This mindmap outlines different ways in which ICTs and work for as well as against peace. It also shows relevant human rights issues, challenges, and technological questions in designing concrete ICTs.
This thesis offers a summary of different lines of thought on how Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can be used for promoting the ideal of peace, for example by helping to manage a crisis, by supporting development and education, by overcoming authoritaran regimes, or by promoting a global civil society and global culture of peace. After introducing these ideas, the concept of a „Peace Box“ is presented, which is a small computer-like device that can be set up in any home or office to provide applications and services for actively supporting the various visions of using ICTs for peace.
ICTs offer potential for peace in several ways. This includes making traditional UN, governmental and NGO activities more effective, providing new economic opportunities, enhancing development cooperation, empowering disadvantaged people through capacity building, providing education, building and maintaining a peaceful society, using ICTs as weapons in nonviolent struggle to overcome oppressive regimes, and more.
Following Sigmund Freud’s concept of the two forces Eros and Thanatos – a drive for creation and a drive for destruction which both live in all of us – the Internet has often been described as a neutral tool which can be used for good or evil, for peace or conflict. Problems with ICTs include Information Overload, the Digital Divide, Cyberwarfare, Cyberterrorism, Cybercrime, a globalization of culture, the mining and abuse of personal data, the use of ICTs by authoritarian regimes against a population, and the use of ICTs as propaganda weapons in cultural and religious conflicts.
The ubiquitous processes sparked by globalization have – besides having had many other impacts on societies, economies and politics – also led to a new kind of global “superterrorism” that is transnational and often organized in a form that is best described as a “network”. At the same time, the Internet is the largest computer network ever created. Applications that run on top of it create “logical” network structures which can take a wide variety of forms, from strictly hierarchical client/server architectures to distributed and highly dynamic peer-to-peer systems. How do the respective social and technical kinds of networks compare to each other, and what are their strengths and weaknesses?
Whenever there is interaction between individuals, Human Rights should provide the framework and the supreme set of guiding ideas, always affirming the equal dignity and value of all human beings, and telling us what should be done and what should not be done. In an environment as dynamic and interconnected as the Internet, such guiding ideas are especially important. Concrete areas of study include the availability of ICTs, the right to freedom of expression, the right to privacy and discrimination in the online world.
Having always been closely linked to the ideal of peace, the concept of civil society has a long history as a third actor besides the state and the economy. In today’s interconnected world we see the emergence of a “global civil society”, which transcends national borders and attempts to solve global challenges that established political and economic structures fail to address. This global civil society is organized like a network, just like the global communication systems that produced it are also organized like a network. However, for a global civil society to truly work, both the architectural structure and the governance mechanisms of its communication channels must themselves be based on civil society principles.
Many conflicts between and within nations are in one way or the other rooted in cultural differences, the lack of respect for cultural diversity, and the resulting misunderstandings and tensions between peoples. Keeping this in mind, the basic idea of preventing conflicts by promoting dialogue between cultures is at the same time noble, credible and promising. If we know enough each other, we are less likely to engage in conflict and violence with each other. Cultures emerge, evolve and interact with each other over time. With this interaction comes the potential both for connecting and for separating. Today, with the widespread availability of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) such as the Internet and mobile phones, it appears that the potential for such interaction is now greater than ever before. In other words, modern communication technologies are a powerful asset for fruitful dialogue between cultures.
Since the early days of mainstream availability of the Internet and other modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), the rapid advancement of these technologies has given rise to utopist ideas that they would greatly empower democratic societies around the world. This paper is an attempt to establish the link between democracy and peace, to discuss the instrument of voting, and then to touch on a few ways in which ICTs can help to improve democratic processes. The various areas that will be covered are: The potential of ICTs to support good governance as an important building block of democracies, their ability to empower civil society, and the various ways in which democratic principles can be developed within online applications and services themselves. Finally there will be some reservations and criticism as well as a conclusion.
Four possible scenarios are presented on how ICTs will affect peace and conflict by the year 2020. Provocative thoughts are raised, but no claim for completeness or likelihood is made. Depending on whether the Digital Divide gets bridged and on whether the Internet will be decentralized or centralized, we arrive at either a Digital Pyongyang, a Digital Arusha, a Digital Davos or a Digital Porto Alegre.
It is obvious that the introduction and widespread availability of modern ICTs have in multiple ways affected the field of journalism, a field in which the creation, handling and publishing of information lies at the very core of activities. This idea of employing these activities for idealistic purposes to work toward a better world lies at the heart of the field of peace journalism, and therefore it appears to be an interesting and promising endeavor to more closely examine the various ways in which the use of modern ICTs can contribute to journalism in general, and citizen and peace journalism in particular.
How User-Centric Identity, the Personal Data Ecosystem and the Federated Social Web have deep social significance and a direct potential for peace.
How Vendor Relationship Management and the Federated Social Web align with each other, and why they can be implemented in a single architecture.
The year 2011 has seen a number of revolutionary political movements in the Arab world. Today, these movements, which had shared root causes, shared values, and shared strategies for civil resistance, are sometimes collectively referred to as the “Arab Spring”. Over the course of these events unfolding, and from a perspective of media reporting, they have also been called by the catchy-sounding terms “Twitter Revolution” or “Facebook Revolution”, but what was their actual role, and have they been more useful to the regime or the popular opposition? While I have not been directly involved with such events, and have not done much original research, it was still interesting to get an overview.