Skip down to main content

The Fourth Information Revolution and its Ethical and Policy Implications

15 Feb 2015

Professor Luciano Floridi discusses his book — The Fourth Information Revolution – at the Institute of International and European Affairs. In his work, Floridi examines the revolution in information that has taken place since the middle of the 20th century and its implications for a world that is becoming more data-oriented. He states that artificial intelligence, unlike other forms of science, inscribes rather than describes the world given that society then builds an environment in which AI can operate smoothly. Regarding the title of his book, Floridi argues that human history has experienced four major revolutions until the present: 1) the Copernican (humans are not immobile, at the centre of the universe); 2) the Darwinian (humans are not detached from the animal world); 3) the Freudian (humans are not rational creatures entirely transparent to themselves); and, finally, that of Alan Turing (humans are not disconnected agents, but informational organisms or ‘inforgs’, sharing with biological and engineered agents an environment that is basically informational — the info sphere). Floridi concludes by arguing that society needs better, not less technologies (i.e. more technologies that regulate or monitor other technologies).