Information and communications technology is merging data science and advanced artificial intelligence towards the core of knowledge based society
Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine, 2021, vol. 12, issue 4, 15-31
The paper analyses the context of generating refined knowledge, when leveraged by the information and communication technology (ICT) evolution, as the main driving factor of the human society by the complex consequences of its services, products and applications and support for the Information Society (IS) on the way towards the Knowledge Based Society (KBS). Because today it is more and more complicate and also difficult to maintain the exponential pace and the progressive increase of performances, the ICT actual research struggles reflect the necessity of innovative approaches, sometimes beyond the usual technological paths and resources, keeping alive the necessity to refine knowledge, in order to achieve a sustainable progress not only for ICT but also for the whole World they are aiming and influencing, by all kinds of consequences. It is crucial, from the actual stage of ICT progress, to consider that beyond the usual approaches could mean unlimited innovations, sometimes changing paradigm and generally using data/information/knowledge even from unexpected areas, i.e., using outmost results of the human or artificial intelligence. Such large and unusual approach of the research is, by our opinion, the logical option for keeping the ICT pace and extend performances and features from the actual high levels and facing also unprecedented and complex challenges at Earth scale, like climate changes, Earth resources fading or Covid 19 pandemic. In fact, the natural aim of optimizing ICT for achieving a sustainable progress at Earth scale for IS/KBS, considering all complex challenges and consequences, leads to the logical approach of using human imagination and all resources, this way innovating and refining knowledge all the time, i.e., just what we could witness today and tomorrow. Considering the unlimited areas or issues which could be part of the innovative solutions for ICT advances, in this paper we point, by some examples, just the tip of this iceberg, meaning at least the perception of this larger picture, from both ICT designer and user perspective, but clearly encouraging the perseverance in optimization, recognizing the crucial importance to this goal for Earth ecosystem and humankind evolution. This global and holistic approach is inherently a very difficult and complex chain of processes, supposing a relative level of the multi-criteria optimization, as many of the performance parameters and features have nometric and consequently are not measurable, while the whole picture is fast changing, just because of the ICT exponential development which induce its pace all over the Earth. Here, for example, beyond technical and economical parameters, we might think at informational, environmental, ethical or social criteria (to include just few) to comply. Approaching the roots of knowledge, i.e., from experience and education, the above general approach is detailed by analysing some relevant examples, showing concrete trends of the actual state and vision of ICT development, as premises and context. This way, considering the evolution of ICT engineering, a prominent conclusion is that the information/knowledge is now faster generated and it contain new challenges, including the increasing complexity of knowing. Because, for most of people, Internet became a utility like water or electric power, its continue improvement is one of the prominent challenges of ICT, in spite of the impressing performances achieved, as speed, which support amazing applications like videoconferencing or home working. COVID-19 pandemic has generated, among other disturbances of life on Earth, changes which amplify some of the Internet existing challenges (the need for lower latency). This influence is a prove of the above mentioned global/holistic approach we have proposed for ICT progress and more than this, it lays in a zone where only an excessive imagination could forecast the evolution. The Internet example (analysing a weather map for the Internet) is revealing how far the actual challenges (low latency expectations) could appear versus the past ones, i.e., the last became surpassed by just the consequences of our “progress” in more complex applications, incidentally affected now by pandemic. Here the conclusion is that it is a logical option to use our imagination beyond any actual apparent limits and especially simply reconsider (refine) knowledge and ask one more time if are they all (i.e., some complex applications, like online gaming) very necessary, as it is sure they rise the costs of ICT development (and beyond!) by many different ways and consequences. Analysing the deepness of these examples, we could wonder if other applications fields, like human and Earth health or people education, should be a priority versus gaming on line (for example), considering the Earth resources fading and the other mentioned challenges? Such optimization criteria do not mean to stop improving ITC performances or entertainment applications, but it is sure they will be useful to better manage Earth resources and even Internet improvement options. An important result is that, under deep analyses and complex context and criteria, innovations could be enabled, even in the most difficult areas, like Internet actual performance improvement, using the power of other ICT advances, like AI, in order to globally optimize the network use. In addition, the struggle for adapting Internet to the actual and future challenges