Within two months of the recognized start of the COVID pandemic, a new mode of social organisation emerged unannounced and for a while unrecognised – the online conference. Like all major social innovations, it was in itself nothing new. Videoconferencing technology had been around for more than a decade; remote video participation was already commonplace, if expensive, in Business circles, and remote audio participation was quite widespread even in academia. What happened in 2020 was that this already existing mode of communication became a mass phenomenon.
This was made possible by the coincidence of two factors: the very steep cheapening of real-time videoconferencing building on the generalisation of the internet and the web; however this possibility became an actuality when COVID forced it on us.
The virtual conference featured in this post demonstrates the very important social changes thus brought about. Organised in the Punjab University, it brought us in without paying the cost of any flight or any hotel. It had a range of speakers that would not long ago have been beyond the reach of any such endeavour.
Such events were of course now going on all over the world; it can be said that the International Manifesto Group was in effect born out of the ‘onlinisation’ of all the international contacts we had developed by travelling the world over, organised from a couple of bedrooms.
This post includes the conference programme, and a power point slidepack that I used to give the my own address. It is not especially different from the range of presentations on the topic of ‘Hubris’ which had by then become the main theme of my approach.