Tecnologie e Società


8th Social Study of ICT Workshop
Frances White


Information Systems and Innovation Group,
Department of Management,
London School of Economics and Political Science
The Habitat of Information: Social and Organizational Consequences of Information Growth
Friday 25th of April, 2008
The workshop will take place in the Hong Kong Theatre, Ground Floor, Clement House, LSE

Information growth is a distinctive phenomenon of the late 20th and early 21st century. Large varieties of information are currently produced and circulated, in a rapidly increasing scale, across the various institutional domains of contemporary societies. Technical and administrative innovations have been expanding the interoperable platforms that make possible the development and diffusion of information within and across systems and organizations. At the same time, a range of devices from desktop computing to cell phones and digital cameras have been spreading across the population, making individuals and social groups important producers and consumers of information. A pivotal development has been the emergence, expansion and deepening involvement of the internet in social and economic life.
Taken together, these developments establish a new socio-economic environment in which information-based operations, and information goods and services acquire crucial importance. This is clearly shown in the rapid ascent to economic dominance of internet-based companies that demonstrate superior data editing and information management strategies. New commercial possibilities steadily develop around the production, ordering and distribution of information, as data become interoperable across sources and older forms of information (e.g. image, text and sound) are brought to bear upon one another. But information growth has wider social implications as well. The involvement of information in every walk of life redefines the relationship between information and reality, and reshapes the social practices through which information is stored, retrieved, understood, disseminated and remembered. Increasingly, information mediates between humans and reality. In this context, the activities of ordering, making sense, evaluating, navigating  and acting upon information step onto the centre-stage of contemporary life, impinging upon skill profiles and personal choices. They often do so under conditions in which the established boundaries between individuals and institutions are rendered shifting and negotiable.
There is a growing awareness of the current information growth dynamics and the emerging information habitat. However, the recent character of the phenomenon makes the social and economic implications of these dynamics not well understood. The 8th Social Study of ICT workshop brings together a number of prominent scholars and practitioners whose work and experience help illuminate the relevant developments.
8.30-9.15 Registration
9.15 Welcome
Morning Session
9.45 – 10.45 Keynote: Information Growth and the Texture of Reality
Albert Borgmann, Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Montana.
10.45 – 11.00 Coffee Break
11.00 – 12.00 The Expanding Information Universe
John Gantz, Chief Research Officer and Senior Vice President of IDC – International Data Corporation.
12.00 – 13.00 Panel on the Organizational Consequences of Information Growth
This panel will address how companies and organizations are managing their information resources. Which strategies do they develop to cope with information growth and the increasing involvement of information in organizational operations? Which new practices, skills and roles emerge in today's information-intensive organizations and industries?
Chair: Dr. Carsten Sorensen, Information Systems and Innovation Group, Department of Management, London School of Economics.
Panel Participants:
- Azeem Azhar, Head of Innovation, Reuters.
- James Backhouse, Reader, Information Systems and Innovation Group, Department of Management, London School of Economics.
- Richard Boulderstone, Director of eStrategy, The British Library.
- Ole Hanseth, Professor, Department of Informatics, University of Oslo.
13.00 – 14.30 Lunch
Afternoon Session
14.30 – 15.30 Living in Ephemeria: On the Short-lived and Disposable Character of Information
Jannis Kallinikos, Professor, Information Systems and Innovation Group, Department of Management, London School of Economics.
15.30 – 16.30 The Fog of Data: Memory, the Past and Computers
Geoffrey Bowker, Professor and Director of the Center for Science, Technology and Society, University of California, Santa Clara.
16.30 – 17.00 Coffee Break
17.00 – 18.00 Panel on Information, Memory, and Culture
The panel will address the contrast between, on the one hand, the durability of technological information (e.g. databases) and, on the other hand, the short lifespan of information and its rapidly evaporating value (e.g. global stock markets). Information growth is intimately tied to the management of time and the proliferation of events in contemporary life. In this respect, it is as much an instrumental as a cultural phenomenon.
Chair: Giovan Francesco Lanzara, Professor, Department of Organization and Political Systems, University of Bologna, Italy.
Panel Participants:
- Elena Espósito, Associate Professor, Faculty of Communication Science, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy.
- Mireille Hildebrandt, Associate Professor, Law Faculty, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Free University Brussels.
- Lev Manovich, Associate Professor, Visual Arts Department, University of California, San Diego, California.
- Felix Stadler, Senior Lecturer, Media Arts Program, Zurich University of the Arts.
18.00-18.15 Final Remarks           
 If you are interested in coming please send an email to Frances White to reserve a place ( ).

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