Academic journal article Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline

Informing Systems as the Transformers of Information Wave into Virtual Civilization and Their Ethics Question

Academic journal article Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline

Informing Systems as the Transformers of Information Wave into Virtual Civilization and Their Ethics Question

Article excerpt

Introduction

This paper applies the civilizational approach to the understanding of the role of information and communication in the development of civilization at the levels of society, culture, and infrastructure. This approach treats a civilization as a live organism, larger than a nation, region, city, and village.

This investigation particularly aims at the impact of information and communication in civilizations that are active in the 21st century. The purpose of this enquiry is to evaluate the impact of informing systems on the development of the contemporary civilization, which begun about 6,000 years ago in 4,000 BC. This development is leading to the uprising of a Virtual Civilization in the 21st century. Also, this inquiry emphasizes the role of informing science in the development of a Virtual Civilization. By civilization, one can assume the following meaning (Targowski, 2009b):

   A civilization is a complex of compatibly interactive entities of
   society, culture(s) and infrastructure in a large frame of
   territory and time, usually embracing several nations and
   centuries/millennia.

So far the development and operations of social systems are investigated at rather small levels, such as family, village, city, and specific culture, nation, and region. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1991, we face the clash of civilizations (Huntington, 1996) as the New World Order in the 21st century. For example, it is not enough to say that the clash is only between the United States and ISIS. The clash is between Western and Islamic Civilizations today.

Analyzing the social change at the civilization level reflects the social change over large distances and long times. For example, the Western Civilization is functioning in America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand for about the last 1200 years. Similarly, the Islam Civilization is functioning in the Middle East, Africa, and Indonesia for about the last 1385 years. In the 21st century the major civilizations can be broken down to separate categories: Western, Eastern, Chinese, Japanese, Islam, Buddhist, Hindu, and African. These civilizations are dispersing through the whole globe through the means of individuals who immigrate to study, work, and live, yet who are in good real-time communication among their families and friends in different countries today.

How it is possible? Paper-based civilization cannot secure such good communication, even oral, telephone-based communication just slightly improved trans-civilizational communication in the 20th century. But the development of informing systems has transformed back office-oriented information-communication technology into real-time control systems into front office and interpersonal powerful info-communication that is embraced by almost every organization in the world and several billion people. This process is so powerful and overwhelming that it transforms real civilization into a virtual civilization that has tremendous impact on the social modus operendi of the society. The first foundation of informing science was laid down by Eli Cohen (1999, p. 5) as "the field of inquiry that attempts to provide a client with information in form, format, and schedule that maximizes its effectiveness." According to Zbigniew Gackowski (2011, p. 35), "If information denotes anything in form, the term informing can be defined as nothing more than developing and spreading patterns, that are represented by physical states." This author considers that information conveys meaningful content, expressed as a noun, and informing means communication process, expressed as a verb.

One can notice that terms such as information technology (IT) or informatics do not reflect the progress which took place in the world-wide communication ability when the Internet became a utility and wireless mobile communication became nowadays the unprecedented factor in making the world "flat" and full of parallel online communities. …

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