15.322 Academia Europaea workshop

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: Sun Oct 21 2001 - 03:07:46 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 322.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2001 08:03:14 +0100
             From: Prof I Butterworth <i.butterworth@ic.ac.uk>
             Subject: Workshop on 'Virtuality: the social impacts of virtual

    Some time ago the Academia Europaea announced a small targeted workshop on
    'Virtuality: the social impacts of virtual information'. I confirm that
    the workshop will be taking at place at the Istituto Veneto di Scienze,
    Lettere ed Arti, Venice ( see http://www.istitutoveneto.it) 16th,17th and
    18th November 2001. Participation is by invitation only - but there are a
    very small number of places still available.

    Contact should be made by e-mail to the Executive Secretary of the
    Academia Europaea at:


    The workshop will start at 14.30 on Friday 16th November and end at lunch
    time on Sunday 18th November. We are able to provide free hotel
    accommodation for the two nights of 16-17th and 17-18th and meals at the
    workshop, but unfortunately our budget will not stretch to paying for air
    or train fares. We have block booked hotel accommodation.

    It is intended that the workshop will operate primarily through
    'brainstorming' round tables of some 10 people, reporting back to plenary
    meetings of the full workshop. In this way all participants will be
    expected to contribute. Each roundtable will be led by a facilitator and
    a rapporteur will record discussion.

    Given below is a draft programme with suggestions for the various issues
    that the Workshop might address. It is unlikely that we can discuss all
    of them; subjects on which to concentrate will depend on the final list
    of participants.

    The announced programme is given below - but we will now obviously also
    address the role of communications in abetting or fighting terrorism,
    the balance between law enforcement and free speech and related issues.

    Draft Programme

    Friday 16th November

    2 p.m. Registration

    2.30 Welcome

    2.45 Introduction and opening presentation

    3.15 First Breakout Session: e-Commerce

    A.1 Relation of e-commerce to the 'old economy'
    New businesses and new ways of doing business
    Lessons from the first dot.coms
    Business Models
    Hidden and real costs of e-commerce
    e-money. Micro-payments.

    A.2 Perceptions: The Public, Business and Financial Institutions
    The dangers of 'hype' and of 'complacency'
    Security in connection with e-commerce.
    Electronic crime.

    A.3 The arrival of new service providers, dangers and opportunities:
    Amazon vs. bookstores
    Commercial e-universitie

    5.00 First Plenary and Agreed Recommendations


    Saturday 17th November

    9.30 a.m. Introduction

    9.45 Second Breakout Session: Economic Issues

    B.1 Fundamental shifts in economic thinking.
    How to account knowledge and other intangible assets.
    ICT is changing boundaries between 'public' and 'private'
    Open access to formerly closed areas.
    Virtual technologies seem to be open to abuse to monopolies

    B. 2 The Quality of virtual material.
    Standards and who should maintain them.
    The role of government, academia, media

    B.3 The skills gap in ICT in Europe
    Professional ICT workers. Import and export of skilled ICT workers.
    Lack of ICT skills and understanding in commerce/industry
    Absence of ICT skills in the general public
    Need for user-friendly ICT

       1. Break

    11.30 Second Plenary and Agreed Recommendations

    13.00 Lunch

       1. Introduction

    15.00 Third Breakout Session : Social Impacts
    C1. The digital divide between social groups
    The digital divide between regions and countries

    C2. The dangers (and merits) of communication technologies disturbing
    social norms
    Does greater use of the virtual de-humanise social relations?
    The use of virtuality to enrich the lives of the lonely, isolated or
    Use of ICT for community building.

    C3. How do we deal with the fact that electronic communications link
    with very different beliefs or norms?
    Is such linking a good thing or disorientating?
    The technology can support illegal or anti-social material but can be
    used to suppress such material.
    Censorship and Freedom of Speech.
    The role of national courts and international agreements in controlling
    global communications

    16.30 Break

    17.00 Third Plenary and Agreed Recommendations

    Sunday 18th November

    9.30 Introduction

    9.45 Fourth Breakout Session: Sociology, Psychology and Philosophy of

    D1. The sociology and psychology of information overflow
    Have we too much information?
    How many e-mail messages can we process per day?
    How many hours surfing?
    Hundreds of TV channels: Blessing or curse? Improved choice or worsening

    D2. Philosophical issues
    The distinctions between virtuality and reality
    Can virtuality act as experimental philosophy
    The dangers when children and adults have difficulty of distinguishing
    between the virtul and the real.

    D3. Ethical issues

    Use of ICT to track a persons's interests and beliefs. Use of such
    information for commercial use.
    Availability of medical information about individuals and groups.
    Electronic gambling.
    Electronic and networked games which simulate, and possibly stimulate,
    violent situations.
    Pornography. (70% of e-commerce ?) Where are the boundaries?

    11.15 Break

    11. 45 Fourth Plenary and Agreed Recommendations

       1. Final Workshop Synthesis

    13.00 Workshop ends and lunch

    Professor Ian Butterworth CBE FRS
    Vice-President Academia Europaea

    Senior Research Fellow
    The Blackett Laboratory
    Imperial College
    Prince Consort Road
    London SW7 2BW

    Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 7525
    Fax: +44 (0)20 7823 8830
    E-Mail: i.butterworth@ic.ac.uk


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