Monday, March 1, 2010

Proposed talk at the Institute for the Study of Knowledge in Society (ISKS) in University of Limerick

I have been invited to give a talk at the  Institute for the Study of Knowledge in Society (ISKS) in the University of Limerick on Tuesday March 9th as part of the series of talks entitled "Confronting the Crisis". The topic I have been asked to speak about is "Can technloogy help solve the current crisis?". This blog post is an attempt to outline what I will speak about and to solicit feedback in advance from my colleagues.

Initially was very unsure about whether or not to accept this invitation, because the subject matter is not really within my core expertise. In addition, when I listened to the recordings of the previous sessions I realized that the speakers were mainly eminent professors whose talks were littered with phrases like "as I said my latest book" -as a result I was worried that I might not be able to do myself proud. However, after reflection I decided that I have opinions to express and it would be silly to waste this chance to have them heard. I hope that with the assistance of my peers I will be able to come up with an interesting an thought provoking talk.

The topics that I intend to cover are:
  • Ireland's historical context:
    • Legacy of colonialism and the lingering inferiority complex
    • Desire for a safe job as distinct from a fulfilling career.
    • The obsession with ownership of physical assets
  • The international context
    • The ongoing debate between socialist and free-market philosophies. 
    • How the cold war experience led us to believe we needed to choose Boston or Berlin
    • How the tendency for economists to put numbers on all measurements of value can lead us to confuse value and money
    • How services are becoming much more important than manufacturing or other physical production
  • Developments in the Information Technology sphere which have wider impacts
    • How open source has moved from "social good" to a hard nosed business strategy
    • How the internet and the world-wide-web have disrupted business models:
      • New business models based upon giving stuff away free
      • Possible to outsource smaller chunks of work
      • Economy of reputation
    • How web 2.0 style collaboration is changing the nature of large multi national enterprises
    • Information technology becoming more ubiquitous
      • A flood of data from sensors makes a Smarter Planet possible.
      • A radical change in what we think of as computing devices
      • Free access to the internet is being equated to free speech
I will reference the following sources (I may need to refresh my memory by re-reading some of them):
Are there any additional topics that I ought to cover or additional references that I should read before finalising my talk? Any comments or feedback would be much appreciated.

1 comment:

  1. Brian,

    This looks great to me. My one suggestion is to focus a bit more on some of the policy-related documents you have on your reading list. I would be very interested to hear how realistic you think some of the more ambitious policy goals are and whether we are taking realistic measures to achieve them (perhaps the 'smart economy' document should be among them). Obviously, given the topic, I would be interested in particular to know your views on the role they see for ICTs.

    Professor Peadar Kirby,
    Director, Institute for the Study of Knowledge in Society (ISKS)
    Professor of International Politics and Public Policy,
    Department of Politics and Public Administration,
    Member, Governing Authority,
    University of Limerick,
    Limerick, Ireland