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Is the blockchain party already over?

5 December 2018

Many have been asking this question since last December, since when Bitcoins appear to know only one direction – downwards. Some even predict a “death-spiral” to 0! Moreover, also Initial Coin Offerings, short ICOs, that were still highly praised early this year, can’t find investors anymore. If you only look at this, you sure get the impression there’s some truth to it.

However, Blockchain is much more than that. When you look towards Asia for instance, you will find many blockchain projects that are already successfully “up and running”. Also, in the US and Europe many good projects are shaping up: In health, for the supply chain, as passport systems identifying products or persons. Identity Management is the new buzz word here. The potential impact of blockchain is immense and strongly bottling up. Within the media and entertainment industry, I know about some fine projects to change the eco-system.

Some got delayed because they wanted to raise their funds via an ICO – and now are looking for other sources and will start next year. So, ICO is truly dead? I doubt it, at least not in the longer perspective. It got killed when, after the first highly successful ICOs, many shabby projects flooded the market with investors losing most of their investments. More cautious analysis of projects and new rules will eventually cause a turnaround. The advantages of the model are just too promising to refrain from using it in long run.

With bitcoins it’s pretty much the same. Their numbers of coins within one currency are strictly limited, this avoids inflation. However, by introducing other crypto currencies, over 1,000 today, this positive effect got distorted, some bank analysts state. Well, when you look at bitcoins, you’ll see that today’s value is still above the year 2017 average, therefore there remains a strong possibility for bitcoins to rise again. It’s all about trust and how to create – or destroy it.

However, I would prefer another scenario. I would prefer, if volatility of the cryptos would stop and the valuable changes would stay in moderate corridors. Then, at last, cryptos can be used as a normal currency. Who pays his everyday goods with cryptos or who accepts them under the threat of immense value gains or losses over the next few days or weeks? Stable currencies, that would be a big step forward! I fear, that’s only wishful thinking.

What about the Bitcoin “Death-Spiral”? Of course, nobody can rule that out completely. However, at least in the long run, this could be for the benefit of competing currencies.

 

 


 

“Diversity“ – A mega trend?

20 November 2018

We are talking a lot about so-called mega trends. These are trends that will determine our global society for the next couple of years. Artificial intelligence, for instance, has been identified to be one of these trends. That’s easy to understand. But “Diversity”?

Photo credit: “mipcom”

Yes, it is! Diversity, that is not only the diversity of cultures and races. In today’s definition it also includes the diversity of sexes, genders and lifestyles. It includes the handicapped as well as - well, you name it! It describes the diversity of the world. Yes, it’s colorful and the more globalized our world is getting the more this issue will gain momentum and importance.

Of course, each trend has its opposite, shaking our everyday politics with intolerance and so-called protectionism, in the long-run very likely causing the opposite – instability in economics and society. Therefore, to talk about diversity is important, making it a true mega trend.

Companies do realize it, like trade show organizer Reed Midem. During this year’s TV content market mipcom Reed Midem for the second time, at the Cannes Carlton, hosted the Diversify TV Excellence Award initiated by Diversity TV, a group of professionals mostly with African background only three years ago. Of course, Reed Midem backs the initiative for marketing reasons. However, you only use trends for your marketing that you expect to improve your business. Supporting diversity makes the world prosper!

We should make sure diversity is widely recognized as a mega trend!

 


 

Social Media kills democracy?

9 October 2018

Quite a few scientific surveys conclude, and politicians mourn social media like Facebook would kill democracy. So-called filter bubbles would only allow news to reach the individual that he already believes in, so he couldn’t be reached with real news anymore.

As a matter of fact: filter bubbles are nothing new, the algorithm only supports the reader (or user) to easier find his preferred content! I know people in the old days that only bought the daily newspaper to read the sports pages. They too could not be reached with more sophisticated content.

Some may remember the term “Bar room talk”- very similar to today’s “hate and populist speech” in the net - that was when people talked in pubs about politics usually not agreeing with mainstream opinion. In fact, in this case there were two types of (analog) filter bubbles: The “mainstream” one and the bar room one.

