How the net has de-stabilized knowledge

Peter Bajomi-Lazar, Budapest Business School The world wide web has eased access to information for all, and yet it has de- stabilised knowledge. How is this possible? A very brief overview of the history of knowledge tells us that the rise in the number of information sources has been coupled with a growth in the unreliability of information. Users of the net may rightly feel they live in an era of misinformation and disinformation, online propaganda and fake news, conspiracy theories and urban legends.  It was 75 years ago, in July 1945, that Vannevar Bush published his now famous paper in the Atlantic magazine, presenting the idea of the ‘memex.’ The inventor sug- gested to link distant computers in order to create a huge network where “wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear.” The new technology would make information accessible for all and serve the whole of society, he argued. The intelligence thus gathered and catalogued would stabilise human knowledge. The world wide web, created in 1990, is based on the principles outlined by Bush. But users of…

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The Algorithmic Mind

By Péter Bajomi-Lázár, Budapest Business School. Suppose your father gave you an Agatha Christie crime novel when you were young, and suppose you liked it. You read it in a day, and what you did next was, of course, you went to the bookshelf yourself, you picked another Christie novel, and you read it, too. When your household library was running out of the stories of Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, you went to the local bookstore to buy more of the same. This is how we all are. We do things that we enjoy. Our interests, our preferences are part of our identity. Whenever experts speak of the new, digital, social media platforms, one of the first things they express concerns about is the algorithmic nature thereof. Facebook and Instagram, they will say, deliver you content similar to what you have liked before. This is how their algorithms, based on artificial intelligence, work. But they are bad for you, they will add, because the use of algorithms will encage you in “filter bubbles” or “echo chambers,” offering…

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Why media have so little impact on us

By Péter Bajomi-Lázár, Budapest Business School. Media effects research and reception studies affirm that, contrary to popular belief, and even though we are permanently exposed to media content, legacy media have relatively little impact upon public opinion and voting behaviour in pluralist societies such as the United Kingdom and the United States. For example, Stuart Hall, of the Birmingham School, argues that media users are free to either subscribe to, or reject, or negotiate the dominant meaning encoded in media messages. But what explains the limited impact of media? Here are three explanations for your consideration. Early research refers to Leon Festinger’s influential cognitive dissonance theory. For example, Josepf Klapper argues that we use media selectively: we primarily read, listen to and watch outlets that reinforce our pre-existing attitudes and opinions so that we do not need to reconsider our position on issues that construct the very bases of our identity. The ritual theory of communication makes a similar argument. James Carey suggests that media establish a domain “for the creation, representation and celebration of shared … beliefs…

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Populism and Polarisation

by Péter Bajomi-Lázár, Budapest Business School “The fact that I have such power in terms of numbers with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., I think it helped me win all of these races where they’re spending much more money than I spent” – said Donald Trump after his electoral victory. Was he right? Has the rise of the internet and of social media really contributed to the renaissance of populism and to political polarisation?          It is widely held that media have little impact upon political views and voting behaviour, as such preferences are primarily shaped by personal experience and interpersonal communication. Further, the current consensus among academic researchers is that the ongoing polarisation of societies and the resulting renaissance of anti-elitist populism across the globe is a mirror of growing economic inequalities, rather than the direct impact of new, digital, media. Some of the most prominent scholars, however, think otherwise. Let us see why, using the example of the 2016 Trump campaign.          Andrew Chadwick describes the relationship between media and political systems in his academic bestseller on…

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Analogue meets Digital

by Peter Bajomi-Lazar, Budapest Business School I am 50 years old and struggling with digital technology on a daily basis. CooSpace, Zoom, Teams, and Modulo: these are just some of the new terms that the current COVID-19 pandemic has taught the people of my age working in higher educational institutions. The current task of swiftly switching to online teaching has been an unexpected and often painful challenge for many of us, as now we are supposed to transfer knowledge to students via a technology that they know much more about than we ever will. When I started working as a journalist in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I wrote my first articles on an old green transportable typewriter. Then I called my editor on the phone, and I faxed him the text. My students, born in the late 1990s, have been raised with smart phones in their hands, and have been mastering digital skills since their early years. The Children of the Digital Age do not learn to cope with digital technology; they live digital. Starting to…

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Who created the Nation?

By Peter Bajomi-Lazar, March 2020. Being a proud member of a nation is now widely seen as a natural affinity. Media scholars, however, are more skeptic, and many of them would suggest that the ‘nation’ is just a social construction, or cultural convention, that has to a large degree been created and advanced by the media, often in association with the political elites who see it as a means to mobilise supporters.  Benedict Anderson calls the nation an “imagined community.” He argues that “the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion.” What exactly is the role media have played in the establishment of this communion? Language is, of course, a main vehicle of national identity. But, as Asa Briggs and Peter Burke observe, hand-copied religious codices were still written in Latin, the lingua franca of the early Middle Ages, that allowed the peoples of the different geographic areas of Europe to communicate.…

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EU-CAB Tag 06.03.2020

Wir laden herzlich ein zum EU-CAB Tag am 6. März, 9:00 bis 16:00 Uhr. Hier gibt es für alle Interessierten Gelegenheit, das Projekt und seine Methoden kennenzulernen. Dazu wird Dr. Stefan Seidendorf vom Deutsch-Französischen Institut Ludwigsburg den Tag mit einem Vortrag zur Frage „Warum reden wir über Identität?“ bereichern. Wir bitten herzlich um Voranmeldung an ulrike.schneider@dhbw-karlsruhe.de Das Programm des Tages finden Sie hier:Herunterladen

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The Think Tank panel discussion in Porto

https://youtu.be/oysx8d1M_CE During our Study Programme in Porto, our wonderful colleague Cristina Rebelo from ISMAI organized a panel discussion on topics of Europe and European identity. Here is the video that documents the interesting viewpoints and commentaries of the speakers:- Professor Doctor Alexandra Neves – Vice-Rector of ISMAI-IU- Professor Doctor Angela Becker-  Coordinator of the EU-CAB  Project- Lieutenant Commander Mário Miguel Cortes Sanches (OF-3) - (videoconference)- Doctor Jaime Quesado, Economist and author of the book "MY Europe"- Doctor Luísa Verdelho Alves, Lawyer - European Law and European Integration Debate Moderator: Professor Doctor Cristina Tereza Rebelo

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The Project Status of Nov 2019

A summary of the project, dating November 2019, established by Prof. Dr. Angela Diehl-Becker for the Conference "InterScience - International Conference on Management and Social Sciences (ICMSS), Modern Management – Directions, Challenges and Changes", that took place on 29-30 November 2019 in Łódź (Poland). EU-CAB_status_Nov2019Herunterladen

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Video with ISP impressions and interview

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95NUjDtOHC0 About the framework of the project An interview with Prof. Dr. Angela Diehl-Becker, coordinator of the EU-CAB project, about the project's issues and design, and impressions of the Study Programmes in Cergy/Paris, Budapest, and Porto.

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