On 17-18 June 2021, UNESCO IITE co-organized the third international conference dedicated to the study of socio-cultural, philosophical and ethical aspects of the impact of digital technologies on people and society. The conference “Tangible and Intangible Impact of Information and Communication in the Digital Age” is traditionally held in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area within the International IT Forum. The event brought together more than 150 academicians, politicians, educators, journalists, representatives of the ICT industry and NGOs from 58 countries.
The conference was opened by Ms. Natalia Komarova, Governor of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area – Ugra; Mr. Evgeny Kuzmin, Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Council and Chair of the Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Programme; Ms. Dorothy Gordon, Chair of the Intergovernmental Council of the UNESCO Information for All Programme and member of UNESCO IITE Governing Board; Ms. Jyldyz Bakashova, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic; Mr. Adama Samassekou, President of WSIS Preparatory Committee for the Geneva Phase and Former Minister of Education of Mali; Ms. Marielza Oliveira, Director for Partnerships and Operational Programme Monitoring of UNESCO Communications and Information Sector.
In her greeting to the participants of the conference, the Governor of Ugra said:
We agree with the UNESCO’s idea that the main concept and mission of the Information for All Programme is a world in which all people have access to information and knowledge, where everyone has the opportunity, the necessary skills to use and receive information for self-realization, empowerment, active participation in the development of civil society. As the practice of our previous meetings shows, during the conference experts make accurate, largely visionary forecasts.
Ms. Tatiana Murovana, programme specialist at UNESCO IITE, moderated the conference sessions within the section “The Emerging Model of “Surveillance Capitalism””. The conference programme also included the work of the following sections: “The Revolution of Values: New Interpretation of Rights and Freedoms”, “Digital Technologies and Society”, “Digital Transformation of Memory Institutions”, “Multilingualism and ICTs”, “Creative Industries and Personal Self-Realization: Are They New Forms of Innovative Economy?”. In total, more than 60 reports were presented and discussed at the conference.
The discussions of the conference participants were based on the understanding that digital technologies are becoming the driving force for the formation of a new information and communication reality. In this reality the ever-increasing complexity of digital technologies and devices is accompanied by growing universal connectivity, the inclusion of people in cyber-physical systems, the monopolization of entire industries by digital platforms and their intrusion into social and private space. On the one hand, the development of digital platforms, the emergence of personalized services and other new products and services contribute to improving the efficiency of activities in various fields, simplify and accelerate the interaction of people, increase the level of comfort and convenience. On the other hand, this also leads to a massive violation of privacy and its inflation, hidden manipulation of citizens, censorship and control of digital platforms over the social, political and science agenda, to the erosion of the legal foundations of society and its democratic structures, to the strengthening of unrepresentative and non-legal forms of governance and various types of discrimination.
The conference, held this year in a hybrid format (online/offline) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was organized by the Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Programme, Interregional Library Cooperation Center and the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, in cooperation with the Government of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area – Ugra, the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO, the UNESCO Secretariat, Intergovernmental Council of the UNESCO Information for All Programme and with the academic support of the International Institute for Central Asian Studies.
Video recordings of the conference: