We find ourselves at the midst of a Digital Reformation – a critical juncture of human history where an information-technology boom has created a “digital” civilisation over just several decades. It brings with it a tide strong enough to change the fundamental course of humanity, by reordering political power structures, redefining our social and cultural values, disrupting our economic system, even altering our psychology and bodies. The Internet is not a thing – it’s a new world, an environment that we are just beginning to grasp.
Our role as technology journalists should be to help people understand and navigate that change. Examine the precipice of inhumanity upon which we stand. Find promising opportunities that lie on the horizon.
This is not the first time we face unprecedented change. The upheavals of the 17th-19th centuries saw the introduction of concepts now taken for granted in the 21st century: Democracy, Rule of Law, Scientific Method. Accompanying these times saw the emergence of a particular locale, the Salon.
A place where intellectuals of all walks-of-life discussed and challenged each other’s ideas and projects, the Salon provided important respite away from the religious censorship and popular ignorance in the public square which made the irrigation of such discussions impossible.
As centuries have passed, new media have emerged and taken a growing share of the information and knowledge marketplace away from the Salons, to the point at which Salons have become shells of their former societal importance, relegated to becoming expensive real estate ironically symbolic of social exclusivity.
Wonk Bridge remembers the importance of Salons in creating an ecosystem where insightful discussions and projects with real world impact may be grown safely and sustainably. We would like to update the Salon’s concept to the expectations and needs of the 21st century.