NEWS

04 Jul 2019

How digital is changing the world around us?

Carl Miller

The transformation of power in the digital age was the subject of Carl Miller’s opening keynote speech at the Meetings Show on Thursday 27 June.

With the meetings industry looking to grow and expand into new markets, as well as take advantage of technological advancements, Miller’s keynote served as an informative, and cautionary lesson for those attempting to navigate their way through a rapidly changing world.d

The pioneering technology researcher’s enlightening talk – titled The Hidden Reality of Power Today – took attendees through three areas where he believes the biggest power changes are happening in the world today: politics, media and crime.

Miller, brought to The Meetings Show by Speakers Corner, began by highlighting the digital landscape’s power, using internet sensation Grumpy Cat, the success of Jon Jacob‘s Club Neverdie and an automatic vacuum cleaner which, through a BBC investigation, he found was sending data about his home to China.

“Our homes are full of gadgets that are being monitored,” he said. ”We found that my home had somehow travelled around the world.”

Miller’s own investigations into the impact that digital advancements are having on us took him around the world.

“I wanted to go out and meet face to face and feel the changing nature of power. It was about going out and meeting people whose stories and lives best exemplified how power was changing.”

To demonstrate how political power is changing, Miller used the example of Marianne Grimmenstein, who with the help of Change.org, managed to bring the largest civil action before the German government, and Audrey Tang, a free software programmer who became Digital Minister of Taiwan.

“People like Marianne and Audrey show there are other ways to do democracy and are making power possible outside parliament,” he said.

A look into how the power of the media – the fourth estate – is shifting due to financial constraints took Miller to Kosovo, where he met fake news merchants who make money from getting clicks rather than writing accurate stories, then back to the UK where Bellingcat founder Elliott Higgins showed him how, through dedicated investigations, he could prove who was responsible for shooting down flight MH17.

“One of the things Elliott had was time. He spent hours trawling through images on the internet and researching,” he said. “Investigative journalism is time-consuming, and less people are able to do that job today, to investigate corruptions of power.”

Finally, criminal power, Miller said, is the area people should be most concerned with, demonstrating how easy it is to become a cybercriminal and talking about how a ’whole new force of people who are able to massage the world in different ways’ are in operation.

“I’m optimistic about politics and media changing, but not so much about crime enforcement. Power is swirling around us in a way that is quite unsettling.

“We have always understood power to say there are ways you can reach into my life and ways I can reach into yours. In places around the world power is breaking out of those boundaries. We are living through new times and we are only just beginning to comprehend the world that’s being built.”

For more information about Carl Miller and Speakers Corner visit  https://www.speakerscorner.co.uk/speaker/carl-miller
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