The first successfully made believe that everybody – more or less – was in line with official politics, the second contradicted that what was split up in numerous “cells” across the country. Of course, social media makes a difference now! Bar room cells now realize having some power and they speak up and are heard while the main stream is suddenly aware of a threat and doesn’t know how to cope with it.

Is this a danger to democracy? No, I don’t think it is! We need to learn how to tackle the situation. This can’t be by banning so-called hate speech by installing technical filters deleting unwanted opinions from the social platforms. History proves this strategy wrong. It never worked. Moreover, this indeed could be the first step for democrats killing democracy!

Let’s rather lean back and try to find arguments to defend our values and the majority! That’s how democracies should tackle this challenge! That’s no a easy task for sure, but democracy never was easy…

 


 

Blockchain and data protection

10 September 2018

I often wrote about sense or nonsense of the current global data protection hype in this column. I do it again because quite a few – older, I must admit – digital natives don’t believe in the success of blockchain technology. “It’s killed by data protection”, they believe. True enough, under the European GDPR rules individuals must be granted the right of deleting data stored about them at any time. However, you can’t delete data once it is stored in the blockchain!

“Our blockchain services don’t require to store personal data”, I was told by a manager of a big international tech company. So, this is a solution, only to create services that don’t need sensitive data? I don’t think so! This would mean many innovative services can’t be developed. For instance, I’m thinking about passport or health services that, in the future, could allow you to travel without conventional passports or get perfect medical treatment wherever you are, also on emergency sites and even when traveling through the Kalahari Desert.

Of course, this would require lots of sensitive data to be stored in the blockchain, your fingerprint or biometric info, for instance, or your medical records. Data protection activists around the globe keep campaigning against storing this information on passports or so-called health cards. They fear governments, corporations or criminals could use this for the individuals’ disadvantage – mildly speaking. On the other hand, if this data could be accessed anywhere, of course, only by the relevant peer group, public services or emergency medical care could be improved a lot.

From all we can tell now it’s very hard, if not impossible, to hack the blockchain. Of course, that’s for the time being. We don’t know how it will be with much faster computers already in development. Indeed, there is risk. Innovation always includes risk! Any invention can be used for the good or the bad! Is that a reason to abandon innovation? With this attitude we would still be stuck in the stone ages! And from experience: Innovation never could be stopped! Delayed, yes, but never stopped.

What does this mean for the blockchain? Well, everybody should draw their own conclusion!


Migration out of Africa

7 August 2018

Populist movements in the ‘old world’ do profit a lot from heating up the fear of millions of Africans willing to come to Europe to improve their personal situations. True: there is a willingness to migrate and to take the risk of life to seek the promised land. And sure enough, it has to do with mistakes culminating from the past and from missed opportunities to improve the situation. So, is there really a dark wave looming up in front of European shores? I prefer a much more positive scenario!

(Photo: pixabay.com)

Recently, I have been talking to young people based in the Nigerian melting pot Lagos, representing very ambitious startups ready to take on the world. They have no notion to leave Nigeria, in the contrary, they want to create the best for themselves and their country from inside their country. And I know about similar ambitions in other African countries.

Africa is full of highly intelligent and ambitious young people, picking up new technologies fast. It will take time, of course! And there is a long and steep road ahead. However, the seed has been planted: Africa could become a global innovation hub. And the good thing: It is being created from within the African soul, no outside support is needed. Well, better, of course, if there is support. This would speed up things and the dark wave on Europe looming in some minds will disappear. Let’s work on this vision to become true and let’s forge an alliance for the better of Africa and the entire world.

Supporting investments must be made for the right projects. This could cause a problem because it requires a specific perspective. No doubt, Europe needs to alter its perspective on Africa. Sometimes I really like to repeat myself: The seed has already been planted – by Africans themselves! That alone is good news!

 

 


 

Blockchain, cryptos and trust

17 July 2018

Is it a hype? Yes, it is! Regardless the potential of this great technology and the speeding change connected with it – now there are a lot of projects with the mere purpose of making quick money. However, we all know there is nothing like quick money, at least not in the long run.

