Do I Know You From Anywhere?

A few more words following the evening at the Museum of Vancouver (MOV) titled ‘Testing the Limits: Smart Cities, Technology, and Open Everything’.

What Evgeny Morozov is trying to promote, judging from a few pages gleaned on the web, sounds absolutely valid to me, worth consideration, dare I say, important. The thing is, my visit to the discussion he was part of and probably where he was the main attraction, was triggered by the same tools we, or some of us, are also cautious about: communication tools of “the digital age”.

Wikipedia: “Morozov expresses skepticism about the popular view …”;  Eventbrite: “Join us Thursday August 8 at 6pm for a public dialogue …”

What I have experienced failed to impress me as meaningful dialogue. And it’s not so much the speaker, who was unfortunately so humbly full of himself; it wasn’t the other speakers, who I felt, were hard pressed to respond to Evgeny’s energetic mini lectures.

One of the components of any public gathering is the format. Within that setting, people in a room carry with them what you can identify as culture. Evgeny comes from one; the event moderator comes from another. Evgeny is ‘enthusiastically debateful’; the moderator, ‘Canadian’ i.e (for this matter), non-confrontational, lightheartedly self-deprecating.

Morozov has a lot of interesting things to say. In writing I’m sure he is articulate and thought provoking (I haven’t read any of his …yet). As a speaker he is… how should I say it…, well, so humbly full of himself. I can relate to that. Almost every morning my wife is at risk of being blown away with my outbursts of ideas, musings and thoughts pouring out of me. ‘Being Evgeny Morozov’ might turn out to be a compelling sequel to the movie featuring John Malkovich.

‘Being Canadian’ on the other hand is probably not the best choice for being a moderator in a discussion titled “Testing the limits”. However, being Hanna Cho, Curator of Engagement and Dialogue at the MOV, is not a position to take lightly. More gleaning from the web results in some impressive information relating to her. But the culture divide, it seems, resulted in a room full of words and hardly any discussion.

In today’s choice of communication tools a question mark is looming over any kind of human interaction. I am still in the process of assessing my use of the tools available. When I go to a public meeting my expectations are only one component of my being there. My being there also includes observation, listening, thoughts, interests and who knows what else.

Did we get Dialogue?

Could we have done things differently?

Why were we there?

What’s your story?

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