“Technology, Disinformation and Ethics” in the V Congress Literacy, Media and Citizenship

Dedicated to the theme “Technology, Disinformation and Ethics”, the V Congress Literacy, Media and Citizenship is scheduled for May 3 and 4, 2019 in Aveiro. The program is now available here.

In recent years, there has been a lot of news and changes in the media and related domains. Some of the changes were an increase in pre-existing dynamics, such as the increasing digitalization of the media – the consequent migration to digital platforms, new forms of availability and consumption, as well as new formats and content – and the fragmentation of audiences. Other phenomena, such as disinformation, although not new, are especially important because of the dimension they assumed. But this period was also characterized by breaks. In fact, our lives today are to a large extent ruled by services that either did not exist or were still incipient for about 10 years. Remember that smartphones and their applications have become, in this short historical period, ubiquitous, being in the hands, pockets and wallets of virtually all people, becoming a kind of extension of the body, intelligence and memory of humans.

There is every reason to believe that in the next decade the changes will be even more marked. Given the technologies in improvement, it is possible to anticipate some evolutions that will almost inevitably transform the way we live, how we relate, how we work, how we produce and consume information, and how we enjoy our leisure time.

Indeed, technologies such as Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence and wearables in a first phase and later new human-machine interfaces (which will be placed directly into the nervous system, inside the human body) will very likely initiate a process, even if slow and gradual, of altering human nature. But if maturing technologies already allow us to anticipate extraordinary developments for the next decade, it is very likely that innovations that we can not foresee for the time being may have an even greater impact.

We will continue to live in times of very rapid mutation that will allow real civilizational leaps, as well as lead to devastating results, depending on whether we as a community are capable of adopting an intelligent, critical and ethical stance in the face of new circumstances. However, the skills of what is conventionally referred to as Media Literacy are the key to making these new technologies and services empower people rather. Complementing the invaluable contribution of other areas of human knowledge and action, namely engineering and business, there is an essential role to be played by Media Literacy promoters in producing knowledge of these new services and technologies, enhancing of the critical sense in their use and in the response to the ethical questions they pose.

Program available here.

[Posted: 26-03-2019]