2.7.Digitalisation (2016)Apunte Inglés
Digitalisation and Technological Change
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International Political Structure 2016
2.7. Digitalisation and Technological Change
2.7.1. Some Defining Features
• Increasing importance of information and knowledge: emergence of an "Information (or
knowledge) Society”, with important economic, political and cultural effects and driven by
technology. Replacing the industrial society that was defined by the production of goods and
services, now knowledge and information are the main assets of economic relations.
• Increasing availability of digital and mobile technologies with new products appearing constantly in the market. The appearance of new technology modifies our way of interacting.
now • Technological convergence: older technologies (phone, computer, video) are interconnected, share resources, interact in synergy. Some decades ago, each new set of technology worked independently, now, new technologic devices are interrelated within them (share information — iCloud) and hold different functions (voice, video, computer processes — smartphones).
• Emergence of a "network society", "where the key social structures and activities are organised around electronically-produced information networks" (Manuel Castells). The importance is not the change in technology by itself but the evolution of its impact in social relations, political decission-making, etc.
• Technology becomes pervasive, entering the economy, trade, communication, health, education, everyday life, etc. — and generating new processes and paradigms. E.g. "smart economy", "e-health".
2.7.2. Technological Dimensions of Globalisation a) Technological changes embody several of the defining traits of globalisation: shortening of distances, interconnectedness of process, acceleration. The technological dimension of globalisation is one of the dimensions that is evolving more quickly and with high impact.
b) The technological dimension of globalisation also contributes to the acceleration of changes in other areas (e.g. economy, society, etc.) c) As we all see, technology also plays a role in the experience of political change in globalisation.
2.7.3. Changes in Political Participation I.
Internet allows citizens to take part in discussions that had earlier been restricted to politicians, institutions and media.
II. The "ladder of political participation" widens: participation takes place by tweeting, signing online petitions, discussing in online forums.
III. New opportunities to introduce new issues in the agenda, thanks to "decentralised" production of information. The political discussion becomes horizontal: nowadays it is easier that some citizens introduce new issues in the agenda.
2.7.4. Towards New Forms of Organisation (individual, "liquid") Marta Busquets I.
International Political Structure 2016 Traditional forms of political organisation (political parties, trade unions, some NGO's) lose appeal, whereas more people mobilise around specific, often short-term issues or campaigns.
People increasingly opt for forms of participation and organisation that are more individual, more temporary and that do no require membership.
II. Traditional parties adopt "grassroots" methodologies - e.g. primary elections, internal consultations, openness to non.members.
III. Some social movements become political parties and bring new participation models (e.g.
open-source design of election programmes, online selection of candidates, etc.) 2.7.5. Broadening of Opportunities Where Traditional Media is Controlled I.
In countries where both public and, in they exist, private media are subject to strict government control, Internet may provide a relatively independent space for freedom of expression and mobilisation, e.g. "Arab Spring”.
II. However, this may need to face very restrictive conditions and threats.
2.7.6. More opportunities for effective, accountable and "smart" government I.
When used well, new technologies can contribute to improving accessibility of public information and efficiency of internal procedures and citizen participation and services (“egovernment").
II. This may respond to the increasing demand for transparency and accountability that emerges in many parts of the world.
III. Transparency also enhanced by alternative groups disclosing secret information (e.g.
IV. Availability of information also contributes to the exchange of good practice, methodologies and knowledge between governments, etc 2.7.7. Addressing the “Digital Divide” a) Some parts of the population still have limited access to the Internet - this is worsened by the lack of skills to use technologies.
b) Ultimately, there is a risk that only a few can contribute to online discussions and consultations.
c) Therefore, policies should see equal access and actual use of Internet as an important priority.
2.7.8. Privacy and Control a) "Big data", which combines massive amounts of information, provides excellent opportunities when used well (e.g. improving decision-making).
b) However, information about users' behaviour, situation, etc., when combined, also has important economic value and may be sold — personal data become a merchandise.
c) Users have limited capacity to access, track or challenge how their data are used when these are owned by multinational companies based elsewhere (e.g. Google in the US) Marta Busquets International Political Structure 2016 d) In some countries, access to the Internet or to specific platforms is severely limited by the authorities: for certain periods or to access other contents.
2.7.9. Media Concentration a) In the knowledge economy, some media and technological groups become increasingly big and intervene simultaneously in a wide range of areas (e.g. Facebook, Netflix, Google) b) This leaves limited space for smaller groups and expression which may challenge mainstream views and contents.
c) Again, it is important for both governments (through independent media authorities) and civil society (through NGOs, research groups, etc.) to assess the degree of media concentration and independence and ensure pluralism of views and contents.