July 2009


Peter FLEISSNER (Technical University of Vienna)

With the increasing division of labour and the emergence of markets, useful things have started to become sold and bought. They began a new career as commodities. Since Aristotle the dialectic face of commodities, later on in detail elaborated by Karl Marx, is well known, they carry value in use and value in exchange. Nowadays, where we understand the economy as a social construction and are aware of the relativity of value given to objects, we are still confronted with the same distinction and also with the transition of objects into commodities. The commodification process has not come to an end yet.
The paper gives an overview on the processes of commodification and de-commodification of goods and services as a background for analysing developments in the emerging information society on a global scale.
Possible strategies on how to go on from now are presented, among them the struggle and on-going resistance of the European Parliament on the one hand, against the European Commission and the European Patent Office on the other, also the movements of open source/free software and the ideas of copyleft to create new rules for information goods.

Article

Christian FUCHS (Universidad de Salzburg)

Critical information theory is an endeavour that focuses ontologically on the analysis of information in the context of domination, asymmetrical power relations, exploitation, oppression, and control by employing epistemologically all theoretical and/or empirical means necessary for doing so in order to contribute at the praxeological level to the establishment of a participatory, co-operative society. Three foundational aspects of a critical theory of information are discussed in this paper: the relation of immanence and transcendence, the relation of base and superstructure, and ideology critique.
The logical figure of immanent transcendence is based on the dialectic of essence and existence and poses a viable counterpart to positivistic and postmodern definitions of critique. As an example for the logic of immanent transcendence to critical information theory, a contradiction of the Internet economy is discussed.
The debate on redistribution and recognition between critical theorists Nancy Fraser and Axel Honneth gives the opportunity to renew the discussion of the relationship of base and superstructure in critical social theory. Critical information theory needs to be aware of economic, political, and cultural demands that it needs to make in struggles for ending domination and oppression, and of the unifying role that the economy and class play in these demands and struggles. Objective and subjective information concepts are based on the underlying worldview of reification. Reification endangers human existence. Information as process and relation enables political and ethical alternatives that have radical implications for society.

Article

Félix BARRIO & Samuel FERNÁNDEZ (INTECO)

The modernization of a State cannot be limited to a single sector or branch of knowledge, since government is intrinsically intersectorial and interdisciplinary. A government will only be able to enter the era of knowledge and innovation when the question itself is treated as a priority. Programs, plans and projects involving information technology must be treated strategically. The short-, medium- and long-term efforts these plans imply must become points of “consensus” in the various sectors of society that are in any way involved in the question, because the perspective proposed here is not confined to the strict scope of government and public Administration.

Article

Juan Carlos FERNÁNDEZ-MOLINA (Universidad de Granada)

Two competing perspectives of information are analysed. First, the opposition among considering it a human right, so all people should access to it regardless of their economic power, or a commodity, to which only can access who can pay for it. In the same vein, the dichotomy between private or shared property of information is examined, specially meaningful in the intellectual property and copyright legislation field.

Article

Estela MASTROMATTEO (Universidad Central de Venezuela)

This contribution emphasizes that in order to achieve a real and sustainable human development in Latin America, and for this region to be part of the information society is extremely important to create conditions for a free access to information, education for everyone and permanently, and a development in science and technology destined to serve society. Access to information and information technology are major promises in this era, but at the same time, become new forms of exclusion. In Latin America the two realities coexist. Is crucial in the solution, to rethink the ethics of information and values that underlie it, respect for human rights, the commitment of societies and our leaders. Highlights the role of libraries as mediators in the production process, organization and retrieval of information access, in safeguarding the freedom of information and the right to free expression through technology, with ethics and values into a real development in Latin America.

Article

Leticia BARRIONUEVO (Universidad de León)

The concept of scholarly information and the importance of Open Access is analysed along with the importance that initiative is giving in the academic-scientific field and in society. The model of scholarly communication is studied, as well as, the concerns and problems that could arise. Two paths drive to Open Access: gold road, that suggests the publication of research in OA journals, and green road, whereby authors self archive their papers in repositories, which are other choices to traditional model of scientific dissemination.

Article

José Antonio MOREIRO, Jorge MORATO, Sonia SÁNCHEZ-CUADRADO, Anabel FRAGA (Universidad Carlos III)

Indexing languages have traditionally been an essential tool for organizing and retrieving documental information. The inclusion of indexing languages into the digital environment leads to new frontiers, but also new opportunities. This study shows the historical evolution of the indexing languages and its application in document management field. We analyse diverse trends for their digital use from two perspectives: its integration with other digital and linguistic resources, and the adjustment of it to the Web environment. Finally, it is analysed how these languages are used in the Web 2.0, and the incorporation of ontologies in the Semantic Web.

Article

José María DÍAZ NAFRÍA (Universidad Alfonso X)

Well at the beginning of his famous “Mathematical Theory of Communication” (MTC), Shannon removes from the technical task the semantic questions, and such exoneration seems to be commonly accepted, even for those who certainly care for ‘semantic questions’. However, the own MTC communication model is built upon this fundamental assumption, which at a time is used in other information theories and –with even wider practical consequences– as a design pattern for the Information Technologies.
When the human communication is more and more dependant with respect to information technologies, the suitability of the communication model used to design the technological systems has to be put into scope. Non essential element needed to establish a proper human communication should be omitted; otherwise this technology could isolate people, betraying its hypothetical purpose. Comparing the technological model to other based on several pragmatic theories of communication (emerged in linguistics, semiotic, psychology and anthropology) it is shown the insufficiency of the technological model, pointing out some elements that a new model should not forget.

Article

Alberto GALINDO (President of the Royal Academy of Sciences)

The irruption of quanta in physics has radically disturbed our view of reality. The relativity demolished the widespread belief in the space and time absoluteness; but one may safely assert that the quantum principles of complementarity and indeterminacy have been more deeply perturbing, as they have obliged us to renounce knowing one half of reality in order to know the complementary half. Moreover, the embodiment of randomness in the quantum formalism, not because of incomplete knowledge, but as an essential imposition of nature, is another feature of the new scientific discourse, implying thereby the abandonment of the Laplacean determinism. Finally, there is an even more intriguing feature of quantum physics: the entanglement. Related to the linear structure of the quantum formalism, the entanglement is responsible, in particular, for the possibility that we might know the state of a compound system while ignoring the states of each of its parties.
Information, seen as memory, processing and communication, is undoubtedly physical. It abides by the physical laws, which give to it their strength and their weakness. The classical information relies on the bits, physical entities which are both robust (under external perturbations) and clonable, and it has a dominant presence in our modern society, which is unimaginable without the support of computers or without the world wide web. But information and quanta met each other about twenty years ago, and from their encounter a promising quantum information has sprung up. Now the dramatis personae are the qubits, fragile and non-clonable. Quantum cryptography and quantum computation outstand as the main research areas in this field.

Article

Manuel LIZ (Universidad Laguna)

The paper analyses the thesis that all reality may be, in the last term, no more than information and also the thesis that our mind may be, in the last term, no more that information. Both theses are rejected. And it is argued for the need to take into account non-informational aspects of reality which are epistemically accessible. Only that way, the problem of selecting a determinate semantic content and the problem of error could be faced. The two more common strategies to deal with these problems go through the appeal to some primitive “referential capacities” or to the appeal to some special kinds of “functions”. We propose another strategy, much more simple and explanatory, based on the notion of signalization. In relation to that notion, we offer a quite suggesting definition of semantic content, and we obtain some relevant consequences.

Article

« Previous PageNext Page »