The Multilingual Digital Economy Around the Corner

There are over 6,000 languages on the planet, and just over 3,000 of them are spoken. In Europe it is a great concern to have languages be interoperable in online economies. Below is a photo from an upcoming EU report.


In my work with digm I’ve done a ton, and I mean a ton, of research. The recent conference I attended in Europe was part of that and it was super productive. I’ve been studying new technologies and new business models. I’ve been looking at how these are being applied in the cultural space.

One of the books I read on this journey is “Social Business” by economist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus. He developed microcredit and Grameen Bank which helps an astonishing amount of women in poverty with microcredit. Anyway in this book he describes a kind of fourth leg to our traditional for-profit, non-profit, public model. That fourth leg develops sustainable businesses for people in poverty and helps them create their own businesses. It’s a good read if you are interested in seeing how things are unfolding in other parts of the world.

In Colorado the more popular ideas are around B Corps and B Certified companies. These are all companies that try to effect social good as part of everyday operations. While Social Business requires zero return to investors, it generates profit and profits are returned back to the venture. It’s appealing for philanthropists. I think part of my work will involve that.

I’m also looking at other ways to involve matching startups and investors with new research. For example, in the gallery where we were so interested in documenting artists work. Well in Europeana across Europe they have 40 million cultural objects from 2300 institutions as Linked Open Data. When I think of how hard Kurt’s father worked for 40 years to photograph and distribute the 35,000 images in his archive it blows your mind how quickly it’s advancing (and that was huge then).

The emphasis now is on helping startups use all that cultural content in commercial ways. It’s a very short time before we arrive at that same place in the U.S. with projects like the American Art Collaborative and Digital Public Library emerging. These have the potential to transform how we consume cultural content. And I’ll add: how artists leave documentation of their art (legacy) as part of the American historical record.

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