1999: Life Beyond the Information Society

16-17 August 1999, Turku, Finland

What is the significance of the much talked about “Information Society” to the structure of our society and everyday life? What are the environmental risks accompanying the emergence of the information society? What will come after the Information Society? What instruments can we use to evaluate these developments? These and other critical issues of the present stage and future development of our society were discussed at a conference entitled “Life Beyond Information Society”. To address these questions, we gathered a group of eminent experts from abroad and Finland to present their views.

The conference was organised jointly by the Finland Futures Research Centre and its FUTU research project. There were about 200 participants from all over the world participating the conference.

The aim of the conference was not to reiterate official agendas on the information society, but to try to take a deeper look at the underlying structures and logic of the phenomenon, and to place it in a wider context. We had an opportunity to listen to presentations by prominent futures researchers and social scientists, as well as to hear the views of professionals actively involved in the development of information technology. One of our speakers was Professor Manuel Castells from the University of California, the leading sociological researcher on the emergence of the information society, whose book, “The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture”, was a huge success throughout the world. Another distinguished speaker in the field of futures research to present a paper at the conference was Doctor Karl-Heinz Steinm├╝ller from the Futures Research Institute in Germany. Finnish speakers included Professor Matti Otala, from the Tampere University of Technology, and Mr. Risto Linturi, Head of Research at the Helsinki Telephone Corporation, both of whom are leading experts on information technology in Finland and abroad.

In brief, the purpose of the conference was to take an in-depth look at the social, technological and environmental key processes involved in the emergence of the information society and present well-founded scenarios on the direction these developments are taking.

Conference materials: