Information as an Economic Good: Report

posted 11 Apr 2011, 02:19 by Michael Boniface   [ updated 11 Apr 2011, 02:50 ]

Session organized by SESERV at the Future Internet Assembly (FIA) Ghent on December 17, 2010. The full session report is available in PDF format.

The Future Internet must be open to all and allow all stakeholders to derive benefit. At the micro level, economic productivity and sustainability of the digital industries (e.g. services and content) is a major concern. Today, the digital market is focused on the provision of services as a business sense, i.e. based on revenue. This model of economic exchange is suited to the material economy but does not fit the knowledge economy, which often includes non-monetary exchanges. Much of the search for new business models in the digital landscape has tried to simulate the analog manufacturing or mass media situation online by imposing artificial scarcity. A re-thinking of Future Internet business models is necessary to break out of the manufacturing and distribution paradigm.

This session aims think beyond current approaches, not only because technology makes such artificial scarcity easy to circumvent, but also because it fails to understand the nature of information, attention, selection and why cultural experiences become meaningful. A business paradigm based on control and distribution of information counteracts its own purpose by not allowing users to freely form social contexts by using information as social objects that builds communities.

When the social web and mobile technologies are merging the virtual and the physical world we need to adopt a post-digital thinking for future internet business models where a whole ecosystem of cultural circulation is taken into account. This would shift the discussion from business models, defined in a narrow sense as monetizing information, to business strategies and a number of interesting socio-economic issues about cultural circulation and policy regarding creative industries in general. Examples of successful businesses would be drawn from the music industry and the open hardware scene.