Showing posts with label Geo-politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Geo-politics. Show all posts

Global Transition Amidst COVID-19 Crisis



Is it possible to imagine a new common, particularly in these trying times of pandemic and big socioeconomic crisis? 

What will it look like, and how will we get there when maintaining the best features of the old common? 


The new common will and should, of course, be a positive reflection of the old common. 

It will have to be more egalitarian, diverse, and less limited, provide more leeway for younger generations, be founded on precautionary standards, leave no one behind, and consider the larger world in which we as a species are inextricably linked.  


One positive hope is that, having learnt our lessons well, we as humans will draw lessons from this massive trauma, come to our senses, and change our ways of thinking and acting. 


Most analysts are pessimistic and point to the recent financial crash, which lasted from 2008 to 2014 and saw some changes but many aspects remain the same.

 Nonetheless, there are high expectations for the situation in which the ongoing crisis would provide a boost to projects that were already underway, such as energy transformation efforts. 


In general, the transition from the old to the new traditional is referred to as the "Second Deep Transition," while the "First Deep Transition" is referred to as industrialization. 


According to Schot et al. (2020), We need a massive shift in our systems toward a low-carbon, circular economy, built on a stronger mix between local and global demand, modern peer-to-peer distribution systems, a social economy, and the emergence of new types of utilities (and commons) to replace mass production, such as mobility as a commodity rather than more cars. 


Clearly, making this transformation requires flexibility, and can be interpreted not only as the ability to “bounce back” to a previous condition, but also as the ability to predict improvements and, in particular, to invent (Wilthagen and Bongers 2020). 


The road to the next standard beyond the coronavirus epidemic, according to a recent McKinsey study (Sneader and Singhal 2020), is divided into five phases: 


  1. resolution, 
  2. resilience, 
  3. return, 
  4. reimagination, 
  5. and change. 


A long-term process of reimagination and reform is needed to define a new common. It's not a slam-dunk situation. 

The next move will be complicated by vested interests and power dynamics. Various philosophical, ethical, and sociological perspectives have attempted to define the ideal of a society founded on shared ideals. 

One example is “communitarianism,” which was popularized at the turn of the millennium by writers such as Etzioni (2003), who claimed that “communitarianism is a social theory that holds that culture can express what is good–that such articulations are both essential and legitimate.” 


Classic liberalism, a philosophical stance that holds that each person can formulate the good on his or her own, is often contrasted with communitarianism... 


The forms in which common conceptions of the good (values) are created, communicated, justified, and applied are examined by communitarians. 

So, where do we bet in terms of forming a new common, and what are the game changers? 

Certainly, one of the most intriguing solution fields is the digital transformation's future. 

Benkler (2006) asserted in his book The Wealth of Networks more than a decade ago that, with the rise of the Internet and the upcoming digitalization, a new economic system based on commons will become possible again, as cheap computing power combined with global communication networks will allow people to produce valuable products through non-commercial processes of interaction: 

“As human beings being HUMANS being Humane" 

The concept "networked knowledge economy" was coined by Blenkler to describe a "method of output, delivery, and consumption of information products defined by decentralized individual action carried out by widely dispersed, nonmarket methods that are not reliant on market strategies." 

He also coined the phrase "commons-oriented peer development" to describe collective projects based on knowledge sharing. 

Free and open source software platforms are current examples of commons-based peer productions. 


We contend that the digital revolution in the modern popular would be driven by the networked knowledge economy. 


  • The opportunity to accelerate the creation of a modern and unparalleled type of artificial intelligence, which will transform the new common, is enabled by the pervasive abundance of data combined with the limitless potential of smart algorithms. 
  • According to Mayer-Schönberger and Cukier (2013) and Kolb (2013), the "Big Data Revolution" represents a hope that could help us as humans overcome our limitations. 

Observing slow and longitudinal transition, rather than abrupt shocks, has significant drawbacks. SARS and coronaviruses have made significant inroads, for example. 

Furthermore, our capacity to consider and understand interaction effects among a large number of variables, as well as our calculation speed, is limited. 

This has become abundantly obvious thanks to Watson, the IBM supercomputer, and the gaming machines Deep Blue and AlphaGo. 

Instead of the drastic ex-post evaluations that we are doing now, big data and smart technology could help us escape the catastrophe of the commons by telling us in real time, or even ex-ante, what the collective—say common—impact of our individual desires and behavior is. 


Because with all the smart devices, apps, and networks that modern technology allows, we are increasingly becoming a digital world. 


We work from home using shared working environments such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype, and other similar programs. 


