Center for Media Research and Education

The wide spread of computers and informatics applications, the blending of telecommunications, media and informatics cause 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 technology has 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. Budapest University of Technology and Economy and Magyar Telekom founded Media Research and Education Centre (MOKK) in 2002 within its Department of Sociology and Communication for the close examination of the phenomena of the new, convergent media.

Global Knowledge-Space: Communication Networks and the Social Use of Information

Technological development naturalised new forms of information flow, -management and transmission in our everyday lives, ways which were even fifteen years ago unimaginable. The Internet and in general the 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. We are aware that information is a social phenomenon: its significance is determined by its social usage and impact. Thus, only those can understand fully the importance and business potentialls behind information channels – like the Internet or new mobile networks – who take into consideration how these channels and information contents are embedded in society, and how they accommodate to everyday routines, and how these routines are changed by them.

Emergent Communities in Virtual Space: Peer Models and Open source Initiatives

New media, the phenomenon 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 require absolutely new economic, legal and socilological – as well as technical – solutions. Peer production involves such varied phenomena as the open source movement, open content, the collaborative evaluation, filtering, and ordering of content (from open directory to collaborative filtering), or the new solutions for the distribution of products and resources (for instance, file-sharing networks and grid-solutions). These phenomena necessarily entail the re-examination of the concept of copyright, and for the description and understanding of the new copyright movements one needs to have some knowledge in organisation theory, sociology of economics, political economics, anthropology and law. 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 carries 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. User-centred analysis in the digital world started with personalisation technologies, collaborative filtering techniques, that is, when such practical applications first appeared. It is obvious by now, that the personal mastering of filtering and information processing techniques and knowledge management skills play a substantial role from the point of view of the user, and the individual in general. MOKK aims to investigate technical innovation 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 (catalogueing). MOKK is working on a complex information-processing approach which embraces the latest knowledge gathered in the relevant sciences – from the ergonomy 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. During this process language technological, semantic, and ontological resources need to be used. The machine processing and comprehension of texts, like intelligent human-machine communication require the development and cultivation of the natural language abilities of. In order to achieve this, there is a need for the natural language skills, linguistic knowledge, and a language technology competence that is able to realise their utilisation. 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 ambiguity 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

Mobile telecommunication brings revolutionary changes not only because the communicating person is usually on the move, and can be anywhere, but because new technology enables us to detact his position 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 have to get prepared for a new symbiosis of virtual and real spaces, for the analysis of which we need all our previous knowledge about the use of space. One of the extraordinary moments in the history of economics was when home and workplace got separated with the dissolution of family businesses. There may be a turn of similar order with the blurring of the border between private and public space, workplace and home. And this „reverse process” is exactly what the new possibilities of work-, buying, consumption and entertainment imply, which we need to interpret 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.

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