Young Europeans Discuss Sustainable Development

I have been absent from this blog because I have been organising the Young Europeans Discuss Sustainable Development from the point of view of science and technology event:
Young Europeans Discuss Sustainable Development
9-14 of May 2011

Advances in Science and Technology directly affectyour life, and you should have an opinion!
28 Young Europeans (18-24 years old) from 13 EU countries, will be discussing with Greek scientists about6 different aspects of Sustainable development.
Meet the 23 scientists that will talk at the event! They work at almost all of the big Greek universities and research centres!
Learn about the issues that will be discussed:
Climate Change, Energy, Innovation, Water and Food, Biodiversity, Public Health
Chat with other people!
Check out what will be happening during that week!
Find out about the participants!
Watch online, ask questions for the scientists to answer, vote!
The event language is English.
Please forward this to your members and whoever you think might be interested.
For more information do not hesitate to contact us at
Dr Ino Agrafioti

digital literates vs illiterates: are we going towards the right direction?

There is too much information out there!  Have you noticed? In a way I feel sorry for the people that are starting their lives now since the volumes of available information are increasing exponentially. I can spend my whole day following updates of the people I follow on twitter and clicking on the links they are referring to without even reading any of the links.
Is this right? Are we going towards the right direction?
Such a huge percentage of people puts information online. Useful, interesting, useless, all mixed up. If I start blaming anyone, I should start with myself: I over the last three years I have started three blogs.
There was a conference this week somewhere in the US. It was called Future of Web 2010. The papers that summarize the plenary talks of that conference are on the massive virtual pile that I will be reading in the hope that they have something to suggest about this issue.
Don’t get me wrong. I am all pro-information and pro-knowledge and pro-open access! So much that I consider this statement a bit pointless: I cannot think how could anyone not be pro-knowledge.
The reason why I ask the above question is that I have a feeling that something needs to change: this is not the way forward. Most internet users are not using it like me: for example they follow their friends, musicians and celebrities on twitter instead of people whose work they are interested in.
I am not talking about digital natives and immigrants here, because I sometimes feel like an immigrant too. Yes I am using most Web 2.0 tools, yes I am very good at finding information online – maybe too good by the looks of it – but I am not as digitally native as I thought I was. Imagine what this little girl will be like when she reaches high-school:

What I would suggest is that we are going towards a world where there is going to be a “digital literate elit”, i.e. people that use the internet to their advantage, i.e. to know the right things and connect to the right people – and a “digital illiterate class” which will not be able to advance itself since it uses the internet just for social reasons or entertainment. And like in all early stages of new societies (this is what I think at least, but my sociology knowledge is limited however), the latter is going to be massive and the former a tiny priviledged minority.

I would also like to mention that I am not sure that the digital illiterates have it wrong. These people are out there socialising in the digital world. After all, we are human beings: we want to entertain and amuse ourselves. But in terms of their careers and hence in terms of the position of this new society and their ability to put food on their table, they will definitely have a disadvantage. It is not about access to the information. It is about the fact that these people are not looking for it. Not because they are stupid. Just because they are human.
And with the speed that information is increasing, I cannot say that I blame them!

European Citizen’s Agenda of Science and Innovation

I finally got back to Athens 2 days ago: I was supposed to be away in Paris for 8 days but I ended up staying for 2 weeks due to the volcano eruption. I cannot really complain. The only problem is that when you are stranded away from home it is more difficult to write your blog!

Anyway the meeting in Paris was related to knowledge, science, youth, communication and policy issues and I learned a lot of interesting things that I will mention in my future posts. For the time being I suggest to the European people that might fall into this blog, to go and vote at the website that is mentioned below.

The following text i copied pasted it from the e-mail I was sent:

Science and innovation have played an essential role in our history. The search for knowledge to advance together is one of the pillars of European culture. Continue reading