Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ A new national purpose - what if government was organised around science and technology?

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

We get this sentiment expressed in education as well, so it's not surprising to read about it in  the New National Purpose report (64 page PDF) from Tony Blair and William Hague. And you might think I'd be supportive of such a proposal; after all, that's exactly where I work. But not so much, because I see stuff like this every day: "The institutions of the state need not only to catch up with commercial companies in terms of offering a better and more seamless digital user experience, but there also needs to be some meaningful political leadership efforts to organise things so that the benefits of tech are shared more equitably and securely (and the risks mitigated, too)." And this thinking fails because of a key point: science and technology is not a democracy. And, for that matter, neither are business and industry. And so you can't rely on these institutions to address matters that can only be addressed through democratic processes (not the least of which are based around human factors, ethical intent and purpose, social justice, equity and security).

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jun 18, 2024 11:38 a.m.

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