Information Policy Term Paper

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Fernando Elichirigoty (Basque)

September 10, 1998

Information Policy

Universities are the focus of the systems of government in Latin America…the same was true in Uruguay.

Knowledge Universe - Michael Milton (insider trader fame)… and the head of database company Oracle…Larry went together and started a school called Knowledge Universe, and Internet based educational company. This may be the harbinger of many more developers along these lines. University of Phoenix, California Virtual University, Western States University…examples of new technology specifically the Internet and the Web to lay the foundation for what a University is all about.

First area of interest = globablization, history of use of computer models. 1972 project at MIT first computer model that tried to figure out the impact of human activity/ human consumption. It created an uproar because it concluded that if human beings continued to go to motor production that there would be a collapse of industrial society. The ways in which technology allows us to conceptualize spaces in which we can govern. The nation state emerges historically, it is a human creation, there are some underlying human activities, thinking and producing knowledge…statistics (the science of a state…endless collection of information about people in a given territory) acting on that information to increase productivity is an essential product of a nation state. Producing laws that facilitate the movement of people in a certain direction: increasing the wealth of that particular territory…at core of nation state is science of statistics (as well as geography and history etc.). My argument with the use of computer simulation…computer simulation and satellite imaging is important to the globablization are tools with which we conceptualize the earth as a global space which we can manage and do things to it. We have a new perspective that allows us to grab the space as a whole, we are growing in our ability to think globally. It changes our perspective…Planet Management: ….computer stimulation and the emergence of global spaces.

I didn't know you could use tracking

A strong interest on knowledge management. I don't know what my way of thinking about this is going to be. The ability to control knowledge flow in a corporation.

Personal level…married, HS administrator Jericho Public Schools Language Arts K-12.

Moving for a host of reasons towards more and more interdisciplinarity…can connect field of information to something else. Outside academia it's a degree that will call attention to you in operating a corporate environment….increasing evaluation of knowledge. Probably started more in the financial sector more than anywhere else…now have academics in the financial world…starting in the 1980's..slowly expanding into other areas.

Might want to do a hot topic speech on cookies and privacy…

Microsoft vs. Java…go to technology news sites and collect two or three articles on that subject.

Collapse of boundaries…genetic information, right now corporations can own genetic information of medicinal plants, specific seeds, tribal group in Australia…the way in which that information now is at the core of everything we do including life itself…patenting genetic information relating to human life…ownership of specific plants etc. Interesting debate of owning genetic information of a particular tribe.

Take a meta look at these kinds of things, here we are actively training to have people think about these things. We are normalizing the issue that we can literally change the genetic information of life…through conferencing and discussions, we are normalizing the whole process of thinking genetically, and how we look at life. This is a dramatic shift from what is generally called a modern project…today there is a distinct division between the organic and the technological…we are saying it's ok to talk about genetics as flowing normally into human beings and life. Become alert to the discontinuity that that in fact presumes and highlights the strangeness of the world that we are dealing with.

My ideal, to provide a distance that allows us to step back and look at the world that we are dealing with. A mental, cognitive distance, to stop ourselves from feeling comfortable with the flow. The world is radically different from the world that we are accustomed to. Look at policy making in the context of those shifts, and understand policy making as providing this invisible and powerful web. And who is authorized to make these pronouncements.

We will talk about laws…

Look at nitty gritty of policy making…discussion of the field of policy making and methodologies. One thing I want to make unique is to gain a conceptual distance from this. I hope I will make a case to show you that there is a need to gain a conceptual dominion over the world we are living in…many people are doing many different things and there is a thread that is weaving through many of the changes that are going on, but we need to weed it out…what's behind copyright laws.

Readings for this week:

Theoretical terms are tools…a technological language needs to be developed…and in the social sciences there is a valid criticism that there is an overuse of jargon…but we need new terms that are not graspable…governmentality. Interesting article, a bit more dense, so it will take some time, read it twice if possible. It's not heavy duty theory…talks about some ideas and is very important term that will be used in this course. It will be a powerful tool to use when discussing policy.

Michael Foucault - passed on about ten years ago…in the prime of his productivity. Very controversial figure …debates between the post-moderns and moderns. People that say reality is an objective thing out there and easily graspable once you use certain methodology to do it. Others say we can't touch it, there is always a layer of interpretation between us and the real world.

Foucault is on the post-modern side of the debate…he himself is not interested in those questions…he kind of gets downplayed. He wrote a book called the Birth of the Prison his interests are in how institutions create us. We have this notion that we evolve this identity…language identifies us…certain things are allowed.. We are not free to create our own identity…you are already created…but you can move in a more creative way. This piece on governmentality is part of a lecture he gave in France, is part a discussion of how the act of government has come to exist in the world. How governmental power acts on people, permitting certain things and prohibiting others.

He wrote a book called the Order of things. Looks at how we have used words to order things…we are moving from the order of things of the modern age, and moving towards something else…a new order of things. For example, before the modern way of looking at nature -- -look at a plant and study its chemical composition and physical characteristics, that plant occupies that description and similar descriptions to other plants, this stands for the scientific method of looking at things. Prior to this people studied resemblances…a plant and something else. The "sword" plant and people saw that it had a shape like a sword, and it was used by doctors to heal sword wounds. They felt that God had created resemblances for people to understand…I think it dates from 1450-1650 just prior to the great push for modern world. So people organized reality in terms of resemblances. You paid special attention to the surface of things…because that was the language that got you thinking about connections. Now we feel this is unscientific thinking…but humans thought and taught in these terms. All descriptions and taxonomies that we use are specific to our age and mode of comprehending reality. Underneath the differences and things that are common to all of them. He wants to go deeper than just differences …underneath differences are a different organizing order. In a particular age that deepest order sort of ends up dictating the way you do certain things within your field almost unconsciously. We are in that time when that deeper order is changing…will use information policy to tease out some of these changes. Gain of an edge over our own age…to grasp why certain things are happening and why we feel comfortable with it, and why it feels normal. It was not always normal to do certain things.

It still is difficult for women to enter certain fields…Smith Barney big lawsuit…women.

There is another financial company in trouble…there is no door on the men's room and you can see the urinals across the hall.

The fish is not conscious of the water. It's about policy…I do want to get some of this out. It goes to the core of information policy…what is information. It is suddenly very difficult to define…it is the access within which things move…redefines the order of things. That is my working hypothesis.

Finding myself increasingly alienated from the web because of the privacy issues.

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