Activity 8.6 Information society – Knowledge society


> What is the difference between information society and knowledge society?

In emerging knowledge societies, there is also a virtuous circle in which the progress of knowledge and

technological innovation produces more knowledge in the long term.

While information is a knowledge-generating tool, it is not knowledge itself.

Information is in many cases a commodity, in which case it is bought or sold, whereas knowledge, despite certain restrictions (defence secrets, intellectual property, traditional forms of esoteric knowledge, for example), belongs of right to any reasonable mind.

A piece of information, “enhanced” though it may be (to eliminate noise or transmission errors, for example), does not necessarily make sense.

Knowledge is information processed for beneficial purposes.”

> Why is information literacy important for communities and citizens to participate in a knowledge society?

“In knowledge societies, everyone must be able to move easily through the flow of information submerging us, and to develop cognitive and critical thinking skills to distinguish between “useful” and “useless” information.

patient and concerted efforts in such areas as education at all levels, technological catch-up in strategic areas of scientific research and the implementation of effective innovation systems.

Will knowledge societies be societies based on knowledge-sharing for all or on the partition of knowledge?

Closing the digital divide will not suffice to close the knowledge divide, for access to useful, relevant knowledge is more than simply a matter of infrastructure – it depends on training, cognitive skills and regulatory frameworks geared towards access to contents.

Some experts have noted that, far from confirming the hypothesis of “dematerialization”, our societies may on the contrary be in the midst of a process of “hyper-industrialization” because knowledge itself has become “commoditized” in the form of exchangeable, and codifiable information.

Knowledge is common good. The issue of its commoditization therefore should be very seriously examined.”


> How is information viewed and valued in your country?

There is a constant struggle for freedom of information in Canada. Corporations—and the government they control—are desperately trying to put controls on information to preserve their business models and profits. This has resulted in a copyright law that threatens to limit Canada’s competitiveness educationally and commercially. The government has a freedom of information act which it constantly frustrates. It has also put a gag order on its scientists to prevent them from outing its climate change activities.

Information is therefore seen as extremely valuable and potentially dangerous, so it is carefully guarded and husbanded.

> How do people regard printed information (e.g. from the major newspapers) compared with information generated in the electronic media?

Newspaper circulation is dropping steadily as Twitter and Google grow. Our national news agency maintains a healthy broadcast system and a quality website. Twitter is popular.


Posted on April 23, 2013, in UNESCO Media & Information Literacy Course. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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