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Second International Conference “Tangible and Intangible Impact of Information and Communication in the Digital Age” was held in Khanty-Mansiysk on 9–13 June, 2019, under the auspices and in cooperation with UNESCO.

 

Discussions within the Second International Conference “Tangible and Intangible Impact of Information and Communication in the Digital Age” held in Khanty-Mansiysk on 9–13 June, 2019, under the auspices and in cooperation with UNESCO in the framework of the XI International IT-Forum were focused on the following topics: “Digital Age: Quo Vadis?”, “Freedom of Information: Global Challenges for Utopia”, “Preservation of Cultural and Scientific Heritage in the Digital Age”, “Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence and International Psychological Security”, “Media and Information Literacy and Ethics”, “Technologies and Linguistic Diversity”.

The conference was attended by experts from various fields – computer science, sociology, political science, philosophy, futurology, economics, history, as well as diplomats, politicians, government officials and journalists from 35 countries (Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Denmark, France, Georgia, Ghana, Hungary, India, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Moldova, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Zambia).

 

The conference was organized by the Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Programme (IFAP), Interregional Library Cooperation Centre, UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, and Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the support by the Government of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug – Ugra.

 

The conference was opened by Evgeny KUZMIN, Vice-Chair of IFAP Intergovernmental Council; Chair of the UNESCO IFAP Working Group for Multilingualism in Cyberspace; Chair of the Russian IFAP Committee; President of the Interregional Library Cooperation Centre, and Konstantin REPIN, Acting Director of the Department for Public and External Relations of Ugra.

 

Natalya KOMAROVA, Ugra Governor, and Dorothy GORDON, Chair of the IFAP Intergovernmental Council and UNESCO IFAP Working Group on Information Literacy (Ghana) welcomed conference organizers and participants at the opening gala.

 

Welcoming address to the conference was also sent by UNESCO’s Deputy Director-General for Communication and Information Moez CHAKCHOUK.

 

Themed discussions were moderated by:

  • Dorothy GORDON
  • Gilvan MULLER DE OLIVEIRA, Professor of the Federal University of Santa Catarina; Head of the UNESCO Chair on Language Policies for Multilingualism (Brazil)
  • Tatyana MUROVANA, Programme Specialist of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education; Executive Secretary of the Russian UNESCO IFAP Committee (Russia)
  • Evgeny PASHENTSEV, Leading Researcher of the Diplomatic Academy under the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Director of the International Centre for Social and Political Studies and Consulting (Russia)
  •  Marco RICCERI, Secretary General of EURISPES – Institute of Political, Economic and Social Studies (Italy),
  • Susana FINQUELIEVICH, Principal Researcher of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Research/University of Buenos Aires (Argentina),
  • Alfredo RONCHI, Professor of the Polytechnic University of Milan; Secretary of the EC MEDICI Framework (Italy).

 

Keynote at the conference opening gala were presented by:

 

  • Dorothy GORDON (Engaging for Our Digital Future)
  • Evgeny PASHENTSEV (Artificial Intelligence: Current and Promising Threats to International Psychological Security)
  •  Marco RICCERI (Impact of AI on Economic and Social Cohesion of Our Communities)

 

CONFERENCE PROGRAMME (download)

 

All speakers highlighted that the rate of changes in our world fuelled by the rapid and persistent transformations in the information and communication field is so high that the society does not have time to interpret and thoroughly understand them, nor to respond progressively. Most studies focus on the receding reality; those trying to describe and analyse the current state-of-the-art and to forecast possible development lines and their consequences follow out-of-date models and approaches.

The development of embedded systems and devices, artificial intelligence and machine learning, the Internet of things, augmented and virtual reality, big data analytics and cloud computing, blockchain, etc. fosters a shift towards a new technological paradigm. The approaching future brings both positive expectations of scientific and technological progress and distinctly perceived threats, which are described and analysed by various communities – from media specialists to academics and politicians.

The following socio-cultural challenges are coming into particular prominence:

·         Oversupply of information, resulting in its devaluation and loss of trust to professional media

·         Pervasive communications accompanied by ever more sophisticated communicative technologies

·         Gradual exclusion of people from generating meanings and values and turning them into functional supplements to communication flows

·         Displacing traditional cultural regulators of social relations and processes by automated social algorithms

·         Blurring the borders between the real and the digital world, wide spread of simplified virtual mockups and simulacra

·         Post-truth in its heyday, with fakes, clickbaits, hypes and other tools introduced to form post-reality in the political and media culture.

 

The conference provided a platform for discussing these and other modern challenges, phenomena and trends that had come into focus in the last decade. Special attention was paid to the processes that are less evident, but might significantly impact the socio-cultural landscape in the nearest future.

 

The conference was aimed at contributing to the efforts to balance the pace of development in the field of information, communication and related technologies and the ability of science and the society to comprehend the changing reality and thus influence the vector and nature of progress.

 

The results of the conference were summed up at the closing plenary session, led by Evgeny KUZMIN and Tatyana MUROVANA, as well as Rachel FISCHER, Research Officer of the University of Pretoria (South Africa), who prepared the draft final document. An international working group approved by the participants of the conference is currently working on the document’s final version.

 

Holding this conference has become a new valuable contribution by Ugra and the whole Russia in the implementation of IFAP – UNESCO’s major intergovernmental programme in the field of communication and information.