Today and tomorrow, the Boston Globe is hosting quite a cool conference: IDEAS Boston. The best way to follow it, perhaps needless to say, is through the weblog. Berkman fellow David Weinberger and Scott Kirsner are official bloggers on respective days. So far, I’ve been struck by the 1) global focus of the speakers (Gloria White-Hammond devoted her talk to the Sudan crisis) and 2) less surprising, the dominance of the health-related sciences.
I read your comment at Ideas Boston which I saw (I must admit) printed in the Globe; alas, even in the democratization of communication, we need to pay attention to the old medias power to reach civil society! I believe that the Berkman Center is doing great work in using the internet to seed democracy into the culture of the internet. Thanks from all of us!
Here’s my comment!
Transforming democracy through the internet will require cross cultural consensus building communication skills – and a way to connect people globally that permits “secure” communication and a “vetting” process; in sum, a way where people from different cultures can learn to “trust” each other and achieve a consensus of what are the new terms of engagement for an emerging global society.
With all the betrayals by governments and multinationals coming to light in our world, the internet gives civil society a chance to become politically active to confront these problems; we have a clean slate on the internet where we can talk about and bring to life a new social contract which begets a human right for all humans to live democratically and in peace with each other. Simply put, if we choose to civil society has the power reinvent law and how we are governed by collaborating with each other in cyberspace.
In this vision, lawyers have a special obligation to make sure that the value of living in a global society ordered by law is a bedrock principle of the new social contract. We need to start by encouraging civil society to become more aware of the risks and opportunities that the internet means to us today. We can make certain that the renaissance occurring around us brings peaceful times to our globe by leading the way to “democratize” communication to find out what are our shared values. I hope that we find that the desire for all the world’s peoples to want to live in peace with each other is at the core of our beliefs and that this will allow a democracy to flourish in our lifetimes.
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