The Internet and a brighter future

Most people would agree that what we have experienced over the past 12 months has changed – in a lasting manner – the ways in which we share information and communicate with each other, whether for business or for pleasure.

Indeed, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated far-reaching change in ways that no one could accurately have predicted in 2019.

Communications technology and the Internet are central to all of this and are at the heart of discussion I had in late January with Paul Sutton for his Digital Download podcast, published last week.

My broad focus for our discussion was to emphasise that the pandemic illustrates how critical the Internet is as the infrastructure that connects people, even though that access is uneven around the world.

The Internet plays a critical role in enabling connectivity, and individual privacy and data protection are increasingly important for everyone.

Good and reliable connectivity wherever we are is crucial, which raises issues for those without good connectivity. It’s worth noting that almost half the world is still without Internet connectivity.

Our workplaces are still evolving as we learn new ways of working and use new or improved communication tools.

In this episode of his podcast, Paul has put together a great narrative on these connected topics. In addition to my contribution, he also has thoughts from Euan Semple, another influential voice from the early days of social media and someone I’ve known since those early days.

Paul spoke to Euan and I separately but asked each of us similar questions. It’s great to see that we are aligned in how each of us sees the landscape and has pretty clear views on what’s coming.

In concluding my conversation segment with Paul, I shared these predictive views:

  • While I am cautiously optimistic about communications technology and the Internet, I believe that so-called Big Tech, government, service providers, and users, must work together on governance.
  • Privacy increasingly is a major issue.
  • Recent events in America and the role of Donald Trump in those events illustrate that dialogue needs to happen between Big Tech, government, service providers, and users on agreeing a framework for acceptable use of social networks.
  • We must embrace voluntary oversight (regulation) otherwise governments will regulate without further ado.

Thanks to Paul (and Euan) for creating a very listenable experience. The podcast runs about 35 minutes. A good listen for your daily walk or run.

Digital Download

Listen Now

If you don’t see the embedded player above, download the MP3 file or listen on Paul’s website.

(Image at top from the United Nations COVID-19 Response on Unsplash.)

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.