(Photo: pixabay.com)

A lot of the investors in ICOs, Initial Coin Offerings, a decentralized way to finance projects, in some way like a traditional IPO, are endangered of losing their investment entirely. The power behind the ICOs is trust they create the value of tokens and crypto currencies. Faced with widespread losses the investors will lose trust not only in the weak projects. The danger is that also good projects will suffer badly once the bubble bursts.

Moreover, traditional banks and finance institutions, not to mention states that don’t like the idea of losing influence in a decentralized world driven by blockchain are likely to use fading trust in alternative models to promote and stabilize their traditional ones. Does that mean the area of blockchain is already in danger of dying without being off the blocks yet?

No! Currencies, Tokens and ICOs are only one side of the medal. Projects in other fields, like in e-government or passport services for arts, real estate or collectors…, may be slowed down only a bit and for a while but will be the first to recover and return to full strength of changing our society. However, if our scenario hits the markets, ICOs will have a hard time and - worst case – they may disappear – at least for some time.

Again, I’m convinced that even in that worst-case-scenario they will come back, possibly via existing running blockchain projects of high reputation that will try to finance expansion via an ICO. Through the trust in these projects, step by step, also the trust in ICOs would be reestablished. The return would be a mature one. And maturity is what the markets and our societies need!

 


Who started that “war“?

18 June 2018

Indeed, President of the United States Donald Trump introduced a completely new way of diplomacy, very frankly stating his “America First” doctrine. However, this trade war with the European Union, EU – if it is really going to happen – is Trump the only one to blame? Who came up first with the idea of duty like obstructions?

(Photo: pixabay.com)

It’s especially the big US tech conglomerates like Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon who dominate the European IT and internet market, making huge profits while paying almost zero taxes in Europe. Therefore, the idea of a special VAT, designed for US conglomerates with gross revenues of over €50 million was born. Well, it’s not a duty, it’s a tax, however, the result is pretty much the same. It’s not in place yet, but the idea has been discussed for a while and we can be sure this was watched very carefully in the US, both by corporations and authorities.

It makes no difference, that it was not designed as a duty and that it is meant to overcome the disadvantages of an unharmonized tax system within the EU. Google, for instance, has its European headquarter in Ireland where it must pay the tax for all its European revenues. It has chosen Ireland because it was promised extremely low tax rates. The formerly poor country draws a huge benefit from it because of the creation of jobs and infrastructure investments, while partner countries in the EU are left with nothing.

Moreover, the General Data Protection Regulation was installed to put a leash on hungry data collectors from the US. It increases costs for Facebook and Google for their European operations, yes, but it also backfires especially on smaller companies and startups within Europe that are slowed down in bringing innovation to the market. The new e-privacy directive expected to be in place next year, is going to make it worse for both, international companies acting in the EU and local ones.

From the outside perspective all that matters is that authorities are installing obstructions that prevent US companies from acting as freely as before or, at least, that it will be more expensive for them to do so. Of course, there is a big difference in the orchestration of the Trump administration. But it is not so easy to blame only one side for the new direction. The EU should solve its internal and structural problems in a different way, through reforming the Union, something that’s been overdue for a while, in order not to provide arguments to those in favor of a trade war which, eventually, will harm the entire globe.

 

 


 

Protecting your data, innovation killer or necessity?

21 May 2018

The Facebook data “scandal” was only the tip of an iceberg. Data protection is one of the most hyped issues with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), already introduced two years ago, but after a grace period only now binding for everybody! It creates lots of extra bureaucracy for every country and for every individual doing business – not only in Europe. It is binding worldwide when you have any business in Europe. Not only European politicians foster the idea to make “our high standards of data protection our business model for the digital world and to export it globally”.

(Photo: pixabay.com)

To succeed in the digital world has very much to do with leaving one’s comfort zone and to open up to completely new models and a much faster pace of life. Data Protection in many cases is not much more than protecting the comfort zone and old behavior. Therefore, it will rather backfire especially on Europe. Sticking to these rules will rather slow down innovation. And industries and founders are not only faced with tech driven speeding up competition in every field but are also hindered to respond to it because of a restrictive legal framework.

