In February 1995, the G7 Information and Communication Ministerial Roundtable was held in Brussels, Belgium. At the meeting, representatives from various governments and businesses engaged in lively debate on the Global Information Infrastructure, or GII, a concept that originated in the United States.
Recent progress in the development of computer technologies and the wider use of computers in multimedia and interconnecting network applications has clearly attracted attention and exerted pressure for change on the existing social structure. The GII, which constitutes the linking of networks on a global scale, will without a doubt be tremendously influential in the coming years.
Nevertheless, although debate on how to develop this infrastructure is important, it would be insufficient if we do not discuss the contents which will run on this infrastructure or discuss from the viewpoint of users. Regrettably, debate at the G7 meeting was confined to adults, who are thought to be rather limited in their scope of ideas and concepts. In reality, the people who will be using the GII in the near future will be today’s children. These young people, having quickly grown accustomed to the computer and the changes in the global community, have keen sensibilities and creative powers that many adults have lost. Moreover, free from particular political, religious, or other beliefs or value judgments, children find things interesting merely for interest’s sake and are capable of coming up with fresh new ideas.
Adults should find out just what the needs of children really are.
The G7 meeting, by fostering debate among politicians, bureaucrats, and having a chance for them to listen to the business community, was a forum for adults. But should not adults be paying close attention to the opinions of children, the very group of people who will be providing leadership in the future? Adults need to find out in childrens’ ideas what the real needs of the forthcoming GII society would be by learning from their sensitivity and creative power. Towards this goal, as adults with a profound interest in the development of the GII, we are proposing to hold the GII Junior Summit ’95 in Japan to serve as a forum for listening to the views of the world’s children. We think it would be a wonderful opportunity for children, who rarely have their opinions heard, to freely exchange ideas across national boundaries and share their hopes and dreams about the future in which they will play a commanding role.
We intend to hold the summit in November 1995 and are soliciting original ideas from everyone on how to make the conference a success. We sincerely request your active assistance and cooperation in this regard.
The GII Junior Summit Steering Committee