The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “information

Information Isn’t Knowledge

Posted on April 10, 2018

On a recent Freakonomics Radio podcast, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg had to confess that he has struggled with the platform’s effect on democracy, politics and citizenship: “We’ve been focused on making the world more open and connected.  And I always thought that that would be enough to solve a lot of problems by itself.” Okay, to a point, that’s fair enough.  There was a lot of excitement at the launch of various social media platforms.  Political dysfunction seemed everywhere.  Citizenship appeared on the rise.  And the belief that we could solve our own problems was causing us to abandon institutions and history in favour of interaction, innovation and inclusion. But the problem has become just as Zuckerberg stated it on the podcast: “The world today…

Public Good Without the Facts

Posted on June 23, 2015

WHEN ALLAN GREGG DELIVERED THE Knowles-Woodsworth lecture at the University of Winnipeg 18 months ago, his speech created much introspection on where Canada is going. Yet the well-known pollster, television interviewer, and political pundit, began with who were are as a people before launching into his concerns of who we might become. He spoke of how we were a nation of facts, data, progressive thought, and directed by research for public policy decisions. Such dependence on evidence-based data and relevant statistics had served us well for decades, helping Canada to stand somewhat apart from other countries through its unique balancing of social justice and economic health. But no sooner had he said that than he got to nitty-gritty: “It seems as though our government’s…

The Networked Ideal

Posted on October 9, 2012

We have spoken enough in these blog posts about the need to be better connected as communities that maybe we should examine just how that would look. Any community, regardless of size, would ensure that each of its citizens had affordable access to the Internet. Libraries and agencies would be properly supplied with the infrastructure required to assist the marginalized in taking their rightful place in a networked community. With a citizenry that’s now tuned in, governments at all levels endeavour to put draft legislation, seeking input prior to pertinent issues being enacted. This is especially true at the local level, where political decisions often have the most immediate impact. How their political representatives voted previously would be tracked online, along with their expenditures…

Citizenship – “Information vs. Knowledge”

Posted on July 29, 2011

New figures have just been released revealing that two-thirds of Canadian households have internet access and eight out of ten have home computers – all this higher than the OECD average.  With that distinct cutting-edge advantage, one would think Canada would enjoy a deeply engaged citizenry. Sadly we don’t. Something is missing at a time when the Internet should be bringing us together for the challenges and opportunities that confront us. There is a key distinction between an information-based age and a knowledge-based age. It spells the difference between the success and failure of citizenship at so many levels. We are learning that all this access to data has largely insulated us from one another, whereas many dedicated citizens have used it to acquire…


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