December 31, 2020

World Economic Forum Plans

This from Tom Waeghe

Behind enemy lines at World Economic Forum.

You can clearly see the he European influence and it drips with globalism and guvmint control.

Inventing New Modes of Governance

The traditional institutions spawned after World War II are becoming increasingly irrelevant

Pervasive digitalization, social media, and artificial intelligence combined to distort the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote and the 2016 US presidential election. Meanwhile inequality, the social and economic fallout from COVID-19, climate change, and migration have presented increasingly thorny governance challenges. The climate crisis demands coordinated answers at the local and global level, and governance structures largely inherited from the 19th and 20th centuries - like patriarchal institutions and political parties - are being questioned as they reach the limits of their usefulness. Voting, long the preferred mechanism for choosing decision-makers, is undermined by low voter turnout, and in the parts of the world where authoritarian governments curb democracy, or where certain communities have been unfairly targeted for generations, leaders are increasingly coming under pressure in the streets. The COVID-19 crisis has spurred governments to take further control of citizens’ lives and freedom of movement - triggering reactions. In some countries, there have been demonstrations against lockdowns and for greater freedom of movement, while other demonstrators have pressed for even stronger measures in order to help protect the population.
The pandemic has also diverted attention and funding from other public health issues, reduced the capacity of civil society organisations to function, and generated geopolitical tensions. This has only further pressured the multilateral system mostly formed after World War II. The friction between the US and China is one symptom of this deterioration, as is a Russian effort to develop a discrete "national” internet. However, new means of global cooperation are emerging. Multi-stakeholder efforts like the Internet Governance Forum are demonstrating that open platforms for discussion are not only possible, but also useful. Efforts born on the edges of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are also promising. Many international civic-participation movements are being powered by digital coordination. Platforms like Avaaz and Change.org are gaining traction, and initiatives like the Global Citizens’ Dialogues are being implemented. At a national level, the French Citizens’ Convention for the Climate is an example of bringing together people from all over the country to develop and propose recommendations for an ecological transition in the country. Increasingly, old civic participation mechanisms are being brought up to date.

Responsible Data Use

Tension is mounting between the need to improve media quality and the responsibility to protect privacy

The increased ability to generate and analyse massive amounts of data has triggered a need to pay closer attention to principles governing its use. There have been several high-profile cases highlighting the need to be more cognizant of responsible data use; the Facebook-Cambri dge Analytica scandal, for example, involved millions of personal data points being harvested for targeted political advertising and showcased the need for transparency with users about who has access to their data - and how it is being used. In 2019, Twitter had to apologize for using personal information including phone numbers and email addresses for tailored advertisements, and Amazon came under pressure that same year, when it was revealed that thousands of company employees were listening in on the voice requests people regularly make to Amazon’s Alexa home assistant devices, in order to help train artificial intelligence algorithms as part of a process dubbed "data annotation.” While this technique is commonly used by other technology giants, most customers have no idea that it is occurring - and they are liable to provide personally identifiable information during the process that could be misused.
A number of different international institutions and agencies have attempted to articulate best practices for responsible data use. In 2018, representatives of the European Council and European Parliament agreed on implementing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as the bloc’s primary law governing how companies must protect data collected from European Union citizens. Some of the key related principles include requiring peoples’ consent to process their personal data, anonymizing data collection for the purposes of privacy protection, providing notification in case of a data breach, putting in place security safeguards when transferring data across borders, and appointing data protection officers to oversee GDPR compliance. Meanwhile in the US, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) went into effect in 2020 as a means to increase consumer privacy rights. The legislation grants people the right to know about all of the data collected on them by businesses, the right to deny the sale of that information, to delete any of that data they have posted, and to take legal action against businesses that were careless in protecting the data.

The disruption caused by the Fourth Industrial Revolution has been accelerated by COVID-19, and increased our need for agility, adaptability, and positive transformation. As the global economy rapidly digitalizes, an estimated 70% of new value created over the next decade will be based on digitally enabled platform business models. However, nearly half of the world’s population remains unconnected to the internet. While digital technologies have the potential to enable new value for everyone, they risk further exacerbating exclusion, the unequal concentration of power and wealth, and social instability. Companies must use digital infrastructure and data to collaborate, develop innovative business models, navigate disruption, and transition to a new normal - post-pandemic, purpose-driven, sustainable, and inclusive.
Responding to Shifts in Power

As trust in traditional institutions declines, new players are taking their place

