The Future of Communication:
An Opportunity for Humankind and a Challenge to Democratic Societies
in the Age of Technological Disruption and the Rise of the Human-Machine Collective Mind
Building upon the theme that we discussed last year (The Brain of the Future: Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation, and Politics in the Age of Thinking Machines), our debate this year expands beyond the analysis of technological trends, to cover topics such as thedisruption to democratic societies as a result of the ‘disintermediation’ of information, the fragmentation of political power, the challenge to intellectual authority in the age of new media and disruptive technologies, and ultimately the impact for the future of human identity and the requirement of a new paradigm of national and global governance.
This Theme will allow us to explore one of the most significant vectors of change of our time: The Rise of the Human-Machine Collective Mind, understanding ‘machine’ as a concept beyond its physical connotations.
The 2017 Annual Conference, which inaugurates the debates about this Theme, took place at the Oxford Union Debating Chamber, the world’s most prestigious debating venue, and it was structured in five major lines of discussion:
The State-of-the-Art Research on future Communication Technologies, including Quantum Communication, Brain-Machine Interaction (BMI), Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR)
The Short-Term Media Disruption: the Challenge to Democratic Societies by Unsupervised Communication Platforms
The Medium-Term Implications: Economic Challenges and Opportunities Posed by the Enhancement of Communication Devices and the Disintermediation of Information
The Long-Term View: Philosophical and Ethical Debates on BMI, Human Identity, and the Role of the Human Species
The Global Perspective: the Impact on the Global Geopolitical Architecture