Davos, disrupted

I’m among the disrupted of Davos. Outside, there’s an #OccupyDavos encampment in igloos (really). Down the road, someone will be giving out an award to the worst company of the world. But the disruption is no longer outside. That’s what I sensed in past years; that’s what they wanted to believe here. Now the disruption is inside. Every institution is challenged. Every.

The World Economic Forum issued a list of global risks (though Google’s Eric Schmidt countered on his Google+ page that he’s optimistic; that’s because he’s a disruptor). I’m sitting in a room here with a debate on capitalism about to begin. Even the sacred science is disrupted. I’m having conversations and sessions about disrupted banking and retail and education and media, of course.

I began this trip to Europe with my pilgrimage to the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz (blogged earlier). I recall Jon Naughton’s Observer column in which he asked us to imagine that we are pollsters in Mainz in 1472 asking whether we thought this invention of Gutenberg’s would disrupt the Catholic church, fuel the Reformation, spark the Scientific Revolution, change our view of education and thus childhood, and change our view of societies and nations and cultures. Pshaw, they must have said.

Ask those questions today. How likely do you think it is that every major institution of society–every industry, all of education, all of government–will be disrupted; that we will rethink our idea of nations and cultures; that we will reimagine education; that we will again alter even economics? Pshaw?

Welcome to Davos 1472.

LATER: Thanks to Andy Sternberg, here is a Storify of my tweets from an opening session at Davos, a Time debate on the future of capitalism (sorry for the long link; having trouble with the WordPress app on my iPad; also can’t get the embed code from Storify on the iPad; will fix it later): http://storify.com/andysternberg/jeff-jarvis-tweets-from-davos?awesm=sfy.co_W6q&utm_campaign=&utm_medium=sfy.co-twitter&utm_source=direct-sfy.co&utm_content=storify-pingback

  • God no. Things are worse than we imagined. Our leaders have only just understood everything we said 15 years ago. On this trajectory, they should be able to identify the actual situation regarding copyright in the digital era in about 30 years.

    Digital media may have already disrupted capitalism, or ‘cataclysm’ as it’s euphemistically known. We’ve learned computers are more efficient and profitable bankers than humans. They have shown investing is better done by algorithm than by conscious selection. And computers are even more sociopathic than human bankers. One day the banks will become pure computer. All the bonus-bearing executives will have gone to Tahiti and died. And we will realise paying interest to a computer program is stupid.

    Everything is already disrupted. I’m for getting a move on.
    (And at the first movement, people are assaulted with pepper spray and rubber bullets. If the violence of the status quo is going to be relative to the disruptiveness, the results are unimaginable.)

  • Alf

    Corporatism is the problem, not Capitalism. You will never get a vision of the future from a free market capitalist, simply because free markets are not lead… they are not created or formed by a gov or an institution. The future is created by millions of individuals pursuing that which makes them the happiest.

    The disruption is coming from those who find that what makes them happy isn’t being offered by existing institutions and govs. And that there is a refusal to allow new ideas, companies and institutions to form that would satisfy those desires. (Desires to live simply, honestly and with knowledge)

  • […]Jon Naughton’s Observer column in which he asked us to imagine that we are pollsters[…]

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