The Fourth Revolution: How the Infosphere is Reshaping Human Reality

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OUP Oxford, 2014 - Computers - 248 pages
Who are we, and how do we relate to each other? Luciano Floridi, one of the leading figures in contemporary philosophy, argues that the explosive developments in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is changing the answer to these fundamental human questions. As the boundaries between life online and offline break down, and we become seamlessly connected to each other and surrounded by smart, responsive objects, we are all becoming integrated into an "infosphere". Personas we adopt in social media, for example, feed into our 'real' lives so that we begin to live, as Floridi puts in, "onlife". Following those led by Copernicus, Darwin, and Freud, this metaphysical shift represents nothing less than a fourth revolution. "Onlife" defines more and more of our daily activity - the way we shop, work, learn, care for our health, entertain ourselves, conduct our relationships; the way we interact with the worlds of law, finance, and politics; even the way we conduct war. In every department of life, ICTs have become environmental forces which are creating and transforming our realities. How can we ensure that we shall reap their benefits? What are the implicit risks? Are our technologies going to enable and empower us, or constrain us? Floridi argues that we must expand our ecological and ethical approach to cover both natural and man-made realities, putting the 'e' in an environmentalism that can deal successfully with the new challenges posed by our digital technologies and information society.
 

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User Review  - fpagan - LibraryThing

A philosopher's informal but radical analysis of information technology, where time is "hyperhistory", space is the infosphere, personal identity is one's "onlife" as an "inforg", and so forth. My ... Read full review

The Fourth Revolution: How the Infosphere Is Reshaping Human Reality

User Review  - Book Verdict

Floridi (philosophy & ethics of information, Oxford Univ.; The Ethics of Information) argues that advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs) are repositioning or removing the ... Read full review

Contents

TIME Hyperhistory
1
SPACE Infosphere
25
IDENTITY Onlife
59
SELFUNDERSTANDING The Four Revolutions
87
PRIVACY Informational Friction
101
INTELLIGENCE Inscribing the World
129
AGENCY Enveloping the World
144
POLITICS The Rise of the MultiAgent Systems
167
ENVIRONMENT The Digital Gambit
205
ETHICS Environmentalism
217
FURTHER READING
221
REFERENCES
225
ENDNOTES
235
INDEX
245
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About the author (2014)

Luciano Floridi is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire - where he holds the Research Chair in Philosophy of Information and the UNESCO Chair in Information and Computer Ethics - and Fellow of St Cross College, University of Oxford, where he is the founder and director ofthe IEG, Oxford University interdepartmental research group on the philosophy of information. Among his recognitions, he has been appointed the Gauss Professor by the Academy of Sciences in Gottingen, and is recipient of the APA's Barwise Prize, the IACAP's Covey Award, and the INSEIT's WeizenbaumAward. He is an AISB and BCS Fellow, Editor in Chief of Philosophy and Technology and of the Synthese Library, and was Chairman of EU Commission's 'Onlife' research group. His most recent books are: The Ethics of Information (OUP, 2013), The Philosophy of Information (OUP, 2011), i Information: AVery Short Introduction r (OUP, 2010), and The Cambridge Handbook of Information and Computer Ethics (CUP, 2010).

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