Media revolution and social amnesia?
Questions for developing social structure and media technology
Referring to cultural consequences of the current digital media revolution, in some sociological debates and literature the assumption is expressed, that our society could loose its memory. There are two reasons given for this hypothesis: First the apprehension that it could be impossible to secure the material existence of digitalized data for a longer space of time, and second, the worry that the enormous quantity of stored data and the semantic problems of computer centred solutions would complicate a contextual reasonable use of them. The paper refers to this discussion and will ask the following questions: First, what are the societal and technical conditions, which should be able to secure a long-term availability of knowledge in the so called knowledge society, and second in which way the current directions of technological design would achieve these requirements. The relation between social science and information technology issues results in a socio-cybernetic research programme that, on the one hand, contains a critical communications- and media-sociological analysis of the accessing technologies that are currently being developed and, on the other, raises new issues for sociological research. This clearly becomes apparent when observing the concrete forms that a society?s memory assumes. As convincing as the work of civilisation studies (Assmann) and social theory (Esposito) research may be, a look at the problems with setting up and structuring knowledge archives shows some needs for investigation.