new technologies: A leap into the future

Well, as the last human development report already came out, I already have a copy (thanks Rodrigo), tap the time to comment. And (sorry Rodrigo), but it seems to me that not turn out so well. Three, I believe, are the main problems:

  1. The demand for regulation. The problem is that, in truth, there is not. The data of the survey show that close to 20% believe that each person should do what they want and that 30% believe that there should be legal regulations. The rest (almost half) is still the option that, well, every family to regulate its mode. Now, to gather the legal regulation (collective) with the family, in reality it makes a lot of sense, and hides the fact principal: there is great demand for collective action or public. The matter remains in the private sphere -from which the family is part. Now, this is because -as the Report says – the demand is thought of in terms of moral regulation (a bit like you think the regulation of television) and it is assumed it is part of what concerns the family. Now, in the concern to defend a claim average non-existent regulation, one of the interesting topics about regulation was abandoned: The fact that the regulation that they think the chileans on the Internet have to do with matters moral (what content children can view? let’s say to put it in very concrete terms; that is the same type of discussion that is done on television). And if anything should be clear is that the regulatory issues on the Internet far outweigh the above. Then, the concentration of a moral discussion of the public opinion in Chile is an interesting fact, and by the way, half abandoned in the report (*)
  2. The ambivalence of the opinion. Care must be taken when one analyzes qualitative data that indicate ambivalence about a phenomenon. This is because no one wants to appear as so naïve as to pretend that all is well or as so pessimistic that you don’t recognize anything. Almost always, at least in Chile, the group data indicate that there is an ambivalence, but that is rather a general feature of how to talk about the chilean that something that we information about the topic. And the survey tells us that, basically, there are two types of questions: Where there is no common opinion, and where there is common opinion positive: 69% estimated that the new technologies will bring Chile into the developed countries, 69% that it is a fundamental tool for development, 61% technologies deliver more opportunities than threats. And the population is divided more or less in half if handled alone, the society or the handles, if you will have more power the common people or the technical and scientific, if you will be more dependent or free. Now, that would indicate that -ambivalence and all – there is a base positive opinion. Now, the fact that this is not working has to do, I think, with the third point:
  3. Of the technologies beyond the economic development. All opinions are clearly positive about the technology are, finally, in relation to their contribution to the economic development. And as the leitmotif of the report is to assess the issue beyond that, but from the perspective of the capabilities, human development, etc., it is clear that this data is not useful. Now, in that there is a little successful, to say the least, between the propositional, ideological report (UNDP want Chile to be) of the narrative report (UNDP, discover what Chile is). Because well one can wish, opine, and argue that the technologies should be seen as beyond the GDP, but the case is that one of the opinions is clear the population is used to that. On the rest, in reality there is no clear opinion of the population (**)

There is a fourth topic that I do not finish convincing, but being more theoretical in nature’s best to separate it from the above (which are problems and inadequacies of analysis). And it has to do with the subject of ‘naturalization’. Basically, the report operates with an opposition between processes that are seen as natural processes and are the product of the group’s discussions. When the society manages its destination is when there is a political discussion and collective decision-making. Another thing is to see the processes as if they were natural processes.

Now, I think that in it there is a trap. Every sociologist would immediately agree with: ‘The evolution of technologies is not a product of natural evolution. It is a historical event, conditioned by facts cultural, political and economic specific, mobilized by actors with particular interests and who have particular images about the society‘ (page 209) (***). And would you agree, let’s say our sociologist medium, with the claim on the grounds of empirical, because it would be simply false that the technological development is the product of a natural evolution.

But from there, it does not follow that we have to make collective action reflexive (for which the society ‘reign’ on these processes). The social processes that do not follow the logic of collective action, joint remain social processes. The language does not develop at the point of a large collective decisions (but rather, with multiple separate decisions of multiple agents), and clearly remains a social product -it is conditioned by facts of cultural, political and specific economic (and here you can follow all of the citation of the report). That is, the falsehood that the process is natural it does not follow per se the defense of the reflective action collective.

To put it another way, the opposition between ‘the company controls’ and ‘technologies are handled alone’ is a false opposition, because the processes of technological development are social processes (they are part of ‘the society’). That do not follow the process of collective discussion in public is another thing. But to assume a distinction double (together with the distinction natural / social with the theme of the reflexivity of collective decisions), the Report simply does not discuss all of the possibilities.

(*) Now, nor is it so strange that the Report does not address such possibilities. Because the propositions of regulation of the Report also have the defect come from a look very restricted regulations on the Internet. The third condition (promote regulations that safeguard the rights of the people) is immediately transformed into a regulation to protect us from the dangers of the Internet: ‘Some of the rights of the people can be violated by the expansion of the TECHNOLOGIES and some of their uses can have harmful effects. These risks are layered in two levels, which are related. The first refers to the risks to the individual subjectivity that is the result of some uses of harmful new technologies, derived from the dependency and isolation. The second alludes to the threats to certain rights in the networking world, as the violation of privacy and the possibilities of control, almost permanent, of the people‘ (page 204). Now, what disappears from this discussion is the own NTIC as a space to exercise rights and to the defense of some rights that currently exist with respect to NTIC that could be violated. It says that the regulations must be compatible with the freedom of the people, but this has to do with the limits of the regulation, not with the fact that -in about the issues of legal regulation – perhaps the TECHNOLOGIES were not only a risk.

( * * ), Which by the way we can make the conclusion that if the society is divided on all issues d technology with the single exception of that serve for the economic development, a look at the State that emphasizes economic development is unique in that it reflects consensus in the society. But let’s stop the digression here. What is relevant is that there is a data point that was not analyzed with any property, and that affects the descriptive findings.

(***) Short-hence the quote because the example that gives the UNDP is not the most fortunate. We posed that much of how it was initially the Internet is due to the military interests of defence. But the fact is that, apart from the search for a network that was robust against attacks, there are not many initial characteristics of the Internet that one might think were designed from the defense. In fact, initially the Internet was heavily academic (the web was invented at CERN at the end of the day) and many of its features were arranged around the interests of academic communication: decentralization of the decision-making process (each node decides on its services), the opening of content (each node adds content to your liking, without external control). Non-negligible part of the vulnerability that gives Internet to whoever is connecting is based on that in an academic network, there was little reason to limit the connectivity, and therefore the behavior default was the opening of the connection. Now, it is not the type of things that one associates very clearly to the military.

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