Buzziness as usual


The absolute intertwining of our digital and analogue worlds is not reflected in institutional responses.  Here the digital arena is distilled out in strategies that want to create universal digital participation or a ‘world-leading digital economy’.  Is this just another example of the geeks, or rather the geeks employers, looking to lead us by the nose?  Spectacular failures in contracts to digitise this or that bit of military, civic or commercial activity probably have some relation to our willingness to have our views shaped by suppliers.  It is not surprising that the conclusions of reports on digital issue so often sound like those of any other sector, emphasising skills development, education, strategic join up and the need for champions.  

The real challenge comes in considering what digital innovation is for.  Here we have a very real tussle between governments, business and the public with the cultural and creative industries at the sharp end.  Progressing universal physical access to the web is probably amenable to partnerships and agreements between the consumer, public £, and business.  The right of access to the information it holds is more intractable, under increasing threat from both political and business interests in various parts of the world, and creaking copyright or licensing regimes can’t cope.  Should cultural and creative organisations and businesses defend their intellectual property at all costs, or do new markets and better societies result from widening citizens rights to access digital material?     Image: Mauricio Estrella. Licenced under Creative Commons.


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