IV Congress of CiberSociety 2009. Analog crisis, digital future

Editorial line

The current world, the world as we know, the world of uneven prosperity, seemingly in equilibrium in a post 'cold war' era, cracks. Several factors have shaken and transformed it to the point of making it unrecognizable. We have experienced more than two decades of the so-called digital revolution. We have spent a large part of those two decades trying to discover, analyze and suggest changes in a world organized into a network and intensely mediated by technology, where all the borders of the post-industrial society of the second half of the twentieth century mingle, merge and fuse. And suddenly, the world economic crisis erupts.

Crises are times of change and challenge but also of opportunity, and the globalization of economy, society, and culture is revealing its limitations and adverse effects. Pure dialectics? Indications and contraindications ... both interest us. It is therefore necessary to identify, analyze and propose best practices involving the use of ICT which are contributing not only to the development and consolidation of the digital knowledge society, but which are also having a clear impact on the offline and analogue, opening up new future hybrid alternatives.

Analogue, as a metaphor describing a pre-digital model of society, clearly conveys a depletion of its economic, social, ecological, (geo) political, religious, identity, cultural dimensions ... In counterbalance, the digital portends possibility, calling for new forms of organization, creation, communication, collaboration, production and consumption. The present, the future can only be digital. It stands not only as a technology but also as a political model, an alternative project, a collective path by which to correct the excesses of a period that can only be left behind.

However, both states together give rise to many contradictions, continuities and gray areas that cannot be resolved by simple aggregation or unconditional welcome. On one hand, digital technology can also be understood as setting off and accelerating the current economic crisis. On the other hand, more traditional models of production, communication and collaborative consumption - analog by definition " may offer a more viable path to 'reset' collective confidence.

Beyond these logical, desirable, charming and analyzable contradictions, questions multiply: What business and production models can be supported by the emerging technologies? How will education evolve through networking and collaborative learning? What models of citizenship and political participation are emerging in this new socio-technical paradigm? What impact is the use of ICT having on science and research? How does communication and culture change by becoming digital? All these questions lead to many others, and these in turn lead to new questions, weaving a cloth of exponentially growing issues we propose to extend and consider as a whole.

2009 is a year of anniversaries around the Internet and the World Wide Web. ARPANET was born forty years ago, twenty years ago Tim Berners-Lee presented his idea of the World Wide Web, and for the last decade, we have observed and inquired about the cybersociety from this corner of the net. The Information Age, therefore, is no longer something new nor an uncharted territory. Although we live immersed in a world saturated with information and innovation, it is still possible to identify several areas where ICT can extend its social impact, offering new ways to organize, to learn, to interact. The Internet and digital technologies are already present. The question is: what is their future? What futures are possible?

.We want to focus the debate that emerges from this context and from the questions inspired by curiosity, research, observations, and resulting hypotheses and to have these (re) developed and shared with society. Access to the Internet continues to spread across large swathes of the population; meanwhile, a technosocial culture of innovation and exploration is flourishing with new opportunities for creativity and experimentation. Both trends, at the time of writing this editorial, still have not been affected by the vagaries of the economy, and instead promise to continue growing, offering new ways to share and develop ideas.

The renewed scientific interest aroused by the application of ICT in different areas of research and knowledge provides an opportunity to share and disseminate best practices in the field of study that has become the Internet. However, the most creative, the most irreverent proposals come from beyond the academy, demonstrating that in the digital world, open innovation is most fertile when placed at the margins between disciplines, collectives, and specialties, both within and outside the university ? on the streets, in schools, businesses, cities, and institutions.

Start from here, from the provocation and from the many contradictions that lie behind the slogan "Analogical crisis, digital future" ? From a sociological perspective of technology and a technical perspective of society. Additionally, as a welcome ingredient, the necessary questioning of our era and the role that the Internet has played in shaping it: for having caused so much destruction and promising so much potential. CyberSociety, as a hybrid paradigm, as a social model, as a global model, is the main character and target of this new call to debate. Shall we play?