The forecasts of the development of information civilization given by famous scientists, philosophers, futurologists until the middle of the 20th century are quite well-known and many provisions formed the basis of the concepts of the information society. These forecasts were corrected at the end of the twentieth century. Since that time, after more than 20 years, information civilization gets new names - virtual, technogenic, digital, etc. An analysis of the predictions made 20 years ago about the alleged development of information culture and civilization and their implementation in the context of digital civilization is of interest today. The authors studied the most popular concepts developed at the end of the previous century by Russian scientists for the development of the information society and compared their forecasts with the real situation of the state of modern digital civilization. The study showed that the main concerns of scientists about the consequences of the development of information culture in the era of digital civilization are justified: information culture leads to the transformation of social systems, social relations and institutions; digital civilization is characterized by the informational inequality of social actors, which increases social tension in society; there is a unification of cultures, leading to a violation of sustainable development and the destruction of cultural self-identification; there is an artificial evolution of a man, ahead of the pace of natural evolution.
Keywords: Artificial evolution of a mandigital civilizationforecastsinformation culture
A philosophical analysis of the concept of “civilization” shows that category’ content differs not in details particularly but also in the degree of generalization (Baum et al., 2019; Sutherland et al., 2016). Based on the dialectics of general, special and single, several directions can be distinguished in understanding the essence of civilization. Moreover, each of them can be applied as a specific section of the study of the historical process.
In this work we consider civilization at a general level. Civilization is presented as a phase in this case, as a special sociocultural quality of humanity which has entered today a new informational stage of development - digital.
Thus, civilization is such a system, the structure of which is represented by many spheres, peculiarly interacting with each other and nature. Moreover, the totality of spheres can be considered through the interaction of the technosphere, infosphere and sociosphere.
The analysis of the problems which associated with the progressing of information culture in the era of digital civilization is shown in this paper. Such studies on the forecasts of the development of information culture intensified at the end of the 20th century. To analyse the results of these forecasts is of interest for today’s science.
The forecasts and their comparative analysis for the development of the information culture of the digital civilization that sounded at the end of the 20th century, is the subject of this study, as well as the implementation of these forecasts today.
The analysis of numerous studies of the phenomenon of civilization of the last century shows that the main problem points for the development of the information culture of information civilization should be: the formation of a unified culture and technology, the loss of the identity of cultural entities, the disappearance of the traditional phenomenon of the state; social and military conflicts based on information inequality of social and national actors; psychological and social changes in the anthropological and social substrate of civilization.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study is to analyze the forecasts made by scientists at the end of the 20th century regarding the development of information culture and civilization and their implementation today in the digital civilization.
The study used the methodology of the civilizational approach, where the periodization of the historical process (as one of the possible options) is taken from a technology that is understood in the broad sense of the word (Rakitov, 2018). In this study, the analysis method was used. In particular, the works of domestic and foreign scientists devoted to the forecasts of the development of the information society, as well as the work of our contemporaries, devoted to assessing the real situation on this issue were analysed (Baum et al., 2019; Castells & Kiselyova, 2000; Ursul, 2019). Further, methods of comparison and generalization were applied, which made it possible to compare forecasts and results and assess the current situation in the development of the information culture of digital civilization.
At the end of the 20th century, scientists tried to determine the timing of the transition of society to the information stage of development. In particular, they showed mathematically that at the end of the 20th century, information will become a determining factor in the development of civilization. Indeed, in the period of agrarian civilization, on the basis of manual and mechanical technologies, the substance was actively mastered, in the industrial period - energy, and in the information period - information. But this does not mean that these processes can be divided. It is about changing dominants and basic technologies. These provisions were correlated with the provisions of the fundamental works of domestic and foreign authors of that time (Castells, 2008; Longhofer & Winchester, 2016).
In modern studies, this prediction is confirmed. Today we are already living in digital reality. Information has indeed become the dominant principle in the development of modern social systems (Calvo, 2020).
Another important statement: the forecast suggests that the technology, which is basic in the development of social systems, is crucial for the sustainable development of civilization. In modern research, this concept remains relevant. The authors emphasize that one of the most important criteria for the sustainable development of civilization is the harmonious development of technological and social components (Ursul, 2019).
However, scientists have expressed concerns that are associated with the possibility of violating the sustainable development of information civilization. Thus, Dichev (1999) wrote that by the 21st century, humanity will experience an evolutionary and ecological catastrophe. What is interesting in the author’s position is that among the main reasons for this forecast (environmental disruption, demographic crisis, etc.), he named the chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosed in the 20th century, which occurs when one is too keen on watching TV and playing computer games. In modern conditions, an information culture, which involves the active use of information technologies in everyday life and at work, confirms the occurrence of these problems and their aggravation (Arkhipova et al., 2019; Gruzdeva et al., 2019). In particular, it is not only a question of causing physical harm to health, but also psychological problems of a modern person that arise under the influence of information culture. The most serious anthropological influences of information culture and its technologies in on the scale of civilization, there may be changes in the generic qualities of a person: consciousness, language, activity and communication. For example, Burovsky (1996) at the end of the 20th century assumed that our civilization would face a generation of “cyborgs” and “people” (p. 130).
Modern studies of this problem remain relevant today. The most important are studies of human consciousness and its control capabilities. Scientists point to the changes that have occurred in human consciousnesses, language and communications in terms of their unification and primitivization (Grebenyuk, 2019; Kushenko, 2016).
The following statement by scientists of the last century is that information culture is able to shape a person outside of nationality, allowing him to overcome linguistic and geographical barriers. On the one hand, this allows the dialogue of cultures to be realized, but at the same time there is a danger of degeneration of the dialogue into the emancipation of some cultures over others. The information culture displaces the traditional forms of personality socialization that have developed within the framework of one or another ethnic group and imposes its own methods of mastering social experience that are unified, technological and the same for all countries and peoples. As a result, degeneration of cultural diversity may occur, which is the basis of the existence of civilization, and its sustainable development.
In modern conditions, the picture looks approximately as predicted. For example, Tulchinsky (2017) writes that the age of “subjectless civilizations” is coming.
According to researchers of the 20th century, information culture forces all countries to have a certain level of information development (Heersmink, 2018). However, for several reasons this is not always possible, and most importantly, it is not always necessary. As a result, there is a danger of a gap in the information development of social systems, which leads to conflicts at the global level (Rakitov, 2006). According to our contemporaries, this situation turned out to be real (Kolin, 2016).
Ursul (1982) wrote at the time about possible threats and dangers of controlling nuclear and space weapons with the help of information technologies. In particular, he expressed concern about the threats of highly intelligent machines that can make decisions independently. It is about creating a collective mind based on artificial intelligence systems. Yes, a similar phenomenon is necessary in the solution of many global problems of mankind (Gruzdeva et al., 2020; Stephan & Klima, 2020). But it is also a system of global governance and total control, which violates the principles of human rights and freedoms. In this regard, it seems interesting what the Holy Scripture said two thousand years ago: “In those days, people will seek death, but they will not find it; they will wish to die, but death will flee from them” (New Testament, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, 9:6).
For life in the new digital space, it is necessary to change for the person himself, and, consequently, for humanity as a whole. A modern person should be able to absorb and process much more information than previous generations. Education should be proactive and continuous (Markova et al., 2020; Vaganova, Pavlova et al., 2020; Vaganova, Rudenko et al., 2020). These provisions and forecasts are being implemented today, which researchers write about today (Ilyashenko et al., 2019; Kamenez et al., 2019).
Today, for example, it is already difficult to separate the information and technical spheres of society, because almost all technical means are informatized. Information culture on a single basis is able to combine life, work, education, etc. Modern education inevitably becomes digital (Malushko & Lizunkov, 2020; Samerkhanova & Balakin, 2020). An alternative virtual civilization is created in which modern people live (Kasavina, 2018).
The conducted research showed that the main forecasts of the development of information culture in the era of digital (information) civilization come true. The particular concerns expressed by scholars of the past are confirmed in studies by scholars of the present:
- Information culture acts as a source of transformation of the social systems that make up the basis of civilization: the infrastructure of the entire civilization is changing, the spheres of public life are merging, and an alternative to the real information sociocultural space is being formed;
- information culture leads to informational inequality of the subjects of civilization, which provokes social, informational and military conflicts;
- under the influence of information culture, the unification of cultures, the erasure of ethnic boundaries, the loss of traditions and spiritual values of individual cultures;
- Information culture transforms the generic qualities of a person, changing the essence of the person himself.
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27 May 2021
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Gryaznova, E., Goncharuk, A., Maltseva, S., Bulganina, S., & Lukina, E. (2021). Digital Civilization Information Culture: Forecasts And Reality. In E. V. Toropova, E. F. Zhukova, S. A. Malenko, T. L. Kaminskaya, N. V. Salonikov, V. I. Makarov, A. V. Batulina, M. V. Zvyaglova, O. A. Fikhtner, & A. M. Grinev (Eds.), Man, Society, Communication, vol 108. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 638-644). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.02.79