C·A·P Home · Global Future · Newsletter Archive · global_futures 11/00
CAP Home

global_futures 11/00

The Research Group on the Global Future's e-mail newsletter

02.11.2000 · Research Group on the Global Future

 < backnext > 

Research Group on the Global Future
Center for Applied Policy Research (CAP)
Munich, Germany

Theater will always be changing because of the necessities of man. People are looking for an alternative to television or the business of life. Man has a necessity to turn to something else. I see that my work is to be considered avant-garde, which I like. Avant-garde means to rediscover the classics. -- Robert Wilson, at Watermill, 2000

(1) Zukunftszeugen
(2) Information Society
(3) Internet and Politics
(4) Noted in Passing



Like zeitgeist or weltschmerz, Zukunftszeuge is a German word that's ready to be taken directly into English. Literally it means witness of the future, and the work of the Research Group on the Global Future has put us in touch with quite a number of Zukunftszeugen - people who are so deeply engaged in creating the future that they are witnessing it today.

The best way to get a witness' perspective is to sit down for a talk, to probe what makes his or her thinking and work different, what makes the future's creators tick. Six new interviews with Zukunftszeugen are now on the Research Group's web site.

You can read their views, or listen to every nuance in RealAudio sound.

Ole Doering - expert on Chinese thought, history and ethics, explores the different approach to bioethics and biotechnology in Asia (in German)

Ricardo Petrella - President of the Lisbon Group and advisor to the European Commission, worries that leaders are too concerned with competitiveness and not concerned enough with life for billions of people

Fritz Vahrenholt - chemist and recent board member of Shell discusses the need for leadership to offer coming generations the hope of a future of opportunity, rather than catastrophe (in German)

Michael Zuern - Co-Director of the Institute for Intercultural and International Studies at the University of Bremen, points out the need to build international engagement deeply into society's outlook, if there is to be any hope of sustainable solutions for future problems.

Wolfgang Reinicke - a senior strategist for both the World Bank and the United Nations gives practical insight on how global public policy networks have solved cross- border problems, and are on the way to supporting global governance without chasing the pipe dream of global government

Robert Wilson - a groundbreaking theater director reflects on how art and movement open new paths into the future, discusses his project to build an artistic community at the Watermill Center in Long Island, New York, and hints about a new production on life in the twenty-first century.

What hopes and expectations do society's leading figures have about the future? Ask a Zukunftszeuge, and enjoy the interview.



Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Berlin, has compared the state of the information society in Western European countries in a new report. The authors, Dr. Dieter Klumpp, Executive Director of the Alcatel SEL_Foundation, and Michael Schwemmle, Executive Director of Input Consulting, come to the result that the concept of an information society has no enemies ? anywhere in the world. All countries are on the way to this new form of society; there are only differences on the ways and understandings of this concept. In this context, the goal of the information society has driven out former ideological goals and concepts of society.

On behalf of uncountable examples all over the world the report "Race to the Information Society ? Government Programs in an International Comparison” (Wettlauf Informationsgesellschaft ? Regierungsprogramme im internationalen Vergleich) additionally analyzes efforts, schedules and actions in the US, Chile, Japan, Australia and South Africa for being successful on the way. Although the authors mention by themselves that such a comparison is very difficult due to the differences in culture, politics and economy of this countries, the report presents a vivid illustration of the concentrated way of nearly all countries in this world into a new form of society. Find the report under:



At the threshold of the Third Millenium - as this year’s American election campaign shows - politics confronts another paradigm change. This time it is the Internet that challenges traditional media, campaign tactics and mobilization strategies: 90% of the registered voters are shown to be Internet users; 40% of the independent voters say they use the Internet for political information; 20% of campaign funds are expected to be raised on the Net, often bypassing traditional sources. One of the fifty American states has held a binding on-line primary election, resulting in a record turnout as well as in a heated debate on whether on-line voting was promoting participatory democracy or was creating another digital divide.

Cyber-Democracy offers and demands new roles for parties, candidates, citizens and NGOs. For Ellen Goodman, noted columnist, the "netizens”, today’s new political consumers and denizens of the New Economy, are "free agents”, devoid of party affiliation and candidate loyalty, quickly attracted by excellence and quickly disappointed by compromise. While the impact of new technologies is still uncertain, one likely result is greater volatility and opportunities for new players. The rules of the game of politics are obviously being rewritten.

The CAP is cooperating with the US General Consulate in Munich to present a dialogue on Cyberdemocracy and E-Elections: Politics in the Internet Age on November 20, 2000. Topics include how the internet is affecting organization, fundraising, and voting patterns, whether or not the net is promoting citizenship, and how institutions are reacting. Invited guests include:

Prof. Dr. Michael Cornfield - Professor at George Washington University and Research Director for DemocracyOnline

Prof. Dr. Winand Gellner - Professor at the Univeristy of Passau, specialist in media politics, new media, and policy research

Josef Janning, Deputy Director of the CAP

John C. Kornblum, American Ambassador in Germany since 1997.

Niombo Lomba, Founding member of the Green youth movement in Bavaria and Member of the Federal Board of Directors for Bündnis90/Die Grünen

Douglas Merrill, Editor of this newsletter

Phil Noble, Founder and CEO of PoliticsOnline and Phil Noble & Associates, leading campaign and political strategist, one of the top practitioners of online fundraising, campaigning, and positioning.

Dr. Markus Söder, Member of the Bavarian Landtag, Chairman of the CSU Media Commission and member of the Bavarian Government's Internet Advisory Board

Jörg Tauss, Member of the German Bundestag, member of parliamentary commission on new media, Internet director for the SPD parliamentary group.

Jesse Ventura, Governor of the State of Minnesota, former mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, author, radio host, and professional wrestler, innovator in using the internet and new media possibilities to mobilize new voters

Dr. Tracy Westen, Co-Founder and Chairman of Grassroots.com, Founder of the Californaia Channel, the first public cable-television network in California, member of the Aspen Institute Forum on Communications and Society, founder of the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles.

The conference will take place November 20 at the Bavarian-American Center in the America House, Karonlinenpl. 3, 80333 Munich, beginning at 10am and concluding at 6pm. Conference languages are English and German (without translation); the conference costs DM25. Register by sending your name, title, and company or institution to internetpolitik@hotmail.com.




Solving a mathematical problem related to the popular Windows-based game Minesweeper could net a million dollar prize. Just don't expect it to happen with the click of a mouse.

The problem is called the "P versus NP" conjecture, and basically says that some problems are so computationally complicated that a perfect solution to such a problem (an NP complete problem) cannot be found within a reasonable period of time by any computer, no matter how fast. The prize is on offer for proving the conjecture false; that is, for demonstrating that all problems are theoretically computible.

A recent article by Richard Kaye, a mathematician at the University of Birmingham in England, shows that Minesweeper is an NP-complete problem. Anyone showing that Minesweeper is universally solvable, or who can write a general algorithm for solving all Minesweeper problems, will have disproved the P versus NP conjecture, and should contact the Clay Mathematics Institue in Cambridge, Massachusetts about the prize money. In the meantime, it's probably still not a good idea to play the game on company time.



global_futures also offers an interactive forum. Recommendations,letters, and tips are welcomed by the editors, particularly on the topics of the digital future, biotechnology, sustainability and the new economy. Send all feedback to fgz@lrz.uni-muenchen.de.



Sascha Meinert, Douglas Merrill, Richard Resch, Juergen Turek

Research Group on the Global Future
Center for Applied Policy Research
Geschwister Scholl Institute
Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich
Maria-Theresia-Strasse 21
D-81675 Munich, Germany
Tel: +49 89 2180 1300