Social computing and the fourth revolution: Inforgs at the barricades

Horner, David (2011) Social computing and the fourth revolution: Inforgs at the barricades In: Twelfth International Conference: The Social Impract of Social Computing ETHICOMP, 14-16 September, 2011, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK.

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In a previous Ethicomp paper I criticised the continual resort to the language of ‘revolution’ to characterise the social and ethical impacts of the latest developments in information and communication technology (Horner, 2010). I argued that it may be worthwhile re-examining the apparently canonical assumption that ethical concerns are necessarily about radical novelty. In this paper I want to extend the discussion by examining the foundations of one specific and ‘revolutionary’ interpretation of the implications of social computing. I refer to the radical and influential account given by Luciano Floridi (Floridi, 2010). He argues that we are currently experiencing a Fourth Scientific and Technological Revolution which is transforming not only our view of the world but also our view of ourselves. Social computing is implicated as one of the symptoms of this transformation. Floridi puts ‘information’ and the concept of the ‘infosphere’ at the core of his analysis. He wants nothing less than for us to accept and conform our morality to the idea that ‘...the infosphere is Being considered informationally’ (Floridi, 2008, p.200). In this paper I want to show how in arriving at his system he makes, what seem to me to be, some fundamental philosophical errors and the consequences of these for his ethical system.

Item Type: Contribution to conference proceedings in the public domain ( Full Paper)
Subjects: G000 Computing and Mathematical Sciences
Faculties: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics > Social Informatics
Depositing User: editor cmis
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2012 11:33
Last Modified: 24 Mar 2015 12:28

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