Digital Democracy

In a recent post, Roger James Hamilton takes a fascinating dive into the political foray playing out globally at the moment. His belief is that future generations will look back at this time in history as a Political Revolution, much as we remember the Industrial Revolution of the late 1700’s and early 1800’s.

A tumultuous time of upheaval that fundamentally changes the way we live.

You’d have to have been living in a cave this past week not to have seen the fallout from decisions being made at the highest level in the United States at the moment.  Global protest marches, Social Media aflame with diverse opinions, social disruption on a vast scale with families separated and facing uncertain futures. The world of science in an uproar as it anticipates a threat to universal, global knowledge sharing. Most unbelievable throughout this has been the continued use of twitter by one of the oldest Presidents ever to hold office. His tweets reach millions of people in less than a second, his sphere of influence unfettered by the beaurocratic machinations of government.

We need to remind ourselves that the American people voted Mr Trump into office, albeit their apathy meant that less than half the population cared to turn out and actually vote!  The election was democratic, yet the outcome is proving unacceptable to the values and beliefs of millions. Josh Constine calls himself a cyber sociologist, a futuristic thought leader who picks trends. He points out that Silicone Valley actually arose out of the need to find a way to develop radar jammers to help the Allies win World War II. He also stresses now that: “It’s time for engineers to heed the call once again. President Trump poses an existential threat to world peace, social equality, the environment and the future of American values. Now the resistance needs tech tools to fight back.”

Whatever our political viewpoint at the moment, wherever we live on planet Earth, one certainty we face is that the global political energy has changed.  It shakes me up to my core, yet the optimist in me hangs on to the belief that we are going to work through this time in history and emerge with a positive future for our children and grandchildren.

Technology has changed the landscape. With global reach, sophisticated smart phones hang out in the pockets of roughly two billion people (and around seven billion people on the planet). That’s a lot of informed people, who are receiving the most up to date data all day long, forming and expressing opinions.  There is vast megadata capability to track, analyse and influence our life story which includes our political standpoint.

The question is, how is technology being manipulated to ensure that influence is maximised – the old fashioned word ‘brainwashing’ springs to mind! At what point do people lose perspective and clarity, thinking through the consequences both logically and emotionally of the decisions they make when they vote or express opinions on social media.

Benjamin Franklin wrote that we need a revolution every 200 years because all governments become stale and corrupt after 200 years! John F. Kennedy also had a famous quote: ‘A revolution is coming. It will be peaceful if we are wise enough, compassionate if we care enough. We can affect its character, we cannot affect its inevitability’.

The new Digital Democracy unfolding would benefit from thought leadership equipped with Emotional Intelligence skills alongside their technical ability to make sure that this Political Revolution we are experiencing remains peaceful, collaborative and brings about a fairer and more just world for all.

Cheers Alison