Rediscovering the Knowledge Society

Jussi Nissilä writes about the new focus area of the Society Programme.
Sometimes when on a journey it might be difficult find your way to the destination – or even know if you are moving to the right direction at all.

We are living amidst of a socio-technological revolution, a transformation which was enabled by the development of information and communication technology, but which will have a massive impact on most areas of our society: innovation and production, commerce, politics and political participation, social and power structures, working and private life, education and many more.

The next stage of societal development has been called the digital age, the knowledge economy, or the information society – the terms changing with the change of emphasis. I believe that this transformation is much more profound than just the emerging information-based economy or the amount of information technology we use – it is about the central role of (theoretical) knowledge in our everyday life and in our society.

Ever so often the discussion related to the knowledge society focuses on narrow technological issues such as speed and availability of Internet access or on profiting from business models of the previous era such as the copyrights. Could it be that we are sailing on familiar coastal waters, when we should in fact be crossing an ocean? The Society programme of The Finnish Institute in London will be making an effort to steer the the knowledge society discussion towards what we think is the right path – by questioning where we actually want to end up and then the methods of getting to this destination.

We focus our attention on two most important assets needed for knowledge creation – creative people and available information. In “Education and Learning” our aim is to create a shared vision of the future of education, meeting the learning needs of knowledge society. In “Open Societies” our aim is to explore the role of openness in the knowledge society and of open approaches such as open data. We will keep our Society programme website updated of latest projects and development, so feel free to take a look regularly and participate!

Jussi Nissilä
The Finnish Institute in London

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