Questions for the « Ecology of Information Exchanges » session

 

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Definitions and scope

General Background

Foundations for value and valuing processes

  1. What should we consider as a reasonable foundation for the value of information?
  2. Assuming this value will be exchanged in an economy (at least for some type of information exchanges), are markets still an adequate tool to express that value? If not, which other value expression mechanism can or should be set in place?
  3. What are the specific constraints for valuing processes that can apply to various media?
Economic and non-economic aspects of new information exchanges
  1. If a significant share of the new information exchanges develops outside markets and currency-mediated exchanges (for instance using freeware and barter-like models), how can people involved in these exchanges make a living? More generally how can these exchanges be sustained and articulated with the economy at large?
  2. Can the positive aspects of the new media in terms of accessibility (for potential posters of information), visibility and medium quality (for instance non-pollution by 3rd party advertising) be durably maintained and extended for non profit players and how?
  3. Should visibility of information in these media be equitable? If yes, how? What does it mean for the operation of indexing, search and archive services?
  4. Can the new types of information exchanges form the basis for a new global exchange paradigm? If yes, will it just be non-currency mediated, but still describable as an economy at another level of description, or radically non-economic?
  5. It is initially much easier to mobilise indirect funding (such as advertising, or to a lesser extent, tax and license fees) for the initial development of new information exchanges. Is there a risk that this will durably lock these information exchanges into a very restricted share of the global economy (as happened at the beginning of the TV era)?
Creative destruction
  1. What are the major destructive and creative aspects of the process induced by the ubiquity of information technology and by global networking? In particular what are the new information exchange species?
  2. Is it meaningful for policies to try to orient or control the creative destruction process? If yes, in which directions or by setting which limits?
Measurement
  1. How should one measure information exchanges (by using which variables, by computing which aggregates)?
  2. Which information exchanges should be measured?
  3. Does the growing share of exchange of intangibles in global exchanges challenge the definition and comparability of the macro-economic aggregates on which national accounts are based? If yes, how should they be revised?
Increasing returns, competition and diversity
  1. Are we faced with a specific risk regarding dominant positions, and difficulty in maintaining diversity of technical offers, resulting from increasing returns of information and communication technology products?
  2. If yes, how should such a risk be addressed by policies, including RTD policies and support to innovation?
  3. Can, and should one, develop a market approach to technical offer diversity by enabling consumers to pay for the cost of diversity? Under which conditions is it likely to work?
Symmetry and access
  1. If one assumes that the existence of media with a continuum of positions, between pure access and full publishing (instead of clear cut role division) is desirable, what are the conditions for their sustainability?
  2. What are the requirements for the information infrastructure (networks, operating systems, appliances, content creation software, IPR management, regulatory environment) to enable meaningful personal or community information production and publishing?
  3. What is the potential impact of development of information rental models, such as pay per operation of access to contents (in contrast to previous models of content distribution based on commerce of content objects)?
Empowerment, tools and skills
  1. What - if any - are the main problems that prevent accessibility and affordability of information exchanges?
  2. How can the potential for personal empowerment and constructive use of information and communication technology materialise? What are the needed tools, and the required skills for their users?
  3. Will new personal ICT products for mastering information creation, exchange and access, be developed in the professional world and then disseminated to the personal use, or will they be designed directly for personal users?
Time budgets and other time issues
  1. To which degree must one consider time budgets for individuals as exogenous constraints on the development of new information exchanges species?
  2. Interesting contents - as well as real scientific and technical innovation - are generally the result of long, tedious work. How can this need for continuity and hindsight be reconciled with trends towards media based on quick, thin granularity, frequent information exchanges?
  3. What social memory should be kept of contents of dynamic media such as the World Wide Web, and how should this memory process be organised?
Taxation and government resources
  1. If intangible exchanges account for a large share of the economy and even larger share of human activities at large, does the basis for taxation need to be redefined? If yes, how?
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