Monday, February 18, 2008

Technology and our society

Some thoughts upon our new Internet TV channel, VisionOnTV

Technology has a fundamental shaping influence on our society – with the new digital commons and the impending death of DRM our current corporate structures are in crisis. How do you sell commodities in a world were information just wants to be free and information is the most desirable commodity. How is a society based on people paying for items mass-produced and mass consumed going to pay its way when such items are affectively free?

The current online boom in advertising is but a stop gap – it is based on the belief that people will pay for the products somewhere down the line. When most “goods” are digital this is looking increasingly unlikely – people may choose to support a product or organisation – but they no longer are bound by the cash transaction to access the commodity.

Films, video and computer games are all just data

We are moving into a new society in the developed world, were the goods that people desire are increasingly virtual – thus fundamentally free of cost – of course people will still expect to have the practical things of life, including cars and houses, jet planes and restaurants – but these are not value added items – they are largely fixed on how much economic growth can happen. The huge growth in the last 20 years has been in services and the biggest jump over the last decade has been online in the virtual economy.

However this virtual economy has a very different manifestation than the old physical economy. Can this technological change lead to a corresponding positive social change?