  • Smart smartphone applications with mapping and tracing capabilities are being rolled out. 
  • Predictive analytics is used to forecast future scenarios and predict local breakouts.
  •  To monitor people's temperatures, robots are currently stationed at airports and hospitals. 
  • Wearable sensors are being used to alert staff whether they are approaching each other too closely. 
  • Face-to-face and direct touch are being replaced by innovative ways to communicate our emotions and thoughts with our loved ones as well as a wider, mostly anonymous crowd via social media. 


The coronavirus epidemic is hastening the digital evolution of people, our culture, and also our world. 

  • In his most recent book, Homo Deus, Harari (2017) convincingly argues that the forces of big data and smart algorithms are already at work, shaping the twenty-first century into an all-encompassing knowledge society. 
  • Lovelock (2019) expands on the concepts of a hypothetical knowledge world, implying the importance of digital transformation on a global scale. 
  • Artificial intelligence, with its supreme power and knowledge, has the potential to usher us out of the current Anthropocene and into the “Novacene.” 
  • For the time being, “cyborgs” will work alongside us humans—a new and very uncommon occurrence—but at some point, they will take over our tasks in order to best serve our old planet's ecosystem, “keeping Earth cool to fend for itself.” 
  • According to Lovelock, the cyborg will eventually take over the world and depart because living on Earth is no longer viable due to the rising heat of the sun's evolution as a dying star. 

Both of these visions of a new popular are both convincing and terrifying, as all-encompassing artificial superintelligence does not prove to be a "blessing in device," but rather a "devil in device" (Wilthagen and Schoots 2019). 


We must make sure that the digital revolution enhances our well-being and welfare for as long as possible. 


  • Bostrom (2014) expands on the risks of this human-made superintelligence from an ethical, legal, and social viewpoint in his groundbreaking book, in order to promote discussion on a human-centric artificial intelligence. 
  • The convergence between technology and human ideals, culminating in "responsible AI," is a necessary precondition for a new popular that can outperform the old common, even in a world that faces extreme constraints due to the existing or new viruses (Dignum 2019). 
  • For the time being, the only remaining question is how to start from here. While there is no readily accessible blueprint for the new common, we may want to use the United Nations' seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (2020) as a baseline and guideline. 
  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a blueprint for a greater, more sustainable world for allThey discuss global issues such as poverty, malnutrition, water management, injustice, climate change, environmental pollution, unity, and justice, among others. 


They are all intertwined, and it is important that we complete them all by 2030 in order to leave no one behind. 

These objectives clearly have the potential to provide humanity with a viable path into the future (O'Connor 2018). 


To ensure the likelihood of a meaningful commitment to a new common, the metrics associated with the SDGs should be turned into strategic program and response perspectives for all related societal organizations. 


  • The SDGs have the potential to accelerate transformation by providing a narrative and an opportunity for everyone to talk in one voice about sustainability in its broadest context. 
  • By adhering to the SDGs, businesses and investors will gain access to markets with limitless opportunity for profit and development while still contributing to a more prosperous future. 


These objectives clearly have the potential to provide humanity with a viable path into the future. 


  • To ensure the likelihood of a meaningful commitment to a new common, the metrics associated with the SDGs should be turned into strategic program and response perspectives for all related societal organizations. 
  • The SDGs have the potential to accelerate transformation by providing a narrative and an opportunity for everyone to talk in one voice about sustainability in its broadest context. 
  • By adhering to the SDGs, businesses and investors will gain access to markets with limitless opportunity for profit and development while still contributing to a more prosperous future. Hoek (2018) explains how to accomplish this much-needed "Trillion Dollar Change." 
  • The importance of human-centric artificial intelligence in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals is discussed by Vinuesa et al. (2020). 


Such non-exhaustive solutions for the road to a new popular include a greater emphasis on the role of the region in society's political, economic, and social governance (“glocalization”), starting with the human measure and size, and understanding that fractured and non-integral processes are currently unable to meet people's needs. 

These systems overlook the fact that an individual serves several roles—as a resident of an area, but also as a worker, a parent, a patient, a client, and so on—but is fundamentally indivisible (de Sousa Santos 2002). 

Universities play a unique role in Target 17 "Partnerships for the Targets," as they can serve as catalysts for regional innovation networks that link local governments, business, individuals, and information institutions in so-called quadruple or multi-helix configurations (Etzkowitz and Zhou 2013; Peris-Ortiz et al. 2016). 

In comparison to the current three primary functions of schooling, science research, and effect development, we see this as a fifth primary function of so-called "fourth generation universities."



You may also want to read more about COVID-19 here.