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1(20) CS5038 The Electronic Society Lecture 17: Impact on Society Lecture Outline The Information Age Analysing the Effect on Society Understanding the.

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Presentation on theme: "1(20) CS5038 The Electronic Society Lecture 17: Impact on Society Lecture Outline The Information Age Analysing the Effect on Society Understanding the."— Presentation transcript:

1 1(20) CS5038 The Electronic Society Lecture 17: Impact on Society Lecture Outline The Information Age Analysing the Effect on Society Understanding the Internet and Society The Culture of the Internet Techno-meritocratic culture Hacker culture Virtual communitarian culture Entrepreneurial culture

2 2(20) The Information Age Industrial revolution  Steel, coal => energy, physical power to manipulate physical things Information age  Telephony, computers, Internet => communication, storage, processing of information Early 20 th century  Networks of electric power Now  Networks of information In the late 20 th Century 3 processes came together: 1.Economic needs: globalise capital, production, trade 2.Demands of Society: Values individual freedom, open communication 3.Advances in ICT: made possible by micro-electronics/VLSI etc. (to debate: what were the driving forces behind the e-Society?)

3 3(20) Analysing the Effect on Society Technology is the best understood aspect of the Internet  The social aspect is poorly understood Speed of change has left scholarly research behind There currently exist many contradictory viewpoints, e.g.:  Internet radicals: new era of opportunity  Internet sceptics: terrible nightmare, end of society Lack of understanding evident in stock market  Before April 2000: Internet related business valued highly  By 2001: opposite  No sound consideration of business models/management  Instead influenced by crowd psychology

4 4(20) Understanding the Internet and Society Understand one of the chief characteristics of the human species:  Conscious communication Social History of Technology  Humans (individuals or via institutions/companies/society) transform technology by appropriating it, modifying it, experimenting with it. Two way process  Humans are affected by the Internet  Humans transform the Internet itself Internet was designed for free communication - BUT - it is malleable  Social outcomes are to be determined by experience, not proclaimed beforehand

5 5(20) Understanding the Internet and Society: the two way process: examples e-Commerce  Not simply a case of companies making use of the Internet  e-Commerce has transformed the business world: rules and procedures of production, management and economic calculation Third world development  People proclaim that Internet can help  Columbia: criminals using Internet to distribute threats, extortion Internet is expression of ourselves

6 6(20) The Culture of the Internet Technology is produced by society Society is informed by culture  The internet was shaped by the culture of its producers  Its producers were also its first users  Call them producers/users  Those whose practice of the Internet feeds directly back into the technological system.  Distinguish them from consumers/users  Those who use the applications and systems  Do not interact directly with the development  Except through aggregate effect on evolution of system Remainder of lecture focuses on producers/users

7 7(20) The Culture of the Internet What is culture?  Set of values and beliefs informing behaviour  Repetitive patterns of behaviour generate customs that are enforced by institutions (as well as informal social organisations)  A collective construction that transcends individual preferences Internet Culture: Four-layer structure 1.Techno-meritocratic culture 2.Hacker culture 3.Virtual communitarian culture 4.Entrepreneurial culture  Example: Bill gates  Denounced hackers as thieves  Asserted primacy of property rights  Put money making before technological innovation (contrast google)

8 8(20) Techno-Meritocratic Culture Historically Internet grew from academia – hence academic values Believe scientific and technological development are key to progress of mankind Community of technologically competent members; acknowledging each other as peers Formal or informal rules:  Openness in all scientific discoveries with due credit to all contributors  All findings open to criticism  Resources not to be used for own exclusive benefit  Individual advancement of technological skills acceptable Membership of the community is established by individual performance; reputation is central to seniority in community ranking Merit results from contributing to the technological advancement of the community for common good and obeying the rules Some members are authoritative and set tasks and goals Ranking of a discovery:  Depends on contribution to problem solving objectives defined by the community  Determined by peer review among members

9 9(20) Hacker Culture Community of expert programmers and networking wizards Programmers collaborating online on self-defined projects  No institutional or commercial assignments Nurtures technological innovation Bridges gap between knowledge originated in techno- meritocratic culture and the entrepreneurial spin-offs that diffuse the Internet in society at large “Script kiddies” and “warez d00dz” are a small part of overall hacker culture (crackers) Hacker culture typified by Linux development (Open Source)

10 10(20) Hacker Culture Features of hacker culture: All features of techno-meritocratic culture apply Freedom to  Create  Appropriate whatever knowledge is available  Modify code  Redistribute knowledge in any form by any channel  Commercialise Gift culture – give to community to gain esteem Joy of creation – close to world of art  No dependence on institution, but on self defined community Organisation is informal – not enforced by institution Money, proprietary rights and institutional power are excluded as sources of authority Informality and virtuality differentiate it from academic culture; e.g. hackers rarely meet in the physical world, rarely use real names Subcultures – e.g. freedom of speech: Electronic Frontier Foundation

11 11(20) Virtual Communitarian Culture Virtual Communities: early users created: news groups, bulleting boards, mailing lists, chat rooms, multi-user games, conference systems Non-skilled users Contributed to evolution of internet, especially commercial manifestations Makes the Internet a medium of selected social interaction and belonging Diverse communities: culture does not represent a coherent system of values and social rules Still, some shared cultural features  Free communication  Self-directed networking (search for information or post information)

12 12(20) Entrepreneurial Culture Diffuse Internet practices in all domains of society  Commercial uses initially built on communal, hacker and techno cultures  Since then Internet largely shaped around commercial uses Entrepreneurial innovation rather than capital was driving force Made money out of ideas Established companies lost money due to lack of ideas Transform technological know-how and business vision into financial value - and use this value to make vision a reality  Traditional money seeking cultures (e.g. Wall Street) try to make money by predicting future market behaviour  Internet Entrepreneurs try to sell the future because they believe they can make it  Strategy: Change the world through technology and be rewarded with money and power Two types: techno-business entrepreneur and venture capitalist

13 13(20) Internet Culture - Interaction of Layers Techno-meritocratic culture  Born of big science and academia  Try to dominate world by power of knowledge Hacker culture  Specifies the Techno-meritocratic  Freedom ultimate value Virtual communitarian culture  Like hackers except used Internet for social life rather than technology for its own sake Entrepreneurial culture  Used power that came with technology to make money and hence dominate the world and make the internet the backbone of our lives

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