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Localizing the Internet:
Ethical Issues in Intercultural Perspective

4-6 October, 2004

|News| |Introduction| |Programme|

Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM)
Lorenzstr. 19,
76135 Karlsruhe, Germany
Dorint - Kongress Hotel Karlsruhe


The Symposium is Sponsored by VolkswagenStiftung

Fachhochschule Stuttgart -
Hochschule der Medien
Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM)
On Behalf of ICIE: Rafael Capurro, Thomas Hausmanninger


The list of participants is now closed

The ongoing debate on the impact of the Internet at a global and local levels is at the core of today's and tomorrow's political decision-making, particularly in a world that turns more and more unified – and divided. It is also at the core of academic research on what has been called Information Ethics. The leading ethical question is how embodied human life is possible within local cultural traditions and the horizon of a global digital environment. The first international symposium of the International Center for Information Ethics (ICIE) will deal with this question from three perspectives:

- Internet for Social and Political Development: Community Building

- Internet for Cultural Development: Restructuring the Media

- Internet for Economic Development: Empowering the People

The ethical perspective on intercultural aspects of the global digital network is a normative as well as a formative one. The symposium addresses the question of how people with different cultural backgrounds integrate the Internet in their lives. This concerns in the first place community building. How far does the Internet affect, for better or worse, local community building? How far does it allow democratic consultation? How do people construct their lives within this medium? How does it affect their customs, languages, and everyday problems? The question about information justice is thus not just an issue of giving everybody access to the global network (a utopian goal?), but rather an issue on how the digital network helps people to better manage their lives while avoiding the dangers of exploitation and discrimination.

It deals, secondly, with the changes produced by the Internet on traditional media, such as oral and written customs, newspapers, radio and TV, the merger of mass media, the telephone and the internet, and the impact of the Internet on literary culture. The symposium also reflects on the next generation of information and communication technologies such as ubiquitous computing and on what might be called the post-internet era. This aspect of the ethical question focuses on new methods of manipulation and control made possible or aggravated by the Internet.

Finally, it deals with the economic impact of the Net. Is it a medium that helps people to better opportunities for economic development? Or is it an instrument of oppression and colonialism? What is the impact of this technology on the environment? How does it affect what has been called cultural memory or cultural sustainability?

The symposium offers a platform for an academic exchange on these issues, to be addressed by keynote speakers and discussed in working groups focused on Asia, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, and USA/Europe. Group discussions will aim at addressing problems as well as best-practice experiences. Although the organisers will do their best for providing necessary conditions for relaxed yet engaged dialogue, the success of the symposium will reflect the contributions and enthusiasm of the invited participants to make it work.

The proceedings will be published in the International Journal of Information Ethics (IJIE)


Sunday, October 3

19:00 Welcome Dinner at Dorint Hotel

Monday, October 4

10:00 - 10:30 Welcome Addresses:

Prof. Dr. Peter Weibel (Director of ZKM)

Prof. Dr. Uwe Schlegel (Rector of Hochschule der Medien)

10.30 - 11.00 Rafael Capurro (Hochschule der Medien): Intercultural Information Ethics

I. Internet for Social Development: Community Building

11:15 - 12:00 Daniel Pimienta (President, Fundación Funredes, Dominican Republic): At the boundaries of ethics and cultures: virtual community as an open ended process carrying the will for social change

12:00 - 13.15 Lunch

13.30 - 15:00 Vikas Nat (Policy Analyst, UN Development Programme): Weaving Politically-relevant and Inclusive Community networks: How Internet is Changing Information Flows In Developing Countries. With case-studies from Asian Communities

Makoto Nakada (University of Tsukuba, Japan): Closed community consciousness: The relationship between „shared world“ orientation and people's attitudes concerning information media in Japan

Susana Finquelievich (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina):A Toolkit to Empower Communities in Latin America

15:15 - 16:45 Working groups

17:00 - 18:45 Forum: Reports from the working groups, discussion

19:00 Dinner at Dorint Hotel

Tuesday, October 5

II. Internet for Cultural Development: Restructuring the Media

9:30 - 10:30 Issiake Mandé (Paris/Burkina Faso): „New Technologies“ and „Ancient Africa“: the Impact of New Information and Communication Technologies in Sub-Saharian Africa.

10:30 - 12:00 Working groups

12:00 - 13:15 Lunch

13:30 - 14:30 Charles Ess (Drury University, USA): Can the Local Reshape the Global? Ethical Imperatives for Humane Intercultural Communication Online - Views from the Centers and the Margins

Wolfgang Coy (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin): On Sharing Intellectual Properties in Global Communities

14:30 - 16:00 Working groups

16:00 - 16:30 Coffee break

16:30 - 18:30 Forum: Reports from the working groups, discussion

19:00 Reception at Karlsruhe Town Hall (See: map)

Wednesday, October 6

III. Internet for Economic Development: Empowering the People

9:30 - 10:30 Michel Menou (Paris/City University, London, UK): Buzzwords and indicators about the networked society: metaphor, vacuity or fraud?

10:30 - 12:00 Working groups

12:00 - 13:00 Forum: Reports from the working groups, discussion

13:00 Final Address

14:30 - 15:30 ICIE Meeting

Optional: Visit to ZKM-Museum or to the Landesmuseum at Karlsruhe Castle.

Last update: June 5, 2004



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