#tunisia #egypt, #algeria, #morocco . . . the transformative power of technology
For governments everywhere, the game has changed. Technologies now let into the world millions upon millions of messages and images from ordinary people saying what is happening in the moment in front of the eyes. Such as this one:
#TUNISIA ████████████████ : done
#EGYPT ████████████████ : done
#ALGERIA ███░░░░░░░░░░░░: in progress
And this one:
Russell Beale is a computer scientist. And one of the New Optimists. His optimism, now grounded in a new political reality — here as well as the dramatic unfolding of old orders in the Middle East — is the ‘transformative power of technology”. Let me quote a paragraph from his essay:
It’s not the technology that I am optimistic about — technologies come and go. It is not the internet that I think is wonderful, or computers, social networking or mobile phones. It is the fact that such systems are now available to most people, that they are understood by most people, that people manage to use them reasonably well and that people can use them to do things they want to do with them. It allows individuals to work collectively and have a stronger voice; it puts communication, networking, social contact, political power, economic change, entertainment, education, access to information and advice – essentially opportunity — into the hands of practically everyone.
This inspires me, because by empowering and supporting people, we can flourish as individuals, develop as families, grow as communities and support each other as citizens. And that has to be a cause for optimism.
Yes, indeed it does.
Is the Egyptian army going to deliver a civilian government after free and fair elections? Probably not, if history is anything to go by.
But history may well be not something to go by. A history without the transformative power of these technologies which enable a zillion ways for peer-to-peer communication, is only a part of this story and, quite possibly, not the most important part.