Civic participation takes place in an always-moving, ever-changing environment. On one hand, trust in governments and traditional institutions like the political parties, trade unions, and churches that have served as counterparts to civic movements is declining in many parts of the world (in countries where the bulk of the population is unaffiliated with a political party, popular support for representative democracy tends to be lower, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of public opinion in 35 countries). On the other hand, other stakeholders are filling in the gaps. Global corporations are gaining power, in particular the technology companies that are pro-actively taking part in policy and political discussions. One example of this is the series of campaigns and activities launched by Microsoft on the idea of "Digital Peace” and the notion of a Digital Geneva Convention. This trend of broader corporate participation in public life is becoming increasingly mainstream, as was made clear by a statement issued in 2019 by the Business Roundtable (an organization that includes CEOs of the biggest US companies) that the goal of corporations should not only be to maximize shareholder value - but also community value.
In a relatively short period of time, social media has substantially changed the ways we access and share information. Now, only a minimal political apparatus is necessary to win elections - as demonstrated by the populist Five Star Movement in Italy. Spontaneous civic movements have quickly emerged in Algeria, Hong Kong, and France, by syncing online and disperse decision-making
across flat organizational structures. At the same time, many people are being left behind, and having their rights denied - particularly women’s right to speak up and be counted. In addition, in an era of hyper-mobility and hyper-connectiv ity, a large number of people are failing to keep up with the pace of change - and lack the infrastructure to enable them to get on board. High levels of digital illiteracy and still-relativel y-low levels of access to the internet in many parts of the world are striking examples of this; for example, while 82.5% of people in Europe were online as of late 2019, just 28.2% of Africans were online, according to the International Telecommunicati ons Union.

21st Century Citizens

Technology is accelerating global engagement

The people now mobilized and committed to making their voices heard are a diverse amalgamation. The 21st century has accelerated both the pace of life, and inequalities. Much of the global population remains excluded from public dialogue - which became evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it brutally cleaved societies between those who have the ability to remain employed and engaged while working from home, and those who must try to survive on the frontlines while keeping others alive and economies open, often without proper equipment or a say in how they are deployed. People in general are becoming more willing to speak up in public in ways that go well beyond the mere act of voting. They expect to be heard by decision-makers
- and not only by those in the public sector, but also by the leaders running businesses and civil society organizations. While citizens might have once been satisfied with being represented by elected legislative representatives and administration officials who are (at least theoretically) working on their behalf, they now place more trust in their peers and in themselves, rather than in institutions.
This shift is being fuelled at least in part by social media networks. These played a significant role in the Arab Spring protests that roiled politics across the Middle East, the gilets jaunes ("yellow vests”) demonstrations that have crippled parts of France, and the massive street protests that blanketed Hong Kong. Gilets jaunes participants have coordinated over Facebook, where many urged their peers to boycott talks with the government that had been initiated by some of the movement’s leaders. Peer-driven, made-by-many models are also thriving in the form of disruptive companies in sectors such as hotels or taxis. Citizens have used their economic clout to prompt shifts in industry practices, even as they become increasingly overwhelmed by the complexity of the global economy - and victims of its digitalization. Meanwhile the inter-generatio nal gap has grown, as more youth activists step up to organize both local and international movements. The most visible result of this trend, the Fridays for Future school strikes originated by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, managed to get more than 4 million citizens out onto the streets in 2019.

Digital Participation

Technology can increase public engagement, but it has an ugly side

Digitalization is enabling new forms of cooperation and communication both among citizens, and between citizens and their governments. It is also disrupting deliberative decision-making
and opening up new avenues for populism and manipulation. While online interaction allows for more transparency and accountability, it also creates the risk of dangerous mobs; the case of German politician Renate Künast, who was targeted with degrading and misogynistic posts, demonstrated the worst that digitalization can lead to. However, "civictechs,” or technologies that positively enable political engagement, are maturing. Even if they do not allow for the same kind of dialogue as a live assembly, civictechs can help to gather substantial public input. For example, France’s three-month-lon g "Great National Debate” started in 2019 in response to widespread protests gathered nearly two million online contributions. Online tools are increasingly being used by governments to provide better public services, or to engage more efficiently with people. Estonia in particular has distinguished itself in this regard, and is widely seen as the most advanced digital society in the world.
However, these online tools can also highlight the divide between the connected and the non-connected. The COVID-19 crisis underlined this divide; while some people were able to rely on digital tools to stay informed, practice home schooling, and continue to work while maintaining social distancing, many others were not. The pandemic has also shed light on the need for in-person meetings and direct social contact. Protests are perhaps the ultimate expression of this need, and though they are potential sources of infection - and have been limited or banned by authorities - people around the world have nonetheless taken to the streets to demonstrate against injustice. Much of this surge in civic participation is due to greater access to information. According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, an online survey conducted in dozens of countries, engagement with the news surged by 22 percentage points compared with 2018. At the same time, many people face obstacles on their quest for facts, due to disinformation and algorithms that can reinforce a tendency to embrace only those opinions that align with your own.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 10:57 AM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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