October 29, 2010 • 3:04 pm
This weekend sees the return of the excellent ‘Battle Of Ideas‘ annual Festival organised by the Institute of Ideas. If you haven’t got a ticket yet, its possible to purchase one on the day. It will certainly be worthwhile.
TRANSPARENCY AND PRIVACY
I will be speaking tomorrow in a debate titled ’Behind closed doors: privacy vs transparency?. As a taster of what I intend to say, here’s a piece I wrote for the Independent Blog, titled, ‘A transparent loss of trust’ which was published yesterday. My key point is that ‘Transparency institutionalises a climate of dishonesty because its starting point is mistrust’.
The transparency debate is becoming a critical one and has implications for the future of R&D and innovation. One only has to examine the call for greater data transparency to see how far the basic confusion between information and knowledge has gone. This has enormous implications for the future development of products and services built upon data and metadata. Understanding what lies behind the increased demand and celebration of transparency and thus, its implications, has never been more important.
Filed under: Trust, Battle of Ideas, Institute of Ideas, transparency
October 1, 2009 • 2:29 pm
Anyone concerned about innovation and the decline of Research as opposed to the rise in Development in R&D spending should read this provocative article on the Times Higher Education site defending ‘useless’ knowledge by Claire Fox of the Institute of Ideas.
In defending scholarship for its own sake, she eloquently argues against the fashion for “evidence-based” research which is increasingly forcing academia to deliver “advocacy research”, basically to endorse government policies. Her demand for the pursuit of knowledge for knowledge’s sake ends with the following call to arms:
It’s time to mount a battle of ideas – in academia and in the public sphere – to defend scholarship per se, and turn it into a beacon of human achievement and aspiration – freed from its subordination to pragmatic, immediate objectives. Let battle commence.
This same instrumentalism – the subordination to pragmatic, immediate objectives – is precisely the same dynamic we see in the sphere of innovation and business today: longer-term Research is being increasingly subordinated to a short-term pragmatic culture of exploiting existing knowledge to develop products or services that can be commercialised immediately. Anyone who shares concern about the implications of contemporary culture’s short-term pragmatism should read this article, and join the debate at a Battle of Ideas Satellite event Don and dusted: is the age of the scholar over? on Wednesday 7 October at the British Museum, London.
You should also attend this year’s Battle of Ideas Festival on the weekend of October 31/1 November 2009 where many sessions will touch upon this and related themes and many more. (I will also be participating in a keynote debate Rethinking Privacy in an age of Disclosure and Sharing with fellow panelists, Cory Doctorow, Peter Barron of Google, and journalist Anna Minton. More on this on this blog next week).
Filed under: R&D and Innovation, Battle of Ideas, research