Don’t get me wrong, there needs to be some kind of legal framework and protection to provide a level playing field for individuals AND corporations. However, the definition of what “privacy” is differs depending of what part of the world you are in. Moreover, the understanding of the term is changing, driven by global communication. Young people and their behavior in the web is often described as careless by elders. No, it’s different and often very pragmatic. Of course, we only hear about those who are careless and the problems they create for themselves.

Let’s take a step back and analyze first a minimum standard for a new privacy understanding. This will not be easy. In the long run protecting your comfort zone will not stop the global change we are facing, but it will slow down innovation and a new balance in a changed world!


Facing Mr. Evil

17 April 2018

This kind of shitstorm was to be expected at some point and Facebook is in its biggest crisis now. But let’s look at what really happened. A service provider forwarded Facebook user data illegally to their client Cambridge Analytica who used it in a highly questionable manner. Facebook’s mistake was that of not communicating in a transparent way and missing to close the breach. Let us try to analyze the harm done. CA was able to define people that could be accessible for the Trump message, so they could be addressed directly. Well, they would have received the message anyway, one way or another since they were open for the arguments.

(Photo: pixabay.com)

I’m very sceptic on how reliable personal profiles really are that you can create off social media data. People lie on Facebook and liking a page does not really mean that you are open to this subject. Most of my likes are because I want to support a friend without knowing the band or the organization – and I never take a closer look at it. Profiles created out of that data therefore are not reliable since a significant share of social media profiles is not reliable.

Of course, it was a mistake that should never have happened and as it did, Facebook should at least have been more transparent immediately. Now to quit Facebook or to demand shut down of the entire service is just overdoing things once more. Facebook – and other social media – has become part of our lives. The company will react and it is very likely that Facebook will rise stronger from the ashes. And users should do what they should have done from the very beginning: Being careful what to post and who to let it see! Because no system is perfect, and leaks can always happen – and there are always those who want to take advantage of it.

 


 

Blockchain, Cryptos and Licensing of Content (or any good)

14 March 2018

No doubt: There has been (and still is) a lot of hype around crypto currencies like Bitcoin. However, when reading recent commentaries in various media comparing todays situation to the Dutch Tulip Mania in the 17th century it seems obvious that these commentators may not have fully understood what Blockchain, the technology behind cryptos, is about. The statement in the end cryptos will be dead but blockchain will survive for the operation of transaction platform. That’s true only to some degree and yes, the Kodak share sky-rocked after the company’s announcement to issue their own currency!

However, the news was not about the coin, it was about the trading platform for photographers. The coin is “only” there to allow real time transactions also transferring the agreed price for a photo – from a few eurocents to bigger amounts for package deals – in real time: Contract signed, money in the right holder’s wallet! Therefore, transaction platforms only make full sense with a coin connected to them.

Of course, in today’s hype period there is a problem and I would say it’s a big one: Volatility! Why should I give away my Bitcoins (or any other crypto) when I expect its value to double, let’s say, in the next six months? On the other hand, why should I accept a payment in crypto if it’s losing value in the foreseeable future.

As long as the hype is hot it will be hard to establish a full blockchain based trading (or transaction) platform. However, it is only a question of time that it will happen. Attempts of regulation have just been started. Of course, there will be detours and delays. It will take time, however, also cryptos are here to stay!

 

 


 

Media and Advertising

14 February 2018

We took a peep into the future of advertising this February when RTAd Ltd, part of Iocono Holdings from London, became Global Media Innovator, GMI 2018. RTAd Ltd are marketing the highly advanced “Adgile” suite of software products, allowing the production and distribution of AV advertising in real time and to run entire Infomercial channels all around the clock, changing product and price info in real time.

Photo: iocono CEO Simon Ingram (left), Ulrike Bolenz, the artist that contributed her art for the 3rd time for the Innovator and Dieter Brockmeyer, DC Chairman Global Media Forum.

