San Francisco, CA – At the Supernova 2009 conference, Adam Greenfield of Nokia gave a talk about the future networked city. More humans now live in cities than ever before. But the cities withing which new technologies are being developed and tested (San Francisco, New York, London…) are different from developing urban environments where most of the people are – Rio, Lagos, new emerging cities in China, and so forth. There are a number of consequences to this.
Are we thinking about this? Are technologists thinking about this? Are governments? Adam pointed out that advertising campaigns can seem awfully geared towards an upscake, white, educated elite, yet most urban conditions don’t match up to that envisioned standard.
This dovetails with government missions, particularly in other countries where the military, the State Department, USAID, and other groups like the Red Cross or World Bank may be involved. What is the relationship between information and communications technology (ICT), reconstruction operations or emerging markets/democracies, and the new tech that’s largely being developed in the Western world.
In a different talk today at Supernova 2009, Microsoft researcher danah boyd (@zephoria) commented that online social networks like MySpace and Twitter give us a public window into other people’s lives. We have the right to look, but do we know how to properly interpret what we see? Can we properly understand someone’s MySpace profile through their eyes, through their community’s collective eyes?
Social networks are a wonderful opportunity to see into worlds different than our own. But humans, a tribal species, tend to associate with people like ourselves. The irony is that many people most evangelistic about developing the tools may be the least likely to peer into the lives of the average people – in the U.S. and around the world – who could use them to improve their lives and their communities.
The application of social tools and other emerging technologies to people in developing economies and in stabilization and reconstruction operations, in my view, is an important and underdeveloped topic in Government 2.0 discussions.
Follow #sn09 on Twitter for real-time comments from Supernova 2009 attendees for the next few days.
Submit ideas about Gov 2.0, ICT, and cities (or other topics) to the upcoming Gov 2.0 Expo at http://gov2expo.com – as co-chair, I welcome them!
Posted via email from Mark’s Cheeky Posterous