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Future Conference Organization as a Wicked Problem?

Self-referential upgrading of obsolete conference processes inhibiting emergence of integrative knowledge (Part #1)

Paper originally envisaged for the 1st International Conference on Internet Science (10-13 April 2013, Brussels)
held under the aegis of the European Commission, by the EINS project, the FP7 European Network of Excellence in Internet Science
(previously distributed under the title Internyet Nescience?)

Internet science?
Methodological possibilities
Representation possibilities

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Exploration of the justification and possibility of applying the organizational and conceptual framework of a conference on Internet science to the conference processes in order to enable emergence of more integrative knowledge on the occasion of future conferences and in anticipation of the semantic web.

The exploration derives from early concerns with Knowledge-Representation in a Computer-Supported Environment (International Classification. 4, 1977, 2, pp. 76-81), and from the initiative of Stafford Beer and Gordon Pask in applying network analysis techniques to a conference of the Society for General Systems Research (SGSR) on Improving the Human Condition: Quality and Stability in Social Systems (London, 1979). This experiment was documented in Metaconferencing: Discovering people / viewpoint networks in conferences (Transnational Associations, 32, 1980, 10, pp. 411-420). It contributed to the elaboration of the syntegration process by Beer (Beyond Dispute: the invention of Team Syntegrity, 1994).

Related techniques, with which the author was associated, were subsequently employed in the development of a multimedia knowledge management capacity, with funding from the EU Information Society Programme from 1997-2000 (Ecolynx: Information Context for Biodiversity Conservation). This enabled a successful proposal to the World Bank infoDev programme (Interactive Conceptual Environmental Planning Tool for Developing Countries, 1999). This work enabled collaboration with Verisign in a proposal to ICANN (2002) to become the successor operator of the registry for the .ORG top-level web domain. Consideration of further knowledge visualization possibilities, of relevance to conference processes, was enabled through collaboration with the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in relation to the Living Library project of Dropping Knowledge (Complementary Knowledge Analysis / Mapping Process, 2006).

The case for self-referential application of such techniques follows from the work of Douglas Hofstadter (Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid, 1979) as discussed in Consciously Self-reflexive Global Initiatives: Renaissance zones, complex adaptive systems, and third order organizations (2007). Related development of the aesthetic dimension was discussed in Enacting Transformative Integral Thinking through Playful Elegance (2010).

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