Information – The Oil of the 21. Century

“Information is the oil of the 21Sst century“ is the metaphoric way the Gartner Group uses to explain the fact that in the modern digital society, Information owns an inherent value. Indeed, the metaphor mediates a second, even hotter message, namely „and analytics is the combustion engine“. We are, in this only just started Age of Information, extremely liberal with our personal information, be it through unawareness or by necessity. So we feed these engines without any suspicion or question on how they propel us and where the trip will go. We have to become completely conscious of this fact and carefully handle personal information in social nets, with the Swisspass in public transportation, as well as with cashless payements. Even the omnipotent arguments of security and criminal activity fight do not justify the unreserved ‘a priori’ release of all the private data.

Careful weighing of the magnitude of an intervention in privacy and its effectiveness is an essential mainstay of every form of democracy 2.0. Such weighing has taken place at the SI board of directors in the case of the Revision of the Monitoring Law (“BÜPF »). The Board recommends Members to support the referendum against it. That is why you will find signature sheets on our Homepage …

That is for the reverse of the information medal. Now for the front we want for the future to provide our members with even more Information as an essential added value offer. After the pilot project in Suisse Romande we decided to launch an on-line magazine for the whole SI Switzerland , which on the one hand serves as a source of information and, on the other hand, as a discussion forum. The WordPress CMS technology used for it allows reader’s comments and external contributions by the mean of multiple blogs.

We stand today at the beginning of this Online Initiative, are looking forward and pleased, together with you, to bit by bit evolve towards a mature communication forum among the board of directors, and a developing membership. Take part, comment, and send us your own contributions !

Warmly, your president,

Jürg Gutknecht

About Juerg Gutknecht 29 Articles
Jürg Gutknecht started his professional career in Computing when he joined the real-time systems programming group at Swissair. From 1970 and while being employed by IBM as a working student, Gutknecht studied Mathematics at the ETH Zurich, from where he graduated in 1977 with a PhD. After an employment as a professor of Mathematics at the Kantonsschule Heerbrugg in the Swiss Rheintal, Gutknecht joined Niklaus Wirth’s Lilith/ Modula research team in 1981 and, in 1985, after a sabbatical stay at the Xerox-PARC Research Laboratory in California, he was appointed Assistant Professor and later Full Professor of Computer Science at ETH. Together with Wirth, Gutknecht developed the Oberon programming language and the Ceres personal workstation. His esearch interests are in the area of programming languages, compilers, concurrency and component-oriented systems design.

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