Computers and the Internet has lowered the cost of communication and the creation and distribution of information so much that many fundamental notions of organizations, economics and property have completely changed or require major upgrades. There is a new generation of youth across the globe which lead the charge into this changing world, modifying their basic behaviors to adapt to technology as it develops. Some businesses and artists have been able to keep up with these trends while other struggle and fail. The much slower to adapt legal system is being pushed to its limits with organizations on all sides of the issues trying very hard to adapt outdated laws. Most of the new behaviors and organizations creating value have a completely different notion property. Intellectual property, while key to the post-industrial revolution nature of the firm, is more of an encumbrance than an asset to the sharing oriented mode of creation now central to the Internet. This year, we will bring together the users, artists, businesses, policy makers and academics involved intentionally or beyond their control in this change to understand this new world and to try to adapt to it. Joichi Ito
Joi Ito, who we are extremely fortunate to have on the WITNESS Board, sets the scene for the upcoming Ars Electronica festival in Austria.