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Monday, July 6 • 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Concluding Address

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Will our grandchildren grow up knowing how to pluck the answer to any question out of the air, summon their social networks to assist them, organize political movements and markets online? Will they collaborate to solve problems, participate in online discussions as a form of civic engagement, share and teach and learn? Or will they grow up knowing that the online world is a bewildering puzzle to which they have few clues, a dangerous neighborhood where their identities can be stolen, a morass of spam and porn, misinformation and disinformation, urban legends, hoaxes, and scams? The humanity or toxicity of next year's digital culture depends to a very large degree on what we know, learn, and teach each other about how to use the one billion Internet accounts and four billion mobile phones available today.

The future tenor of online culture depends now on whether new literacies spread far enough, fast enough in the next few years. Authoritarian control, whether it is by the state or private interests, is not inevitable - yet. The speed, scope, and spread of knowledge is more important at this historic moment than microchips, business models, Web 2.0 services, or fiberoptic cables. And don't swallow the myth of the digital native. Just because young people Facebook, IM, and Youtube, don't assume they know the rhetoric of blogging, collective knowledge gathering techniques, collaborative norms and, by far most importantly, online crap detection.

Monday July 6, 2009 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Council Chamber (via live feed) 2 Savoy Place, London, WC2R 0BL

Attendees (1)