its encouragement or discouragement by government legislative or economic means.

And remember, DEF has a practical bent:  the discussion should include solutions not just problems, ie what could DEF actually do about the issues raised?

So any thoughts on the theme of the discussion or on what you would like to see discussed and what theme emerge would be very valuable.  The thoughts above only scratch the surface and may not even be heading in the same direction. Please send suggestions as Comments on this blog over the next week or two.


3 thoughts on “Life in the digital world – Future challenges: what do you think they are?

  1. digitrusteu February 17, 2015 / 10:29 am

    Malcolm, The DEF Board discussed three topical challenges that may play a role in your Panel.
    Let me just bring them in and leave the rest to you:
    1.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.
    2.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.
    3.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.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Robin Wilton February 27, 2015 / 1:46 pm

    Hi Malcolm; interpretations of RTBF, and ethical data handling are definitely both worthy topics. Perhaps you could also consider some foreseeable impacts of the Internet of Things; two perspectives leap to mind: (1) “smart cities” and pervasive monitoring; (2) smart objects and the explosion of metadata.


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