Internet against Human Diversity in the Society of Global (but Divers) Information?

AUTHOR

Viorel Guliciuc and Emilia Guliciuc

ABSTRACT

In the ’40s of XXth century, Martin Heidegger was meditating on the relation between “Dasein” and “Gestell”. His conception was often rejected for his traditionalism and lack of adaptation at the Presence of the Technology in the contemporary society.

Nowadays, analyzing the information and communication technologies (ICTs) and theirs tendencies, we cannot imagine our lives without them. So, Heidegger has, partially, right to speak about the “dictatorship of the instrumental” in the contemporary societies.

In order to argue such an idea, we can use the following Net’s characteristics:

  1. It is a chaotic complexity in an exponential growth;
  2. It has a certain reductionism;
  3. It is characterized by strong anti-democratic tendencies;
  4. It is the best example of the sacred dictatorship of the Tool
  1. As mega-tool, the Internet is an unstructured complexity, a chaos comprising only islands of order. His most appropriate description is near the one proposed by Ludwig Wittgenstein for the world itself: a chaotic labyrinth of small streets and squares, of new and old houses, built without a clear architectural plan, near new districts, with right streets and uniform buildings etc.

    The Net is growing with 1, 5 – 2 millions pages every day and the obvious tendency is an increasing one in the next years. This growth is over passing the possibilities of the professional user of the ICTs to index, search and retrieve the information he need. As for the common user, the situation is even more dramatic: he is spending and wasting a lot of precious human time in order to understand that the Net is eventually an unstructured, unpredictable and unsearchable aggregate.

    What must be done if we want to extract more order from the Internet?

    The “WWW” authorities have increased the number of the “top domain names” in an attempt to produce more order in the Net. But other solutions would be useful, too – like are Knowledge Management (KM) technologies, for example.

  2. On the other hand, one can observe the reductionism in the Net’s communications growth and functioning: the depletion of the writing styles into the styles appropriate for e-publishing; the decreasing – as percentage – presence of the small and rare languages; the depletion of the type of files used for the creation of web sites; the decreasing number of the value office suites etc.

    As an example, a comfortable majority of the pages published on the Net are written in English. The general tendency is to transform English in the lingua franca of the “Information Society” / “Global Society”. This fact can dramatically affect the essential polytrophic / diversity of the human being and language and eventually reduce the richness of the human insertion in the reality, by the loose of the differences.

    We need to understand the ideas of “Divers Information Society” or “Global Diversified Society”. That is why we need to create and to put in work a new type of tools, in order to preserve and to promote our diversity. The Knowledge Management technologies can be such an answer, but on a semantic platform – like are, for example, the Arisem company’s ones.

  3. On the other hand, the accessibility of the ICTs is very restrictive one nowadays. Despite the general acceptance of the idea that the Net is favourable for the democracy, there are some aspects that can be discussed in order to see that it is also an elitist business story.

    The costs of the essential Net technologies are largely over passing the resources of the poor countries and communities, which are forced to work and survive without the ICTs. That is why the future of the e-democracy in those countries is an uncertain one.

    On the other hand, the training of the work force in the ICTs fields is also restrictive for many countries, communities and individuals. That is why their real access to the benefits of the e-democracy will be always an incomplete one, without that literacy.

    Even more important, the top ICTs technologies can be used in order to assure and improve the advantage of a rich minority against the claims of a less chanceful majority, by the huge quantity of useful information which can be extracted from the Net.

  4. Our increasing dependency to the ITCs is step by step transforming the Internet in a new religion. We can observe that the Net is becoming a transcendent Presence in our lives: being present on the Net means, nowadays, literally, existing in the real world. The virtual reality is forcing to replace the reality itself by effacing the classical differences between reality and possibility. The professionals of the Net are as the common priests, they have specific rituals, specific beliefs to defend etc. etc.

    Can we accept the thesis of the dictatorship of the Net against the Human Diversity?

    Only partially: as the Tool of the contemporary-and-future-society, the Internet is reversing his relation with the human being, putting the human being into a dependency. Such a process will bad affect the human essence, by restricting his liberty.

    Can we avoid those undesirable evolutions?

    Yes. In order liberate the human being from the instrumental dependency we must make the Tool to work on the Tool itself. The most convenient seems to be the use of the semantic and natural language information indexing, search and retrieval technologies, the Knowledge Management technologies.

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