PostHeaderIcon Tech ‘has changed foreign policy’

By Jonathan Fildes
Technology reporter, BBC News, Oxford

Al Gore, AP

Gordon Brown has made a surprise appearance at TED Global – a meeting of leading thinkers in Oxford.

The UK prime minister talked about the power of technology to unite the world and offer ways to solve some of its most pressing problems.

He said that issues such as climate change could not be solved alone, adding that digital technology offered a way to create a "global society".

"We are the first generation to be able to do this," he said.

"Massive changes in technology have allowed the possibility of people linking up around the world," he told the TED Global (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference.

"We now have the means to create global society," he said. "The institutions can be created."

In particular, he said, organisations should be set up to tackle environmental, financial, developmental and security problems

"We are the first generation to be able to do this," he told the conference. "We shouldn’t lose the chance."

He said that older institutions founded after the Second World War, such as the United Nations or the International Monetary Fund, were now "out of date".

Audience at TED

"You can’t deal with environmental problems through the existing institutions."

Ted Global is invitation-only conference dedicated to "ideas worth spreading".

Each speaker – including the Prime Minister – is given 18 minutes to present to the audience.

Most talks are given by designers, technologists and scientists. However, events – usually held in the US – have seen talks by former US presidents and Nobel laureates.

The Prime Minister’s talk was met with applause. However, members of the audience, commenting on Twitter, expressed scepticism about his speech.

"I hope Gordon Brown listens to his own words of wisdom at TED and actually makes change rather than talking about it – again," read one.

This year’s conference runs from 21 to 24 July in Oxford, UK.</p

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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