13th UNESCO Chairs Program in Cyberspace and Cyber Culture: Dual-Spacization of the World meeting held at FWS; Economic Culture of Data Sharing
May 26, 2014
The 13th UNESCO Chairs Program in Cyberspace and Cyber Culture meeting about the dual-spacization of the world was held at the Faculty of World Studies on Wednesday, July 5, 2017. Ebrahim Mohseni Ahouei, the Ph.D. candidate of modern communication and media studies at the University of Vienna was the speaker of the meeting who talked about “economic culture of data sharing”.
Dr. Ehsan Shahghasemi, the member of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Tehran, began the meeting by discussing the economics of data. “The subject of data sharing has appeared simultaneously with the discussion on modern media. It can also be included under the category of traditional media. One of the most important issues in the past few years is the changes in convergence. It means that data exists and instruments have been converged.”
After Dr. Shahghasemi, the researcher Ebrahim Mohseni Ahouei, Ph.D. candidate of modern communication and media studies at the University of Vienna, began his speech by introducing his studies and the most modern trends in the field. Mohseni Ahouei argued that the main reason for discussing the economics of data sharing is the emergence of a social, political, and economic demand. “Studying the subject is important because the recent changes in the field of data and data sharing lead us toward a situation where the absence of necessary predictions about the phenomenon may produce legal and social crises.”
“Today, the committed experts of the world must rise and inform the world of the abusing public rights by the neoliberal economy. This abuse of power, especially by the multinational companies, which was introduced as ‘Cyberspace Empire’ by Dr. Ameli in 2011, is already happening and committed experts must assist in overcoming the issue,” he added.
Mohseni Ahouei continued his speech by dividing the history of the internet into three periods. “We can introduce three phases in the history of the internet. The 1st phase was the development of the net based on FTPs platform. The goal was transmitting audiovisual files, music, etc. between different devices. Then came the 2nd phase that was the development of the Web based on HTML platform. This still exists to some extent. The goal in this phase was sharing information. Ultimately, the 3rd phase began by the development of the Web 2 based on advanced HTML platform or interactive Web. In this phase, we are engaged with the ‘cloud’. More importantly, here, we use data instead of information.”
The researcher at the University of Vienna continued, “I emphasize the concept of data instead of information. Why is this important? Because, unlike the internet, whose development and progress was mainly due to a public, international will, data is different. Here, we have the will of the large organizations who have replaced information with data in order to economically use or, more appropriately, abuse the public data.”
Ph.D. candidate of modern communication and media studies added, “There are two main reasons for replacing information with data. The first one is that the information could not be easily categorized in a standard, simple architecture. Secondly, measuring the economic value of information is impossible. You observe that, by replacing ‘information’ with ‘data’ in the above phrases, the sentences will be positive.”
Mohseni Ahouei concluded his speech by discussing the four stages of consumption in economic systems. “All societies have crossed four stages of consumption. These stages, respectively, are mass consumption, family consumption, individualized consumption, and shared consumption. However, it must be understood that there is a natural difference between the old socialist sharing system and the new neoliberal one.”
After Mr. Ebrahim Mohseni Ahouei’s speech, Dr. Saeid Reza Ameli, Chair of the UNESCO Chairs Program, discussed the power of data. “The algorithmic power of data produces huge powers. Violating the private rights (cyberspace colonization) has enabled entering into different spaces and connecting to other peoples’ privacy. The algorithm of data is engineering of data. Like the cities that are living creatures and can act organically, data is a living existent as well. This space is present in algorithmic environments based on its own function. Therefore, it is a vast territory and it could be argued that data is the most important and most valuable capital. Data capital, like human capital that is produced by the aggregation of experience and knowledge in individuals, is a social capital. Data are no longer databanks. They have turned into a social capital with a high risk.”
Chair of the UNESCO Chairs Program added, “The law of free access to information is important. It focuses on information sharing because it brings about social justice. We can advise the UNESCO Commission through the UNESCO Chairs Program in Cyberspace and Cyber Culture and explain this approach as a law so that the data is introduced as a professional, moral social responsibility.”
Dr. Ameli concluded, “The generation of algorithms is like humans. In urbanism also, when we talk about space, the idea of roads, laws, and city culture is that, when we distribute the space, we define their physical and virtual space development in the same idea of city development in cyberspace. Therefore, it is necessary that these discussions are attended at universities.”