is a clear link between AI/ICT innovations and refining knowledge for the core of knowledge based society, as it is difficult to imagine the optimization of the huge network of networks at Earth scale, on all possible paths, without the expected progress of AI and other ICT advances like Big Data, using the leveraging support of DS. Analysing the Quantum Computing example and presenting the advantage of Intel silicon spin qubits, we can notice the often-used ICT way of compensating complexity by exploiting some of the already achieved technological advances, even when, this way, a compromise must be supposed, but a step ahead is provided. Also, the essential of this example is the iceberg tip image we can observe about this revolution, called Quantum Computing, that is coming, step by step, along with other emergent AI/ICT advances, which will leverage progress and the refined knowledge for the core of IS/KBS. These examples confirmed how important it is to timely watch the exponential evolutions of ICT, as their speed could generate or influence, along with well-known benefic consequences, other challenges for the Earth ecosystem and even for the ways the evolution of humankind is potentially affected, including climate changes, Earth resources fading, social unbalances, human health/education/behaviour, geopolitical security and so on. Some of these challenges, reflected above from relevant examples (promoting wisdom when approaching science and technology versus human values, like empathy or solidarity ), are referring first to the human nature/behaviour, which we also consider crucial for the future of Earth ecosystem, as human is the main factor of innovation and decision and this way the fundamental role of the human nature and evolution is influencing all other challenges, starting from the ICT pression of time/speed (which determines the opportunity of reactions to changes) and ending with social unbalances. On the other side, the role of science and technology for the World progress is by far essential and constructive, but, in the complexity and dynamic of processes of development at Earth scale, all implied factors and consequences must be timely analysed. This way we have just arrived to the most complex and difficult processes of decisions, where the refined knowledge, for the core of KBS, could be generated, but this does not happen always, mainly because of human nature. These processes are critical because defining the appropriate “refined knowledge”, in such multidimensional cases on Earth, meaning a generic model 3D+time+restrictions, is almost impossibly to manage, but this does not mean we have to ignore these challenges. The necessity of wisdom (realistically including human values), versus simply having intelligence (expressed in only applying science and technology to the real problems), as we also expressed many times, is also confirmed by the analysed examples. Although almost everybody could agree with the necessity of wisdom, as refined knowledge, in the World development decisions, including AI/ICT/IS/KBS, sometimes the real problem is left at the old/last stage, mainly because it is too difficult to define and solve, which is mostly true. What we could not accept is to ignore the new potential consequences/problems, as we have to timely analyse the context of AI/ICT/IS/KBS and refine knowledge, even when the dynamic, the speed/time or the incumbents represent obstacles for achieving this goal. As the humankind life on Earth is highly depending on science and technology and this dependence will naturally increase in the future, by our opinion, the actual realistic question is which are the level of dependence, in every case, where we have to worry and ask: what if this support of technology fails one moment? There are more and more fields and cases where we are depending too much on technology and this relative assertion is relevant for critical infrastructures, as power grid or even communications/Internet. In fact, the answer is aiming to prevent such events and provide the compensation solutions, i.e., just to refine the core knowledge for such context and contribute this way to the sustainable progress of AI/ICT/IS/KBS. More than these, many of the emergent projects, as autonomous cars and generally smart city/home, rely on complex systems and these premises determine high difficulties and challenges to design and optimize them. This way, a special branch, the complexity science (Engineering Resilient Complex Systems), is increasing in the actual context and is expected to improve the solutions for future complex systems. The main roots of actual systems complexity, as difficulty factors to analyse them, are given by their structures of systems of systems and the inherent interconnections, which rise major problems for finding the mathematical models and algorithms useful in the design approach. As a final conclusion, for the ICT/IS/KBS sustainable development it is necessary to combine the power of technology advances (first including AI) with new complexity science achievements, under the innovative approaches provided by human intelligence and imagination, in order to obtain the appropriate refined knowledge which should leverage solutions to the actual challenges of Earth ecosystem.
Keywords: information and communication technology; knowledge generation; artificial intelligence; knowledge based society; Internet latency; democratizing the Internet; quantum computing; silicon spin qubits; complexity science (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L63 L86 M15 O31 O33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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