Past Program

Jun 22 - Jun 24, 2012

Salzburg Global Seminar Annual Board of Directors' Meeting 2012


Social media is shaking up our lives - private, public and intellectual. Cyber-activism has accelerated political upheavals in ways unimaginable five years ago. The connective tissue that binds communities-between generations, colleagues, citizens, teachers and pupils, doctors and patients-is being radically reconfigured.

Innovators are enjoying a golden age of exploring new ways to unlock knowledge. Affordable tools are proliferating for individuals and organizations. Human ingenuity is helping whole regions to leapfrog barriers to economic and social development. Leveraging social capital and hidden expertise is a powerful argument for optimism.

But what are the risks of hyper-connectivity in a globalized world? As threats become more complex and intertwined, leaders have to weigh up a wider range of risks and diverse probabilities and engage more diverse stakeholders than ever before. Evidence-based analysis has never mattered more. Yet demands on decision-making are articulated in ever simpler terms. People want answers now. Or is public opinion subtler and more sophisticated than 140-character Tweets make it appear?

If modern society is turning us into "informavores," how do we fight against "infobesity"? How do we curate information in this new landscape without contours? How do we teach? Who can we believe when choosing data sources on which we make critical decisions? How do we protect our personal and professional privacy? And what responsibility should market actors have in the cyber-sphere?

The opportunities and the problems presented by new media and methods of communication and informed by public and private sector perspectives from four continents were discussed during the weekend.