What if Art Could Be the Universal Language which Defines Cyberpeace?

What if Art Could Be the Universal Language which Defines Cyberpeace?

By: Jeannie Cointre, Finance and Fundraising Manager, CyberPeace Institute.

Art has a colossal impact on human beings, it goes beyond aesthetics. A study published in the Frontier in Human Neuroscience journal stated that art is valued “not just for its beauty, but also for its social and epistemic importance; that is, for its communicative nature, its capacity to increase one’s self-knowledge and encourage personal growth, and its ability to challenge our schemas and preconceptions.” We can see the socio-epistemic value of art, through its development as a universal language that transcends culture, eras and borders. Art allows communication with distant populations, it’s a tool capable of transmitting a message of universal values and impacting human lives: a precious medium at the service of peace. 

Art to explain new concepts and break old myths

Nowadays, human space can take many different shapes and forms. One of those is perhaps unexpected – digital. It’s time to challenge a common belief that digital means mainly machines, devices or systems. It’s time to build awareness that digital space is human, that human security, dignity and equity are fundamental rights in digital ecosystems. Ensuring these rights means creating a new standard – cyberpeace – cyberspace at peace for everyone, everywhere.  

“In a world where technology is both a magnificent tool and a deadly weapon, only through art can we understand this paradox and realize the many complexities of cyberspace.” Stéphane Duguin, CEO, CyberPeace Institute. 

Creating an artistic dialogue about cyberpeace allows cyber experts and regular internet users to come together to use this universal and powerful tool for education, healing and unity. Not only does art help to visualize the intangible concept of cyberspace, but it can also challenge the existing understanding and preconceptions of cybersecurity. 

As a concrete example, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundationand the design studio IDEO launched the Cybersecurity Visuals Challenge, to produce easily-understandable images to illustrate the complexity of today’s cybersecurity challenges to broader audiences. The Center for Long Term Cybersecurity threw a similar contest to find artistic proposals to explain cybersecurity topics. These creative challenges are just the first step. It’s crucial to expand public dialogue and awareness and start a cyberpeace movement.

Art to visualize cyberpeace

Cyberspace is present in all aspects of our modern lives. It allows us to connect, work, learn, educate, do business, travel, create communities, benefit from essential services –  healthcare, water, food and finance – to exercise our rights including protecting our privacy and voting. When cyberattacks occur, we – as human beings – are impacted. The asymmetry between the capacity of cyberattackers and their victims creates enormous  vulnerabilities, often leaving victims of attacks without the means to fully recover. 

The online ecosystem is full of undefined elements. There is no official definition of cyberspace. Yet, it is a vibrant zone where billions of people interact every day. There is no denotation of a cyberattack and still, they impact the dignity and rights of populations every day. There is not a universal definition of cyber operations, yet States are conducting and sponsoring assaults. There is no overarching definition of cybersecurity, but it has become a basic human need, with a growing divide between those who can protect themselves from attacks online and those who cannot. 

Using art to inform and prepare users to be aware of  risks, to protect themselves and their rights, will drive demand for cyberpeace and justice. To explain cyberpeace, we need to show the world the stories of those who are affected by attacks, and those who are coming to their defence. Investigating and depicting the facts and realities about cyberattacks, whoever the actor, wherever the place, can help to prevent other attacks and potentially protect others. In the complex zone in which so many universal definitions are absent today, everyone should be accountable for their actions. 

It’s time to achieve cyberpeace.  We need art to help us imagine a world with cyberpeace. 



About the Author: 

Jeannie Cointre is a former professional basketball player. Philanthropist and creative mind, she currently serves as Finance and Fundraising Manager at the CyberPeace Institute. 

© Copyright: The concepts and information contained in this document are the property of the CyberPeace Institute, an independent non-governmental organization headquartered in Geneva, unless indicated otherwise from time to time throughout the document. This document may be reproduced, in whole or in part, provided that the CyberPeace Institute is referenced as author and copyright holder.

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