Centre of Media Convergence
The wide spread of computers and informatics applications, the blending of telecommunications, media and informatics pose new problems to developers, economic decision-makers and regulating bodies alike.
What kind of services will be required in this new complex information space, and how these services need to be set up?
What effect does technology have on consumers’ behaviour, and how do consumer expectations influence which technology has a chance to spread?
These questions require the joint application of engineering, informatics, as well as social and economic science skills and methods. Having this in mind, Budapest University of Technology and Economy and Hungarian Telekom founded Centre for Media Research and Education (MOKK) in 2002 within its Department of Sociology and Communication for the close examination of the phenomena of the new, convergent media. Though the Telekom project has ended in 2009, MOKK continues to be one of the most important research and education institutions on digital culture in Hungary. In addition to managing the Masters Program in Cultural Industries, our colleagues conduct researches and hold specialised lectures.
Global Knowledge-Space: Communication Networks and the Social Use of Information
The significance of information is determined by its social usage and impact. Technological development naturalised new forms of information flow, -management and transmission in our everyday lives, ways which were unimaginable even fifteen years ago. The Internet and in general the appearance of digitally-stored and widely accessible information lead to the evolution of a kind of global archive, in which the boundary between “public” and “private” information is blurred. Thus, only those can understand fully the importance and business potential behind information channels who take into consideration how these channels and information contents are embedded in society, and how they accommodate to and change everyday routines.
Emergent Communities in Virtual Space: Peer Models and Open Source Initiatives
New media, the phenomena of multi-channel, decentralised, multidirectional information flow fundamentally changes individuals’ and society’s relationship to knowledge, the technical possibilities and objectives of the access, consumption and usage of knowledge. This new media space leads to the formation of new social norms, networks and emergent communities, which do not require central, hierarchic institutions or management, and thus call for absolutely new economic, legal and sociological – as well as technical – solutions. MOKK is investigating questions surrounding new media through extensive cooperation, and through technical and social analyses, it aims to bridge the gap between ¨content-centred¨ and ¨technology centred¨ approaches, as well as practical applications and scientific models.
Information Overload and Filtering Systems: New Solutions of Information Processing
Interactive digital media carry the promise of “information society”, the unlimited access to the most varied type of information. Research on Internet and digital culture has so far paid little attention to the user itself, to whom information overload poses similar problems as the lack of information. MOKK aims to investigate technological development and opportunities in relation to the cognitive abilities and social demands of the individual, and aims to further the course of individual and collaborative information processing with innovations and programs.
Archives and Recorded Knowledge: New Requirements of Information Storage
The basic institutions of digital culture are the great national memory-palaces – datastorages, museums, historical archives, as well as private digital archives. It is a serious IT problem to find, access, organise and retrieve the information stored in there, and the IT competence needs to be complemented by knowledge of theories of organisation and classification, library science, library informatics theory, as well as several decades of experience of the document-exploring job done in big memory-institutions (cataloguing). MOKK is working on a complex information-processing approach, which embraces the latest knowledge gathered in the relevant sciences – from the ergonomics of user interfaces, through the cognitive scientific basis of filtering and classification methods to the informatics of data-base building.
Intelligent Network: the Promise of Machine Text-Processing
The processing of the contents of documents, the collection of metadata, and their assignment to documents have for a long time been a task of such magnitude that it is impossible to solve with human workforce. It is becoming more and more necessary to use machines to automatise or half-automatise the tasks of classification, keyword adding and content. The instruments of classical language technology are not suitable for machine text-processing after a point, because due to the lack of semantic skills they are unable to decipher the ambiguities of natural language. Considering and managing the semantic level bring up the need for specialised, industry ontologies, however, for the building of artificial intelligence and providing machines with semantic abilities, it is essential to have expertise in ontology, epistemology, linguistics and cognitive sciences.
Opportunities in Mobility: Geo-Informatics and the Linking of Communication Channels
A revolutionary change brought by mobile telecommunication is that it enables us to detact the position of the communicating man in physical-geographic space, and we may know where other objects are positioned in relation to him. Connecting these two pieces of information lets us help people in their navigation and movement through physical space. This, naturally, has a significant influence on how humans use space typically, from work and transport through consumption, and entertainment to the use of their private space at home. We need to interpret the new possibilities brought by networks from the point of view of work-, consumption, sociology of economics and anthropology, if we are to predict the future of new mobility-related services.