The Ethics and Politics of Information Architecture

Andrea Resmini

International Business School of Jönköping University, Sweden

This is a world whose structures are increasingly built on software handshakes and digital whispers, and yet, when we imagine the future, we conjure images of quasi-magic interactions while holographic displays glow in shades of blue or green. These will be there in some form, but they will be tactics, not strategy. Strategy will be largely invisible, silently producing its effects on the architectures of the digital/physical spaces we traverse to shop, exercise our rights, educate or take care of ourselves, integral to the fabric of society itself. A profound reshaping hides in the folds of what we call digital transformation: crowd control moves from the streets to Twitter. Mobbing gets mobile. Facebook campaigns displace votes and turn opinions around. We inhabit a postdigital world, one where information architecture plays the strategic role that belonged to city planning and architecture throughout the industrial revolution and most of the 20th century: it materializes the invisibles and contributes to shape, for good or bad, our conversations, our ethics, and our politics. Adopting a place-making perspective and examining the challenges through the lens of examples ranging from 19th century urban plans to videogames, from the Darknet to the Ferguson unrest and all the way to autonomous cars and algorithmic space, this talk discusses the role of information architecture when digital and physical merge to scale up from the library and the store to organize a continuous blended space of endless possibilities, and control.

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