Encourage the expression of diverse opinions
Because of their unprecedented capacity for knowledge and action about other people, our environment, and ourselves, the technologies of tomorrow (especially digital technologies, biotechnologies and neurotechnologies) could transform how we see the world. Dichotomies as established as those between public and private, natural and artificial, prevention from eugenics, and difference from illness will have to be revisited and redefined. The worst-case scenario is that this would happen in a surreptitious way, without any kind of debate. Democratic society should identify these subjects, which are intrinsically linked with values, and ensure that no change in law or practice is possible without a large and truly open public debate, preferably outside the borders of each country concerned. Networks can help extend the reach and the quality of these debates. Truly independent committees and watchdogs that are intentionally open to the public should have the right and the means to demand these kinds of debates.
Encourage and even nourish contestation
The level of protest in a democratic society is a sign of that society’s strength. Reducing it, even by agreement or consensus, would be dangerous. Today’s networks are the locus of lively, diverse debate, but political or economic interests could become empowered to shrink this space. Two propositions:
- Teach people how to innovate, do DIY, and hack, therefore giving students the confidence that they have the ability to change their environment.
- Create a public barometer to measure phenomena of dissent, not to minimize them, but to encourage them.