Theory of Life in the Information Society
Acting as a kind of "cultural intelligence agency", World-Information.Org maps the infosphere the worldwide digital network of information systems and data streams.
The studies of the systems for information production - manipulation, distribution and control -flow into meta- information on the cultural, social, economical and technological fundamentals of a globalized information society. World-Information.Org (supported by the organization Vienna Institute for New Technologies / Public Netbase) is an international network structured with a variety of partners; renowned scientists, media theorists, economists, culturalists and artists all lend their knowledge and experience. Regular contributors to World-Information.Org include Cees Hamelink (from the Netherlands), author of several UNESCO communication reports; The British founder of Privacy.Org, Simon Davis; journalist and "Echelon" expert Duncan Campbell (also from the UK), and media theorist Edward S. Herman, from the USA. Artists associated with World- Information.Org include Marko Pelijhan (from Slovenia), a participant in "Documenta X", and the media camouflage experts RTMark (USA) and Ingo Gunther (Germany / USA), who also is known for his work with globes.
The data collected and evaluated by World-Information.Org flows into a "knowledge base" that has been accessible via the World Wide Web since July 2000. Therefore, detailed background information about the infosphere is accessible to a public still highly uninformed about the risks and dangers of the information society. In order to compensate for the limited or one- dimensional policies of military or economically-oriented news services, World-Information.Org strengthens the public space in electronic networks and fulfills the need for a wide range of independent information that contributes to the development of society.
Cultural Intelligence for Everyone
Sufficient and - most of all - reliable information is at the core of each decision, whether private or public. Yet the present change from an industrial to an information and knowledge society has left broad sectors of the public as well as decision-makers insufficiently aware of, or educated in, the information and communication technologies - at least, not enough to be able to participate creatively in their development.
The Cultural Intelligence Service or World-Information.Org contributes to the reduction of the information deficit. The background information on the information society is open to all interested people - and in fact can help to emancipate them. The primary focus of World-Information.Org is the strengthening and promotion of the public sphere in terms of electronic networks and of the electronic cultures in terms of cultural heritage. It also is dedicated to the preservation of cultural diversity in the infosphere ("digital ecology") and to the acknowledgement and acceptance of responsibility of digital human rights.
Future Heritage - the Cultural Heritage of Tomorrow
The acquisition early on by artists of experimental information and communication technologies greatly influenced contemporary art: digitalized, process-oriented, interactive, multimedia works - found, in most cases, via the internet - added to the development of lively and diverse electronic cultures. These electronic cultures are at the same time cultural evidence of the present, and lend to the identity of a highly complex society. The information- and communication-oriented arts of today are the cultural heritage of the future.
Legal, technical, scientific and, of course, financial precautions are needed for the promotion of art in electronic networks in order to pass on this heritage to future generations. If these efforts are not taken, an immense loss of cultural memory will loom.
Digital Ecology encompasses the production, storage, accessibility, ownership and use of information and knowledge. The data streams - flowing through different media form a complex ecology in the digital sphere. A social and culturally-tolerant digital ecology is marked by a variety of information and cultural manifestations. The goal is to have a wide range of information instead of information monocultures, which threaten to dominate because of the rise of a handful of international media oligopolies.
Digital Human Rights
In the change from an industrial to an information society, efficient communication technologies are created - formed with military links. These technologies conceal the danger of public interest being abused by governments or enterprises. At the same time, the technologies establish a new power structure - a disadvantage for all who have no access to new technologies, nor the experience in handling them - because it cuts them off from development and knowledge. The power structures in the information society require the completion of general human rights by human rights in the digital domain. Digital human rights are based on the understanding of communication as the base of civilization, identity and the formation of communities.
Among these basic digital human rights are the right of access to electronic networks, the right of free opinion and speech and, last but not least, the right to a private, intimate sphere - guaranteed and respected in cyber space.