Advertising surrounds us, and it influences us a lot, often without us realizing it. This is not limited to our capitalistic societies. In dictatorships it is state propaganda and often it is much more direct and aggressive.

Advertising, regardless of where you experience it, is subversive and the technology behind it is even more so. You simply see what it does and therefore often the impact this technology has remains invisible.

It is the concept behind the GMI to make the impact of a start-up’s technology or concepts visible for a wider audience and to support the start-up in creating a better world. V-Nova, our first Innovator in 2016, is a video compression pioneer. Usually, we only see the great quality of video streams on our big entertainment screens at home or on our mobile devices – and Emblematic Group, the following year’s Innovator, pioneered in bringing Virtual Reality into TV documentaries. Again, we only experience the results of the finished products.

Iocono’s CEO, Simon Ingram, made the point that good advertising can have quite a positive impact on our societies. One stunning project was to send out personalized messages with individual warnings of drunk driving via the Adgile Play module.

Our business and social settings are disrupted globally. Let’s continue to direct this change for the world’s better!

 

 


 

Media, Innovation and Global Impact

16 January 2018

This column is about change: Ongoing change driven by technology altering the way we work, make money and our ways as social beings… It all happens at a continuously increasing speed – it seems – and nobody knows where it will end. I’m sure that most people do not even have the faintest idea how ground shaking this change will be.

Nevertheless, people are increasingly afraid and look suspiciously at new gimmicks. Others don’t bother to be scared, adopting all new gimmicks without reflecting implications. There is a last group reflecting new developments and trying to use them for the good of mankind. However, the sceptics seem to be taking the lead. Fact is there will be shockwaves before, hopefully, the benefits will be experienced by everybody.

But what does it have to do with the media industry? Media (including music and entertainment) is content, and content is data! Therefore, this industry was the first to be disrupted and this is still going on: Changing and often unclear business models. Moreover, there is the Fake News debate and the lost trust in media particularly in the worrying part of our societies. How can media be expected to live up to its global responsibility to guard our societies and peace, or control governments and lobbying organizations? Again, it is an ongoing struggle – within and outside the industry.

That’s why it is important to send out positive signals. That’s what the Diplomatic Council’s Global Media Innovator, GMI, is about: On one hand to bring positive innovation into the light, not the best funded but simply those with the biggest potential of global impact and positive disruption, and not only within media. Moreover, it is meant to foster the wide debate on innovation and the future shape of our societies. It’s still a long way to go, but we’ll do it!
(More to come in next month’s column when the GMI2018 has been announced…)

 


Successor Ante Portas?

 

14 December 2017

When recently surfing along the internet in research mode I stumbled across two items – not connected to each other at first glance. On Artificial Intelligence (AI): Singularity, the moment computers are on the same level with human brains, is likely to be reached in 26 years. WOW! On Global Warming: Men will not be able to stop global warming since Siberian and Canadian permafrost leaks will submit a multitude of methane emissions into our planet’s atmosphere that exceeds the amount by which humans can decrease their CO2 footprint. Therefore, already in 50 years our planet could be uninhabitable with a poisoned atmosphere similar to the one of Venus!

Let’s merge both scenarios: In 26 years computers will learn from each other, repair and improve themselves and knowledge may rise exponentially. Men will no longer be needed. However, following the logic of these two scenarios, the much-liked topic of Science Fiction writers and film makers of the war between men and machine will not materialize. It’s not required since we are extinguishing ourselves - though not before creating our high-tech successor that’s from now on ruling an inhabitable planet.
To make it clear at this point: I do not believe in that scenario! Long term projections always failed in the past. Processes are way too complex to be on target. There are also experts claiming that the algorithm will never be able to fully compete with the human brain. However, “the long-term projections” are not really that long-term anymore.

The shorter the time-frame, the higher the likelihood that reality get close to at least some of the projections. We better watch out!

 

 

Diversity – what?

17 November 2017

I bump into a lot of industry initiatives. Not many of them are noteworthy. This one is!

Two years ago, I was invited by a friend to a small cocktail reception during one of the trade shows I regular attend. David was in a Q&A about his experience of being a black CEO with a Nigerian background in Europe and in the US.

