On Life In The Infosphere


Prior to the panel discussion between Peter Sloterdijk and Peter Weibel, Luciano Floridi will give a keynote speech. Floridi will discuss the rise of the infosphere and how it is transforming our economies. He will also look at these questions from an ethical perspective. Sloterdijk will propose an explanation of the digital infosphere using three distinct spheres outlined in his books. Weibel, coming from the arts and sciences, highlights the novelty of transforming data into things, made possible only by the digital revolution. This panel discussion seeks to shed light on the yet little understood spheres of digital transformation and life in the infosphere. If we want to truly be in control of the changes we are observing right now, a thorough understanding of the underlying processes becomes imperative.

What is "infosphere"? Hubert Burda is thinking this might be the next big thing - or as DLD's motto of 2016 "the Next Next"? Luciano Floridi, University of Oxford, explained the concept to us - the philosophy behind. Today more devices/gadges than humans are existing, talking to each other and more data is created. In 2012 more data was generated than in the previous 5.000 years. Only 1% is used, following a Cisco-study. What are all the data good for if no one use them? We need to enveloping the world, Floridi said. Enveloping is coming from engineering - robots are living in an envelop, the robots do their jobs, but with new tasks they have to increase their envelops. What does it mean? We have great opportunities with computers but we need to make the infosphere environmental-friendly - think deeper, design better, be mindful.

It was a thought-provoking speech by philosopher Floridi, but with a sense of humor. We need to make technology to make us more human. We are special., because we are Nature's Beautiful Glitch. Nature will not make that mistake again, he ended his speech, taking a seat next to Peter Sloterdijk, Peter Weibel and Jeff Jarvis to start a deeper discussion on the topic.

Jeff Jarvis started with his favorite topic, mass media is dying. But Sloterdijk answered, the "infosphere" could be the new firmament of humanity. It's a pressure on us - we are living close to 30-40 Mio of neighbors, how can we handle it? Peter Weibel's answer is more like a commandment: "Thou shall not covet your neighbor's data!".

Is infosphere a game changer, a global transition like letterpress printing invented by Gutenberg? The philosophers think so, at least. The internet is not only about storage and submitting data, it's about handling it, Prof. Floridi said. That's why the internet is more important and it's a much bigger change then letterpress printing he thought. Prof. Floridi also said: why not having data donation protocols? Why not deciding to give my data to a special project after my death?

Summary of the talk: "The possibilities allowed by technology need to be understood also with philosophy. Some old analogue rules don't work. Our concept of "me" needs to include our data. Naturally we are so much more than our data." (via Peter Bon)

Mentioned in this live blog

Peter weibel pic quadr
Peter Weibel
Chairman and CEO
Jeff jarvis quadr
Jeff Jarvis
CUNY Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism
Professor & Director
CUNY Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism
Basking Ridge, NJ
171006 petersloterdijk 4 quadr
Peter Sloterdijk
HFG Karlsruhe
Philosopher and Author
HFG Karlsruhe
Luciano floridi 5   photo courtesy of ian scott quadr
Luciano Floridi
University of Oxford
Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information
University of Oxford

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