Past Program

Mar 13 - Mar 18, 2007

The New Information Networks: Challenges and Opportunities for Business, Governments, and Media


The first years of the new millennium have seen a dramatic change in the production of information and the organization of the digital environment. The rapid emergence of peer production, social networking, and powerful non-market actors via the Internet and other technologies is reshaping not only the flow of commerce but the means by which information, knowledge, and culture are created and shared between individuals, groups, and societies. These new methods of production and social interaction are forcing business, government, and the media to evolve quickly, with mixed levels of success, and presenting major challenges to the predominant business and regulatory models enshrined during the last half of the 20th century.


At the heart of these changes lies a fundamental rewiring of the social infrastructure. Social networking and peer production are empowering individuals to create, distribute, share, and consume information in a way that circumvents pre-existing business, advertising, and media models, and in so doing, are creating new opportunities for social, political, and economic development. This session will examine both the challenges and opportunities confronting government, business, and media with specific emphasis on the underlying mechanisms and fundamental changes taking place. Additionally, this session will avoid potentially divisive distinctions between "old" and "new" media, and will instead seek an international, multi-sectoral synthesis of perspectives as a means of addressing the challenges and harnessing the vast potential of these new information networks. The decisions made by government, business, and media in the coming decade will have a monumental effect on the social, political, and economic development of the next generation. This session will thus seek to contribute to that development by framing the fundamental issues, outlining the stakes, and informing the decision-making process.