Žiga Turk is professor of design communication at the University of Ljubljana and Secretary General of the Reflection Group on the Future of Europe (the "Gonzales wise men group") in Brussels. He was a minister for Growth in the Government of Slovenia and national Lisbon Strategy Coordinator during the Slovenian presidency of the EU. Dr. Turk was a visiting professor or lecturer in Stockholm, Zagreb, Istanbul and Cork. He has written over 120 scientific papers on the topic of the use of information and communication technology in construction, on representing design information, on design communication, open access scientific communication and on philosophical foundations of CAD. Since 1994 he was taking part in the Framework research projects, two larger ones he also coordinated. In the early 1990s he did pioneering work in Web search engines (evolving into CNET’s shareware.com) and in the introduction of the Web to the construction industry.
Humans are social beings. Communication is an essential element for socialization of persons, for building societies and civilizations. Throughout history, changes in communication tools and technologies had an impact on civilization, on economy and on how states were governed. If access to communication tools was limited and available to few, it empowered the top layers, the centers, the emperors. Without communication tools and information storage most decision making has to be confined to a few people around the king.
Democratization of communication technology empowered the masses and enabled that more people could be relied upon in decision making. Based on his research of the history of design communication, the author claims that the last communication revolution in the past was the availability of inexpensive paper that ignited the renaissance and, together with movable type, provided the basis for the European dominance in science, technology, economy and military. Paper is instrumental to the type of democracy that we have. Internet democratized electronic communication and has invited even more people into knowledge processes. Never before had so many people had access to so much information, knowledge, computing power and other empowered smart people. Never before was the percentage of knowledgeable people not working for the government so big. This is bound to have an impact on have societies are governed. The issue will be, how to make use of all those empowered individuals outside of the government to public good.