IBM CEO Sam Palmisano is giving a talk to the Council on Foreign Relations, "A Smarter Planet."
The gist of the talk is that IBM believes that the world is not only becoming smaller and flatter, it's about to become a lot smarter. Significant trends occurring right now like the newly elected US president, the global financial crisis, and global environmental change create the need and opportunity for us to make our societies around the world work better. In "I.B.M. Has Tech Answer for Woes of Economy," the New York Times describes this proposal as "a technology-fueled economic recovery plan that calls for public and private investment in more efficient systems for utility grids, traffic management, food distribution, water conservation and health care."
When IBM releases the text of the speech, I'll link to it.
Andy Piper (who blogs faster than me and has a 6-hour head start in the UK!) discusses this at length in Smart Planet. Aaron Kim also makes comments in IBM: Building a smarter planet, as does Kevin Aires in The Planet is Getting Smarter! - includes new IBM video. IBM's plans for a "smarter" planet are also mentioned in a broader context in "Making U.S. Tech More Competitive" in Business Week.
This looks like a significant policy proposal that could really help spur the discussion of how we tackel the problems we face today.