Photo: Miss Zion Moreno hosting the awards

This was the premiere of Diversity TV and it had appeared to me as an initiative to support the development of the African TV sector. It is much more than that! This October, for the first time, the Diversity TV Award was presented at a small but very nice gala event at the Carton Hotel in Cannes during this year’s mipcom.

You’re still wrong when you believe it’s about racial diversity. The span is set much wider.  

The initiative aims at championing diversity, equality and inclusivity on the small screen and at improving the representation of racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities. It’s about to become a strong voice for tolerance in a changing world!

And Africa has a loud voice in it. Mo Abudu of Nigeria’s Ebony Live TV and Inspire Africa was a sponsor of the award and presenter of one of the categories. I wish the team behind Diversity TV - only to name Scorpion TV’s David Cornwall and Bunmi Akintonwa of Little Black Book Company – great success. What you do is important, not only for Africa or all the world and not only when captured on these screens in our living rooms or on our mobiles!

Above all, I should not forget to thank you, David Ellender of Sonar Entertainment, for this important invitation two years ago!

 


 

Balance of the Worlds

16 October 2017

Huge vertical farm complexes – many stories high, meat, synthesized in huge factories, all in direct neighborhood to the huge megapolises where also big production plants produce any product to support our lives.

Due to artificial intelligence, AI, experts believe that production will return to the places where consumers live, the so-called developed countries, since it no longer requires an expensive workforce. This will have a huge impact on our environment and very well shake up lesser developed countries but also the logistics industry.

Large vessels or cargo planes carrying giant amounts of goods all around the globe and polluting our atmosphere could soon be a memory from the past. Also, a likely scenario is that millions of workers in lesser developed countries (and not only there) will lose their jobs. Because of the poor, and not seldom, dangerous working conditions some may consider this to be a good thing, forgetting to mention the fact that this work is often the only income for large families.

On the other hand, this could provide the opportunity for some countries to re-develop their local farming and production forms to feed their own populations instead of producing sometimes redundant goods for the “developed world”!

The crystal ball usually remains blurred on the future! Only time will show what it will really look like. We only know there will be immense change and impact! However, it’s worth (and necessary) to analyze the indicators. That’s the only way to anticipate possible scenarios and avoid the bad and foster the good.

However, one thing seems to be obvious: The challenges of the very near and more distant future will be immense!


Censorship defending Democracy?

9 September 2017

The good thing about the current Fake News debate is that we can no longer ignore the problem of radical views in our societies. That’s the first step to finding solutions! This cannot be censorship because that would be hiding the problem again! There is no covering up in digital networks. Radical communications would be hidden again, nevertheless be quite effective. Today, many of these radical activists can be heard much louder than ever, and many who hadn’t expressed their discomfort and fears before are now doing so. Their discomfort opens them to alternative and fake news sources. This creates a spiral that can’t be stopped with bans. In the contrary: Why do you ban anything when it is nonsense?

We must return to the values of our democracies including open debate of ALL opinions, even if we feel hurt. I’m sure we have plenty of arguments and the better ones! By excluding opinions, we prepare the ground for more radicalism, in the worst case we wove it into mainstream. Even worse, our defending democracy may itself bury the freedom it stands for.

We must leave our comfort zones and argue rather than cover up. There are many references to the pre-WW I and II period from clever minds. We are in times of rapid change and many have already lost their comfort or social status. There’s similarity, for sure! However, we are living in a different environment: Then, international relations were limited to the elites. Today there is mass tourism and most business is international. Then, wars still were considered to be „Ultima Ratio“. Today, most people are aware of the consequence of a new world conflict. We have the chance to avoid the fatal mistake of our ancestors.


Fake News and Democracy

15 August 2017

It’s a pest indeed, the sudden rise of so-called fake news distributed via the internet and social media channels trying to influence public opinion. Authorities are panicking and their reactions may even prove dangerous to our societies, more dangerous than the fake news themselves.

Passing legislation making platforms block and/or erase fake news and their authors is censorship that opposes the right of free speech! This right is essential to democratic societies granting to express your opinions and beliefs, even it is mere nonsense. There are other and better ways to tackle the problem.

