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The Information Society Technologies conference of November 2002 was the annual research event of DGInfSo in Copenhagen. a 4000 attendance conference where EC-related research activities are brought together. The event was held in the Bella Centre in Copehagen, Denmark.


I was lucky enough to be accepted for a slot within the networking sessions and had a space in the section “Societal Challenges”. We made it our project to treat the whole event as a networking session, but having an official slot made that a lot easier.


The session we gave was a brainstorm with the question “What is the Social Computer”. Afterwards we arranged to do some video interviews with members of DG InfSo and researchers and organisations who found the project interesting.


Attached here is our brainstorm document from IST2002 which is primarily written by myself but with some feedback and support from Jaap Dankert, Man Yong Toh and an introduction by Karina Grubor Pereira. The artwork comes from Nik Roos and Man Yong Toh. Here are some short excerpts from the document.

“The Social Computer is an open-source “protocol” to stimulate more holistic approaches between governments, education, research & development, arts, virtual communities and business opportunities. Designed to be a conceptual artistic and philosophical platform, these projects attempt to bring about thought and communication over the societal issues which are currently affecting the way we live and work.

This programme is designed to demonstrate the way in which a Social Computer could attempt a collaboration of arts, media, business, educational and governmental organisations. It is this strategic alliance of a variety of people with local, national, European and global interests that makes the Social Computer so feasible and furthermore so exciting.

This concept is now being proposed as a new area of study. Since a large array of different organisations is separately discussing and researching projects that pertain to the concept, it makes sense to create a platform for codevelopment. These case studies are attempts to create new knowledge through the meeting of many different minds from around the world.

This thematic research subject combines the elements of media, exciting new arts/music, new technology infrastructures and societal issues around information and ideas sharing. Its information distribution plan is innovative and is open-source in nature. The aim is to encourage previously unconnected projects under a common theme or goal.”


“Once the 12 year programme is completed, dictionaries could potentially be updated as following:

‘Social Software’ the techniques we use to fuse people processes

‘Social Hardware’ the services, tools, facilities and finances used to support Social Software

‘Social Computing’ the process of developing new possibilities and opportunities by combining many ‘objects’ in an innovative way

‘Social Computer’ 1: A concept referring to relationships between objects within memetic networks, economic systems and standard computing

2: An event or building as a platform for ‘Social Software’ to be executed

3: A riddle or question”

You can download the full document here together with the results document which was produced via the forms we handed out at the session.

Social Computer ist2002 Brainstorm

ist2002 Social Computer results

Author :
EurActiv Network