Why the social and digital convergence?
This blog is a part of my effort to explore the co-creation of culture and technology. It’s my belief that we’re in the midst of a social revolution; one that is enabled by technology, but driven by basic social needs. This revolution is steadily changing the way we perceive our world, exchange information, structure our economies, establish and maintain relationships, understand our roles in society and distribute power. It reaches into nearly every corner of our societies, is still in its early stages of development, and is extremely complex. In other words, a fascinating and important set of ideas to explore.
As the boundaries for this blog’s contents have been set rather loosely, these posts will occasionally wander off into territory covering social networking, computing, Big Data, digital age politics, and pretty much anything else that triggers my spider-sense. That’s the nature of exploration, and I’m happy to have you along for the ride.
I’m not an expert in programming, computing, or most anything technical (though I still hold the odd fiber optic technician certification from my days as a broadcast engineer for CBS). My belief is that for most of the so-called digital domains – computing, IT security, data analysis, social networks, whatever – the social factors far outweigh the technical ones, and computing efforts that don’t place human connections at the center, or ultimately empower the non-technical are misguided. I deeply respect specialized domain knowledge, but ceding the debate over digital issues to hyper-specialists is something akin to handing over discussions about the future of our cities and communities to structural engineers. They are a critical overall component of the system, but by necessity often have a keener sense of tactical than strategic issues.
Most of all, I hope this to be a venue for learning – both mine and yours. I’ll be using this blog to overcome my longtime aversion to displaying my ignorance in public, and I deeply welcome any efforts to educate me on the topics I present. I’m not writing to educate, but to understand, and as with any meaningful shared educational experience, that depends on quality dialogue.
Originally hailing from Evergreen, Colorado, I currently live in Munich, Germany, where I lecture in International Relations at the University of the German Federal Armed Forces, the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmish-Partenkirchen, and online for the University of Denver.
My work experience includes two years as a foreign expert for the Chinese Academy of Sciences and four years as a broadcast engineer and project manager for CBS Television, where I specialized in fiber optic and microwave communications. I also have more than 14 years of experience teaching university students, government officials and corporate professionals in the United States, China, Scotland and Western Europe (primarily in Germany).
I hold a BA in International Politics from Penn State, an MLitt in International Security Studies and a PhD in International Relations from the University of St Andrews in Scotland. My current research interests include the security dimensions of social networks and mobile technologies, peer-to-peer cybercrime networks, the social and business impacts of Big Data analytics, and ICT developments in emerging markets, which I conduct in cooperation with colleagues from Oxford University and the British Institute of East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya.
I also regularly give keynote presentations to corporate, governmental and security organizations throughout Europe and the United States on the broader security threats and business opportunities of the social – digital convergence.