Think tanks think about post dotcom future

Conference call

The hangover associated with the end of the dotcom party should not overshadow the huge social and economic potential made possible by digital technologies.

That's just one of the issues due to be discussed at a conference today in London as four think-tanks comes together to try and map a post dotcom path for the digital economy.

Demos, the Forum for the Future, the Institute for Public Policy research (IPPR)and iSociety at the Work Foundation will be joined by ecommerce minister Stephen Timms and Martha Lane Fox of Lastminute.com at the event.

IPPR Director Matthew Taylor is expected to argue that we are entering into an era of "excessive pessimism" about the benefits of technology.

He is also expected to warn that people might, as a result of the dotcom bust, lower their sights as to what technology can achieve, leaving people with the belief that technology will only benefit the margins of society.

Mr Taylor is expected to tell those gathered today: "The baby is being thrown out with the bath water and unless we counter this trend, the UK will miss out on the development of new industries and new opportunities to address socio-economic problems and challenges.

"In its attempts to reassure the manufacturing sector and distance itself from its early enthusiasm for the knowledge economy, the government may be in danger of allowing the pendulum to swing too far in the opposite direction," he will say. ®

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