[artinfo] fwd: the information society at the crossroads

Geert Lovink geert at xs4all.nl
Mon Sep 22 09:38:10 CEST 2014

let me draw your attention to a conference we are preparing for june 
3-7, 2015, in vienna. the theme is "the information society at the 
crossroads - response and responsibility of the sciences of 
information". the conference style is a summit, albeit a democratical 
one, of organisations and networks and individual people concerned.

look at summit.is4is.org. there you will find the call for participation.

i'm happy to receive comments and suggestions,

ao.univ.prof. dr. wolfgang hofkirchner

gobergasse 1, 1130 wien

+43 1 58801 18730 (no voicemail)



Hello world!

September 15, 2014

"hello world!" is the default form of address the blog software at 
hand is suggesting to me. at first glance, my reaction would be to 
refuse that term and delete it. won't it tempt me to become 
presumptuous? shouldn't i better be more humble and aware of 
critiques that my post would add to an endless flood of information 
(meaningless or meaningful) just because of my personal demand for 

given, what i want to call for here, however, i feel rather inclined 
to leave it as it is (though with a certain sense of irony). - 
anyway, the upcoming summit intends

	* to focus on the state of the world (we have a choice 
between a possible breakdown and a needed breakthrough)
	* to gather as many concerned world-wide as we can and, eventually,
	* to form a "coalition of the willing" (sorry for that 
plagiarism - another irony) to contribute to a change (to the 
worldwide fulfilment of a sustainable information society).
of course, that is ambitious and demanding but - i hope you will 
agree - it is not pretentious and not a sectarian claim.

pls, have a look at this call for participation. judge by yourself. i 
hope to be able to welcome you to our initiative.


Call for participation

ISIS Summit Vienna 2015

Response and Responsibility of the Sciences of Information

Vienna University of Technology, June 3-7, 2015

The information society has come with a promise - the promise, with 
the help of technology, to restore information as a commons: 
generated and utilised by everyone; for the benefit of every single 
person and all humanity; unfettered, empowering the people, truthful 
and reasonable, enabling constructive ways of living and a proper 
understanding of the environment.

The promise has not yet proven true. Instead, we face trends towards 
the commercialisation and commoditisation of all information; towards 
the totalisation of surveillance and the extension of the battlefield 
to civil society through information warfare; towards disinfotainment 
overflow; towards a collapse of the technological civilisation itself 
as a consequence of the vulnerability of information networks and, in 
the most general terms, as a consequence of ignorance of the 
fundamental information processes at work not only in natural systems 
but also in social and artificial systems.

The social and technological innovations that are intended to boost 
cognition, communication and co-operation are ambiguous: their 
potential to advance information commons is exploited for purposes of 
self-aggrandisement rather than concern for the overarching 
communities in which every human self is embedded from the family to 
world society. Tools - computer and other - are made for profit, 
power or predominance; the goal of a flourishing and thriving of 
humanity as a whole takes a distant second place, if it runs at all.

Thus, the information society has reached a crossroads: without 
significant change, business as usual can even accelerate its 
breakdown. A breakthrough to a global, sustainable information 
society must establish an information commons as a cornerstone of a 
programme for coping with the challenges of the information age.

Critical reflection is a task whose time has come. Today, the 
researchers and developers in almost every science study information 
processes in one respect or another, whether or not they term it 
information. But what is their individual and collective response to 
the challenges ahead? And what is their individual and collective 
responsibility for the consequences of their findings?

The focus of the reflection of information studies needs to be twofold:

- on the impact of the sciences of information: how can we improve 
the design and implementation of social and technological 
applications for the advancement of a viable information society and 
individual autonomy?

- on the foundations of the sciences of information: how can we 
improve the concepts we use for the study of information at all 
levels, from natural information processes to the information society 
and information technology, such that they open new vistas that allow 
for improved applications?

The International Society for Information Studies calls for a 
commitment to an on-going open discussion of all issues related to 
the questions named above. The gathering scheduled for June 3-7, 
2015, hosted by the Faculty of Informatics at the Vienna University 
of Technology during its 200-year anniversary, will comprise 
different disciplines, fields of expertise, schools, practitioners 
and stakeholders and will provide opportunities for exchanges that 
will necessarily be inter- and transdisciplinary.

The aim is to contribute to setting the course for the future 
development of the information society in the desired direction by 
establishing a platform that facilitates working toward the 
construction of information as a commons. The Summit 2015 will be 
followed by a Summit 2017.

We invite everybody concerned, professional, layman, public figure; 
every research institution, company, civil society organisation; to 
participate already by

- suggesting to organise a conference stream, a panel, a paper 
session, a workshop or else on their own and take the role of a 
co-initiator or co-organiser;

- supporting the meeting as a partner organisation;

- becoming a sponsor of the event.

Topics to be suggested are expected to highlight constraints and 
enablements of developing human collective intelligence and wisdom to 
such an extent that the transformation into (a new) world society can 
be sustained. They may range from

- the evolution of information processes in nature to

- problems of information friction in scientific-technological, 
environmental and social (economic, political, cultural) realms.

Send your proposal to summit at is4is.org, in case of co-initiating or 
co-organisation before 17th of November, 2014. We will contact you 
and look forward to entering into co-operation with you.

Science and technology are part of the problem. But the sciences of 
information are also part of the solution!

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