Media history between techno-diplomacy and global communication
Institutional Communication Service
1 February 2021
Technology has always played an essential role in our daily lives and workplace. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted its role in many new ways. It is a highly topical issue discussed in "The Next Page", as part of the United Nations Podcast featuring Gabriele Balbi, Associate Professor in Media Studies at USI Università della Svizzera italiana. In the podcast, Balbi spoke as an expert in media history, about his work and research linked to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a specialised UN agency committed to connecting the world.
In this conversation, Professor Balbi speaks on the rich evolution and growth of global communications, looking at its history from the telegram to the Internet. He then defines the concept of techno-diplomacy, explaining its role in multilateral collaboration and conversation. Since 1865, the ITU headquartered first in Bern and now in Geneva has been the symbolic place where various battles and agreements on global governance have been fought and stipulated, fostering the world's communications infrastructure. For this reason, analysing its history means, in fact, understanding how human beings have been able to communicate over great distances in recent centuries.
In recent times digitisation has been pushed forward by the global pandemic. A "new normal" in terms of communication has been enforced, made up of teleworking, meetings held on virtual platforms, and increasingly mediated sociality. Professor Balbi also highlights the new challenge of so-called "Zoom fatigue" and the need to create a balance between our digital and physical worlds.