08 March 2019 - 10 March 2019
Socrates Seminar: “How Technology is Changing Us: How We Think, Relate, and Live”
Ronda (Málaga)

Socrates Seminar: “How Technology is Changing Us: How We Think, Relate, and Live”


Moderated by Stephen Balkam, Founder and CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI)


Aspen Institute España celebrated on March, 8-10, 2019, it’s next annual edition of the Socrates Seminar. This Seminar is part of Tech&Society Program, organized in colaboration with Fundación Telefónica. Stephen Balkam, Founder and CEO of FOSI, was the moderator of the Seminar.

Following the lines set forth by The Aspen Institute in the US, the Socrates España Seminars provide a forum for emerging leaders (between the ages of 28 and 45) from various professions to convene and reflect over contemporary issues through expert-moderated dialogues. These seminars enable participants to explore current and pressing leadership challenges. Discussions are built around contemporary texts, and are led by expert moderators who engage and encourage participants to share their views. At the core of these Seminars is a remarkable group of emerging and recognized leaders including entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, representatives from the public sector and journalists, among others.

This program, co-organized with Fundación Telefónica, aims to establish a forum for reflection on the issues raised by advances in digital technology and its influence in areas as diverse as human relations, politics, education, the economy or medicine. Digital technology is radically changing almost everything we do, from the way we manage our business to how we educate the next generation or the way we coexist in a democratic society. What are the most important changes and technological trends and how can we prepare to face them? What are the specific ways in which technological change is improving our individual and collective lives? What is its impact on political participation? How does technological development affect the workforce, productivity or the perception of life and health?

Since its first edition in 2017, the Program incorporates a Socrates Seminar as part of its activities. In the first edition, the seminar was moderated by Connie Yowell, CEO of Collective Shift, and discussed “Change and opportunity: The future of work and learning”. The second edition of the Program, in 2018, incorporated a Socrates Seminar moderated by Leigh Hafrey, Professor of Ethics and Communication at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and titled “Brave New World: Humanity, Technology and the Future of Work”.


Moderator’s Biography

Stephen Balkam has had a wide range of leadership roles in the nonprofit sector in the both the US and UK for the past 30 years. He is the Founder and CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), an international, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, DC. FOSI’s mission is to make the online world safer for kids and their families. FOSI convenes the top thinkers and practitioners in government, industry and the nonprofit sectors to collaborate and innovate and to create a “culture of responsibility” in the online world. Prior to FOSI, Stephen was the Founder and CEO of the Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA) and lead a team which developed the world’s leading content labeling system on the web. While with ICRA, Stephen served on the US Child Online Protection Commission (COPA) in 2000 and was named one of the Top 50 UK Movers and Shakers, Internet Magazine, 2001. In 1994, Stephen was named the first Executive Director of the Recreational Software Advisory Council (RSAC) which created a unique self-labeling system for computer games and then, in 1996, Stephen launched RSACi – a forerunner to the ICRA website labeling system. For his efforts in online safety, Stephen was given the 1998 Carl Bertelsmann Prize in Gutersloh, Germany, for innovation and responsibility in the Information Society and was invited to the first and subsequent White House Internet Summits during the Clinton Administration. Stephen’s other positions include the Executive Director of the National Stepfamily Association (UK); General Secretary of the Islington Voluntary Action Council; Executive Director of Camden Community Transport as well as management positions at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London) and Inter-Action. Stephen’s first job was with Burroughs Machines (now Unisys) and he had a spell working for West Nally Ltd – a sports sponsorship PR Company. Stephen received a BA, magna cum laude, in Psychology from University College, Cardiff, Wales in 1977. A native of Washington, DC, Stephen spent many years in the UK and now has dual citizenship. He writes regularly for the Huffington Post, has appeared on nationally syndicated TV and radio programs such as MSNBC, CNN, NPR and the BBC and has been interviewed by leading newspapers such as the Washington Post, New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, radio and in the mainstream press. He has given presentations and spoken in 16 countries on 4 continents.


More information

  • Stephen Balkam
Ronda (Málaga)
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