Power of the individual3
We have a strong tendency to view the future withapprehension, and even fear.
For much of the last century, lm and literature has revelled
in visions of a dystopian tomorrow. Huxley’s
. More recently,
The Hunger Games
.What connects them? An unbroken thread that runsthrough each imagined future - a culture premised on apessimistic notion that, while technology will surpass our
wildest expectations, it will inevitably stie the freedom
of the individual
.More often than not, future technology is seen less asa blessing than a threat, enabling ever-greater repressionat the hands at the hands of governments andcorporations. The spectre of the technology itself loomslarge – in the future, self-conscious machines alwaysseek control.This tendency seems surprising. In fact, in the developedworld (apart from some notorious setbacks) humanity’sstory has generally been one of increasing individualfreedom. From politics to purchasing, individuals havemore freedom – more choice - than ever before.
Connectivity and the birth of the Global Centuryof the Individual
Technology has always played a vital role in the increaseof individual freedom. Most recently – and arguably mostdramatically – in the form of the internet.The BT Better Futures paper
Connected Intelligence:unlocking opportunities in a world of scarcity
, describesthe cumulative effect of ubiquitous connectivity. In aworld where everyone and everything can be networked,‘Connected Intelligence’ emerges.That paper explores how everything being networked
will mean more streamlined, efcient and responsive
processes. This paper looks at the other side of the coin:what does Connected Intelligence mean for people? Howwill the inexorable rise of the individual manifest itself across the globe, and what will it mean for governmentsand businesses?In the developed world, Connected Intelligence is alreadychanging how individuals behave as consumers: increasingchoice and making us more demanding, more expectant.That’s true whether we’re consuming products or services;whether we’re buying a new pair of trainers or booking anappointment with a doctor.As employees, it is freeing us from our desks, the computersand software our employers force upon us. Often, it makesus more productive.As citizens, we’re getting unprecedented access to how weare governed, transforming our relationship with politics,our representatives and the services we access.Social media has given us new ways to organiseourselves, and the tools to hold enterprises andgovernments to account.Today the connected individual, empowered by accessto Connected Intelligence, is a largely phenomenon of thedeveloped world. In the coming decades, the connectedindividual will become a truly global phenomenon.This will usher in the Global Century of the Individual.
“In 2012, for the rst time, the United Nations’ Human Rights
Council declared that internet access was a basic human right
.This underlines the amazing contribution that web connectivitymakes to the power and freedom of the individual.”
BT Research and Technology