A colleague (Jerry Fishenden) has been working on one of the most complex challenges we face – ensuring a proper, balanced understanding of the potential for technology in a modern society.
This sounds simple, but let me tell you it isn’t. This is about trying to get policymakers to think beyond today’s headlines but more importantly about imbuing technology in everything we do. Jerry’s made a great start on the journey and his first draft provides some focus for the first of the key elements – Health and Education. You can join the debate and download the document here…
I’ve been talking with Jerry over the past few months about this initiative and in particular have been discussing more around some other key areas of focus around Sustainability, Transportation and the Built Environment.
As a starter for this conversation let’s jump on the Sustainability bandwagon, (why not? everyone else has…) but in all seriousness, I am getting pretty concerned that the general view of Sustainability and the Environment is so narrow (i.e. only CO2 emissions), I think we run a significant risk of getting this disastrously wrong.
It is imperative that society takes a systemic view to the overall impact of their activities (work and play) on the environment, and in order to achieve this, we need to provide a way for individuals and organisations to have a much better sense on the impact they are having.
That systemic approach however, will be difficult for many to comprehend – it needs to massively broaden our understanding of the components of the problem such that we can start to think about how elements like, clean water, electrical power, heating, cooling, compaction of waste, use of CO2 for food/fuel production not to mention the role for micro-biology and nano technology all have a part to play in both the problem and the solution. If we are able to do this, I think we may be in a much better position to spot key opportunities for example – community (or even domestic) based micro-generation such that policy makers can start to devise appropriate incentives and funding/payback models to enable their adoption.
Technology has a fundamental role to play in helping a modern society achieve it’s sustainability goals, but we”re not going to get there by talking about “virtualisation” and power saving “features” (see also IT Sustainability Impact post)
There’ll be more to follow on this and other key topics in Jerry’s Digital “Manifesto” – be sure to keep any eye on Jerry’s blog…