What is a "Digital Renaissance"?

The First Renaissance

Re-naissance explicitly means re-birth and is the term we use for the period between 14th-17th century in European history an explosion in knowledge and religious Reformation took Europe from an anarchic Middle-ages to Modern History and the Industrial Age.

Even though many sciences and cultural elements developed rapidly in this period, especially natural sciences blossomed with scientific methods and the emphasis on experiments replacing redefining many of the former assumptions originating in Religion and other source of more or less superstitious beliefs.

The best example was perhaps in Astronomy where the God-centric description of the Universe was gradually changed by observation - Earth became round and no longer center in the universe. But it took an Inquisition and several hundred years of suffering before the Church had changed its doctrine and accepted facts. On major reason was that it was not only a battle on belief, but also a battle of worldly power - the Church and the powers relaying on the Church feared if Faith and Church power in society would survive such blows to the religious explanations of the Universe.

What is the second Digital Renaissance about?

The first Renaissance was primarily about an explosion in Natural Sciences leading to massive technical development across almost all sectors with Internet, satellites and wireless communication as just some of the latest developments.

The Second Renaissance is in many ways a result of the first - both its achievements and what was lacking.

The second Renaissance is more oriented towards the Social Sciences that has lacked serious after the natural sciences. Advanced technological development have lacked the critical guidelines in especially economics, security and attention to both the physical climate and social stability. This has lead to a situation where almost all areas are under extreme pressure from technology structured designed with a short-term and unsustainable agenda screaming for new solutions that cannot be merely more of the same.

  1. The climate and global resources have comer under extreme pressure from production processes that fail to incorporate the true cost of recycling. We already see climate change, but soon-to-come is huge problems related to resource depletion which urgently require new economic structures.
  1. In economics, commercial profiling of consumers and providers have almost reversed market processes so consumer are increasingly the product sold to provides being blackmailed by abuse of winner-takes-all market power.
  1. Technology standards and large technological structures such as Government are designed so that they cannot change dynamically but actively prevent change, choice and severely worsen to problems related to concentration of risk and power.
  1. In security, the unsustainable focus on surveillance have ignored that such structures and lack of resilience create interdependence and scaling risk problems. Putting all eggs logically into the same basket network basket makes everything more vulnerable and as the value of utilizing such structure for non-legitimate power and profit si creating ever-bigger security failures.
  1. With the technological achievements came tools for controlling the masses and effective violence. It created doctrines of the Industrial age related to Communism, Fascism, but also the re-emergence of Religious Fundamentalism. Worst of all is perhaps the developments since the fall of the Iron Curtain across Europe and Internet which - having initially assumed to bring freedom and knowledge to everyone - turned out to be perhaps the ultimate nightmare as each and every citizen became the target of system surveillance and control from both commercial and government forces. When future historians label the period from 1990-2020, one of the likely age-label is something like "Neo-feudalism".

The Second Digital Renaissance is about re-eventing social sciences to regain a basic understanding of the fundamentals.

Many of the doctrines enforced in the industrial age stands to fall in the Digital Age because net changes many of the former models fundamentally and profoundly.

The second Digital Renaissance is mainly about changes in social sciences and how these structures will need to regain position to govern natural sciences or how principles needs to begin dictating technology as otherwise technology design dictate principles.

Fields such as security, economics, innovation and basic rights needs to be revisited as the old model many dating more than 80-100 back can no longer provide a meaningful understanding and guide actions.

The second Digital Renaissance is about re-empowering individual free will as both the normative and goal goal - as such the second Digital Renaissance is an essentially Humane transformation where scientists, bureaucrats and others will regain and incorporate the respect of people and sustainable progress.

KNOWLEDGE may be neutral, but technology design is not neutral. Technology design and especially digital technology design implement and enforce principles, so we better start realizing what principles we want and make principles sufficiently precise to guide and be enforced in technology design.

Two simple examples of profound changes to come.

  1. In Economics, the neo-classical models will fall.

Not because we have a better econometric model to replace them, but due to the realization that free will and free choice play such a critical role in real growth due to the Law of Increasing Citizen Profit even though unquantifiable.

We need to refocus on empowering choice even though it means accepting that we CANNOT and even SHOULD NOT - and most likely never will - predict change as that is trying to design a future while in reality we prevent the future from happening. Just as the Industrial Age was not the result of plans, China blossomed when free initiative was set loose instead of trying to design it from a central economic control.

This does NOT mean that political choice have no role and especially not that data analysis, but that it is wrong to believe in the Econometric Good as real growth depends on change in a complex world and that we need to actively PREVENT the primary threat of making citizens transparent and thus controllable.

This is NOT part of an ideological political agenda as wealth redistribution is othorgonal to value chains. The essential learning is to separate political choices from assuring that free choice works as the ONLY driver of continuous growth and ensuring the critical role competition to drive creation of Citizen Profit and value.

  1. In Security, the Surveillance approach will fall.

Not because perfect security is achievable, but because Surveillance is creating risks and the source of all the problems that we try to prevent.

Net 2.0 was a fraud

Published on Thursday, July 31 2014 by SE2425-GANDI