Previous Fora / 2003

Information based society and knowledge

World Science Forum - Budapest

Knowledge and Society

8-10 November 2003



Some of the present versions of the session summaries are working material. The finalised versions will be posted at the Forum’s homepage on the web.


Information-based Society and Knowledge

Within the mission of the Forum this session tried to address some aspects of this very wide range of topics belonging to the area of the session title, Information-based Society and Knowledge: scientific R&D achievements and approaches; problem definitions and perspectives on the technical and technological ICT fields (micro-scale research: e.g. grid computing, neurobiology, and so on, and macro-scale research: e.g. global cyberinfrastructure, and so on.); methods and tools for information and knowledge management; transition of information-based society to knowledge-based one; incorporating also the ethical, legal, social, socio-cultural dimensions.

Professor Freeman presented a brief overview of science creation and dissemination in respect of achieving scientific knowledge, going through observational, empricial, theoretical, computational and informational science discovery modes. As an example of a contemporary way of knowledge production, he mentioned the virtual observatory where all data is available for astronomers for new discoveries. To be precise, this can be regarded as the “first derivative” of observation, since it is properly seen as observation on observations. Therefore we must be prepared to encounter other, new forms of discovery that had not yet been concieved. These new forms might help us better understand the implications of our scientific efforts for society.

The other speakers gave a detailed view of the key features of an information-based society, the issues that need to be tackled and the possible solutions. These can help society and science benefit from the utilisation of emerging technological achievments.

Professor Roska highlighted that the build up of new principals and logic are necessary for the creation of new knowledge and information as such, e.g. brain-like wave-logic.

He discussed the case when the computer system design gains inspiration from natural systems, i.e. the potential of a new "analogic wave computer" as a computing paradigm for a diverse field of spatial-temporal algorithms, a computing model for neuromorphic modelling of living sensory system, and as an extension of reasoning and artificial understanding on spatial-temporal flows.

Reflecting Professor Freeman’s vision on new forms of discovery (observation on observation) Professor Roska emphasised that there is still an absolute necessity for novel experiment an research.

Professor Lobkowicz emphasised the adequate use of information and data, meaning not only an uncritical perception of gathered information and data, but embedding it into the wider context of validated and verified knowledge. This observation received the consensus of the session participants, in stating that access to info is not knowledge.

Professor Chereshkin expressed his views on the specific features of the information society, its prospects and threatening problems, influence of information technologies on social reform, communication, education, public health, business, work, design, research, public administration, and so on. He also touched upon the regulatory mechanism of safe social development, and the conflict between the knowledge and market economy.

The speakers concluded, that beside the opportunities, technological achievments might also imply threats. Therefore the transition from information-based to knowledge-based society requires consience and a responsible approach to knowledge creation and dissemination.

There was a common view on the importance of interdisciplinary education, more efficient support for young researchers, free access to information (e.g. online journals, databases, and so on). The building of informal networks can significantly contribute to the demand of knowledge system integration.