Yes, in digital environments also nonsense spreads rapidly. On the other hand, digital environments also react to nonsense at the same speed. The impact of fake news is limited since almost immediately another wave of corrections will be out. The problem is only for those serious media adopting too fast and un-reflected to something that appears to be spectacular. For a big newspaper to correct a negative image deriving from being too un-reflected is painful. However, there is also a learning curve. By now, everybody knows double checking is essential. More so: Ethical standards like the ones laid down in the DC Codex on “Public Communications and Trust” are becoming essential.

The problem is with those who belief in fake news. They can’t be influenced by regular media channels. However, such filter bubbles are not a new phenomenon. It was hidden before social media allowed everybody to become a global publisher for his own interests, hidden for our societies that now recognize the problem at last, and hidden for “conspiracy activists” who now found a loud and global voice.

The good thing is, we cannot ignore the problem any longer. That’s the first step to finding solutions!

This cannot be censorship that would be hiding the problem again!

 

 


 

It Only Just Began!

19 July 2017

Discomfort of Europe with its first climax in Brexit, the stunning victory of Donald Trump in the US elections, the ongoing and increasing tensions in the Middle East: The recollection of intellectual worlds long believed overcome has many reasons. However, they can all be summarized by the term globalization with digitalization being a major driver of it, shaking up our businesses and societies.

Real-time communication as with social networks like Facebook creates the feeling of being culturally attacked also in the world’s most remote areas. For sure, this is one of the main reasons why fundamental religious groups are becoming so popular.

Politics has no answers yet! Some don’t know, some don’t believe and others don’t care, driven by their own agenda of “maximizing” efficiency” frustrating the man in the street who doesn’t understand the logic behind it and who feels left alone.  

The massive increase of the number of non-voters in democratic societies has been an early warning. Politics didn’t know how to react. Indeed, we are walking on “terra incognita” when we are looking at the social impact. Tools are presented everywhere and contradicting.  More dangerous, however, is the widespread notion of continuing as before. “Never change a running system” has been true some years ago – today it means disaster.

More so since the end of these digitally caused changes is not yet in sight. Let’s look at robotics and artificial intelligence.  A huge part of the labor still done by humans will decline rapidly and be done by a machine, including many white-collar jobs. It will also have an impact on Africa – possibly contradicting international initiatives to strengthen the continent’s countries and their people.

However, there is no reason to be overly pessimistic.  But we must be prepared for a steep – and sometimes painful learning curve towards a “Digital World Order”.


CHANGE NOW!

14 June 2017

"Change Now”! That’s not an invitation, that is the description of an on-going process, around the globe, across all industries and more so all societies! The result is increasing uncertainty across humanity and a growing desire to return to the “good old days”!
Stop dreaming: They’ll never come back! And that’s what this column is all about: How to tackle this continuous pressure for change. In many cases change is technology driven, a digital revolution.

I’m coming from the media industry. If you look at it, media, no matter if you refer to it as audio (or music), filmed or written entertainment and even the news - if you break it down it's all “content”. And content is nothing but data and that's the reason why media industries were the first ones to be disrupted by digitalization. Has the industry learned its lesson? In many cases no, for a simple reason, change is still ongoing!

However, media has a much wider responsibility. It must help the individual to adapt to the new world, both by creating comfort zones through its entertainment offers and by explaining the new world or to help to discuss it! As a matter of fact, that’s what the DC Global Media Forum could become, a platform for reflection of all these aspects and to provide some orientation. That’s why I’m happy about the invitation to write this regular column for Diplomatic Society!

Let’s also look at the other side of the digital revolution. That’s “Innovation”. And that's where Africa as a continent of high potential comes in. Only now, the world has started to become aware of its wealth. For example: already now Africa is a pioneer in mobile (micro) payments and the world is beginning to learn from it. Well, let’s not ignore the problems, however, that’s very promising!

Let’s kick off a debate about change, about opportunities… I’m looking forward to it!

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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November/December 2018

 
 
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