Developing new social connections muscles
By Susanne Janssen
We publish the interview that Susanne Janssen, editor of Living City, did to Fadi Chehadé, IT manager, founder of RosettaNet and former CEO of ICANN. Chehadé proposes new ways of using technology and reflects on what this crisis is teaching us.
Amid the crisis caused by the latest coronavirus, big parts of our world just crumbled. Offices, schools, restaurants and churches are closed; we are not allowed to visit our family members and friends anymore; and we hope our economy, communities and education system survives.
What does still work is the internet. Everything, from birthday parties, college lessons to choir practices and concerts, has transferred to the virtual. Living City’s editor Susanne Janssen spoke with internet expert Fadi Chehadé. He is on the advisory board of the World Economic Forum’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation and the former CEO of ICANN, the global authority that oversees the internet’s logical infrastructure.
Did you ever think that the internet would become so important during the pandemic?
The internet works because it was designed for this, precisely to deal with this kind of crisis to make sure that we could still communicate. It was not designed for YouTube and Netflix. And it works: we can all work, we can share information, and we can remain together and hear each other’s joy and pain.
But there’s unequal access; there are those who work from home, whose children can follow online lessons, and those who don’t even have a laptop…
There is inequality, there is a gap. But my prediction is that because the internet has proven to be a resilient tool, everybody will eventually get access to it. And I think this will fuel investments. For example, in the aftermath of school closures due to the coronavirus, New York City immediately gave free laptops to students in need…
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