In this transition to a new world, people have been offered a new social policy instrument : Internet 2 and 3 may become an instrument of influence and opinion-making.

It appears to be a double-edged sword ; people can speak out as never before, and at the same time the growing use of algorithms to share information flows creates a degree of superficiality reinforced by non-validated information :

Language :

The world of work has also changed :

During the first industrial revolution (circa 1700) human beings devoted 60% of their time to work, from the second industrial revolution onward (circa 1900) it was about 30%, and 15% today.

Besides the total number of hours of work, the nature of work has also changed :

  • shorter work days ;
  • flextime or part-time jobs ;
  • multiplication of vacation and parental leave ;
  • longer periods of educational studies ;
  • Using the Internet allows telecommuting, etc.

By switching from one era to another, the citizen experiences is submitted to new influences :

Not only do the quantity of devices and users play an important role in the evolution of society, but another phenomenon plays an equally important and parallel role : the time it takes for information to circulate in a society :

Thus in the near future people will live and work in an environment of instant sharing (Present Shock, D. Rushkoff).

Citizen Use of the Internet

Using the Gaussian and Rogers curves, the use of the Internet by citizens now looks like this :

  1. There is a very small nucleus of pioneers who for the past 40 or 50 years have anticipated future crises. They participate in the work of dozens of think tanks (50?) that undertake predictive explorations.
  2. In all countries, there are enthusiasts (geeks, techies) who enthusiastically embraced IT. This is the focus of their concerns and often dominates their lives. They are young and relatively few, but they are the ones who launch the fashions (2%?).
  3. Next appeared a group of journalists who dominate the media scene (mass media) with their often-extreme attempts to adapt to information technology and the socio-economic implications of connectedness. These are the new gurus who occupy air time or sell paper. They are relatively few, but very loud.
  4. There’s a large mass of people who currently use microcomputers either to create content (information workers who want to improve their productivity) or to speak publicly (publishing opinions onto social network platforms ).
  5. Finally, there is a large mass of viewers who no longer watch their televisions, replacing it with home cinema (via streaming subscription catalogs).Add to this group almost all young people (80%?) who use social networks I to reconstitute a new form of social fabric.These are very large numbers of people who develop social participation around games, blogs, tweets and selfies : a form of personalization with I like ; these are the people (YOU) that Time magazine called Man of the Year in 2003.
    4 and 5 represent 23% of the world’s population. Most of them use the Internet for news and shopping.
  6. Currently 70% of the population is not interested in the Internet, but they will eventually become interested come (questions of modes, strategies or social status).
  7. The remaining 5% have already completely dropped out for economic or social reasons and will remain so (many illiterates, those of the digital divide challenge).

Here’s a newer version of the same curve :

The environment and those spaces look like this : above, the content of media tools, to the left the traditional tools for distributing content, and to the right the tools that people will eventually use, and at the bottom of the diagram the output :

The tight and cohesive social spaces ago of barely fifty years no longer exist. By living in a completely new cultural environment, citizens are beginning to become anxious and worried. They feel that their whole being is challenged by these changes : they are mutating from homo sapiens towards a new form of being labelled homo zappiens (or maybe, soon, homo connectus) :

From calendars to a different concept of space and time

Today, the activities of a human being habitually take place in calendars. There are several different types, and they are all clocks that fit peoples’ actions into multiple stages of cultural space-and-time :

Time scale : Unit : Scale of space :
Days the person home
Decades family the neighborhood (nearby)
Centuries the nation the country
Millennial the culture the continent
millennia the species our planet

Typically today an individual uses the daily calendar and the day-night rhythm (light-dark), the family unit uses the cycle of seasons as calendar, while society as a whole evolves and adapts through much longer cycles, etc.

The rigidity of the time as opposed to the persistence of memory :

(The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali, 1931)

[expand title=”Benchmarks”] Time is commonly understood as a measure that tells us where we came from and where we are going :

-2800 Measuring tools of the solar and lunar cycles (Stonehenge)
-1600 The water clock (clepsydra)
-1300 The sundial (gnomon)
-400 Astrolabe
700 The hourglass
1000 Fire clock (candle or incense stick)
1200 The belfry clock (weight mechanism)
1571 Analog wristwatch
1583 The modern concept of time (Galileo)
1650 Pendulum regulator mechanism
1675 The clock spiral spring (Christian Huygens)
1735 The marine chronometer to read the longitudes (John Harrison)
Appears at the beginning of the first industrial revolution
1826 Industrial production of watches (Aaron Dennison)
1881 Greenwich Mean Time or GMT (William Allen)
based on the rotations of the Earth
Appears at the beginning of the second industrial revolution
1900 Pocket Watch (Pocket)
1967 Quartz wristwatch
1967 The atomic clock (atom cesium)
1970 The concept of real and deferred time (computer)
1972 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) used especially
for GPS receivers
Appears at the beginning of the knowledge society
1995 The notion of « Internet time » (a third faster?)
2005 The concept of Time Line, Long Data, etc.[/expand]

This explains why we are now so poorly administered; policy makers do not use effective calendars. If governing is to make decisions, they should be taken :

  • long-term, that is to say from the societal long calendar ;
  • through consensus developed by the people of the community ;
  • obtained through the use of collective and communication tools.

Currently, however, the establishment consists of decision-makers who are digital illiterates :

  • they live and work in the very short term (4 years / 4 years), using a personal calendar ;
  • they give top-down orders which are communicated to citizens without any concern for citizen consultation ;
  • To develop consultation and consensus, they use mass media (especially television) whilst the world is rapidly shifting to the use of connected digital networks to circulate information.

Being out of sync with the societal schedule our elites become irritated and frustrated, and seem to be leading democracy into agony. For fear of losing control and their privilege, they have become closed to substantive change. Worse, they have become insensitive to the muted anger beginning to emerge everywhere in the industrialized countries, an anger that portends an increasingly uncertain future.

For humans, each layer of communication space that is used is a process of identifying and learning within the real world. This means that every citizen currently has to use several levels of language and memory to process information effectively (chapter 6, no 1) :

Over the past 50 years, the nature of the individual has changed completely :

1970 A passive viewer – child of David Sarnoff
1980 A content producer – child of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates
1995 A communicator – child of Marc Andreessen
2005 A consumer – child of Jeff Bezos
2010 A member of a group of friends – child of Mark Zuckerberg

And the fundamental nature of networks has changed completely :

1970 On one computer to another mainframes
1980 one person to another domestic microcomputers
1995 one person to several Internet
2005 many to many smart shelves
2010 From one person to his « friends » social networks I

After 2020 (?)

The new world we are entering uses different terms to describe some of its key facets : cultural engineering, social engineering, design thinking, attention economy, disruptive technology, open society, human enhancement, behavioral economics, etc. :

In the longer term, many research activities will be take place in a much more visual, interactive and immersive context that will force users to think differently :

The citizen is now an informivore, and lives somewhere between a cloud and a smartphone :