By Juha Saukkonen
JAMK Senior Lecturer
My regards from the summer seminar of the Finnish Society for Futures Research. Some 70 thinkers, talkers, doers, and teachers from all walks of life and society got together during the 3rd week of August to talk about the move towards a Ubiquitous society (ubiquitous= being everywhere at the same time all the time)). BTW, the most experienced and most distant participant was Mr. Jim Dator, from Hawaii, where he is still heading a Center focusing on Futures Research at the mature age of 79.
As always, when talking about the future, development can still take many different routes. I will, in this short series of Blog posts, share the 4 different aspects that were under discussion. Unfortunately, I can only reflect on a fraction of the rich discussion that was interestingly arranged in the format of a debate. Two speakers defended the different directions we are going to. People joined one side or the other and argued for and against the views presented. In the end there was a short search for a synthesis of the two views, a combination or a middle-of-the-road scenario. I will leave those for you, dear IB readers, to formulate yourselves. In my last blog post of the series will I tell you about the synthesis we were able to come up with during the seminar.
Crossroad 1: Aquarium Life vs. Privacy
Aquarium Life is a metaphor brought to the public by the late Finnish futures thinker, Mika Mannermaa. The idea, in brief, is that we share and make visible to others our thoughts, values, and deeds (things done). We do this through blogging, tweeting, “facebooking”, etc. One of the strongest arguments was that if we do not actively take the concept of what we are into our own hands, someone else will do it. By living an aquarium life we can promote the good things we support, manage our identity and kill rumors at their birth. If politicians, corporate directors and other “Big Fish” would operate in an aquarium, trust and democracy would be better than it is today…?
The proponents of the opposite are believers in growing tendency to Privacy. People would get increasingly worried about companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and large retailers having too much information on what we are and what we do. People will also have more skills and supporting technology to help them in guarding the private sphere of their life. The “era of sharing it all” might be here now, but no more tomorrow….?