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<nettime> Deep Search
Konrad Becker on Mon, 27 Oct 2008 22:58:22 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Deep Search

As a belated contribution to the search engines debate earlier on this list,
let me point you to an upcoming conference and publication on the issue of
search and classification. A project of World-Information Institute that
Felix Stalder and I am working on. The event will also be streamed and
archived for those of you who can't make it...

Cheers, K



Deep Search - The Digital Future of Finding Out

With the explosion of information in all shades and languages, issues of
orientation and navigation in the oceans of knowledge pose themselves with
renewed urgency. Information is useless if it cannot be found and it is not
a co-incidence that a search engine like Google turned into one of the most
significant companies of the new century. There is an intense debate in
science and industry on the implications of these global trends, but there
is also a growing awareness as to the socio-cultural implications of
"search" and the information retrieval of the future. 

"Deep Search" wants to look at the social and political dimensions of how we
navigate the deep seas of knowledge. We want to examine the pursuit of
categorizing that data and what it means to relate to the world through
digital search technologies. Futuristic applications and computational
complexity aside, cognitive technologies deliberately designed to yield
results in a limited frame of reference, imbed political philosophy in
seemingly neutral code. In the daily reality of information overflow it is
crucial to acknowledge both arbitrariness and willful designation, and that
hierarchies are not miraculously produced by nature itself. Innocent
utilities that blend into the routine of everyday work and leisure subtly
bend our perception, and weave threads into the fabric of cognitive reality.

How is computer readable significance produced, how is meaning involved in
machine communication? Where is the emancipatory potential of having access
to such vast amounts of information? And where lie the dangers of having to
rely on search engines to make use if that information? These questions of
culture, context und classification in information systems should not be
ignored since what is at stake is nothing less than how we, as individuals
and institutions, come to find out about the world. "Deep Search" addresses
the social and cultural dimension as well as the information politics and
societal implications of search.


Deep Search ? On the Future of Digital Searching
Conference on the Social Role of Google & Co
8 November, 2008, Vienna

Who has any use for data that cannot be found or accessed because they form
part of a generalized information explosion? Within just a few years, search
engines have become an indispensable tool of orientation on the internet.
They have become an essential requirement for making practical use of the
vast amount of information the internet offers. 

Hardly any other service is being used as frequently as search engines. Many
can no longer even think of a life without Google & Co. On 8 November, 2008,
the conference "Deep Search", hosted by Vienna?s World-Information
Institute, brings together international experts from the fields of science,
media, and art, for a discussion of the importance of digital search engines
and their effects in society and politics. 

The conference will open with a paper by Paul Duguid (UC Berkeley), who will
talk about humanity?s dream of universal knowledge and perfect information.
Next, Claire Lobe Maris from the Computer Science Institute of Namur
University (Belgium) will provide an overview of the current debates on the
social effects of new digital search tools. 

Most users rarely ever think of the civil rights aspects of digital search
engines. Gerhard Reischl, Austrian IT journalist and author of the book Die
Google-Falle ("The Google Trap") will speak about the social and political
power Google is accumulating through its dominant position on the internet.
This will be followed by a talk by Joris van Hobroken (Institute for
Information Law, University of Amsterdam) on digital search engines and the
potentially conflicting demands of free expression and the right to privacy.

There has long been a close connection between knowledge and the exercise of
power. This theme will be addressed by Theo Röhle (Department of Media and
Communication, University of Hamburg), and Berhard Rieder (University
Saint-Denis of Paris). Apart from offering critical perspectives, Röhle and
Rieder will present alternatives and tentative solutions on how to reconcile
the key role of search engines with a democratic order of knowledge. 

The conference will conclude with contributions by Richard Rogers, Head of
the Institute for New Media and Digital Culture at the University of
Amsterdam, and media artists Gon Zifroni and Tsila Hassine, both also from
Amsterdam. In their talks they will explore the representation of
information by search engines (search results), and present proposals on how
to present data in new ways, rendering interconnections visible that usually
remain obscured. 

"Deep Search" - The Digital Future of Finding Out

Conference editors: Konrad Becker and Felix Stalder, World-Information
Time: Saturday, 8 November 2008, 10.30 to 20.00 hrs
Venue: Austria Trend Hotel Savoyen Vienna, Rennweg 16, 1030 Vienna
For further details please visit  http://world-information.org/deepsearch

The conference will be held in cooperation with the IRF Symposium 2008:

The contributions presented at ?Deep Search? will be documented in a book by
the same title, to be published by Studienverlag in spring 2009.

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