Bemidji State hosts ethics lecture by Luciano Floridi

Luciano Floridi, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s chair in information and computer ethics, will visit Bemidji State University on Nov. 15 to deliver a joint Honors Council Lecture and Don and Gladys McDonald Philosophy Lecture in Combined Ethics.

Floridi’s lecture, entitled “Information Ethics, Governance and the Complexity of Global Problems,” will be held at 7 p.m. in Hagg-Sauer 100 on the Bemidji State campus. The lecture is open free to the public.

Floridi’s lecture is sponsored by the Bemidji State philosophy and honors programs and the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

Lecture abstract
Floridi says that information and computer technology democratizes data and the processing and controlling powers exercisable over data, in the sense that those powers tend to be distributed to a wider variety of locations. This democratization of data creates a potentially limitless number of agents with power over that data – ranging from individuals and small groups to international and governmental organizations.

Floridi says this means the state is no longer the only agent in the political arena that can exercise informational power, and is occasionally no longer even the main agent.

With so many information agents playing significant roles in determining social policy, the increasingly distributed nature of information control presents a variety of interesting scenarios. Floridi’s lecture will focus on one particular scenario, the relationship between complex global-level political challenges and the need for the right degree of governance to successfully deal with those challenges.

About Luciano Floridi
Luciano Floridi was born in Rome in 1964. He earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy from Rome University La Sapienza in 1988. He then obtained his master’s degree in 1989 and his doctorate in 1990, both from the University of Warwick in Coventry, United Kingdom.

Since 2008, Floridi has been professor of philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield, where he holds the research chair in philosophy of information, the UNESCO Chair of Information and Computer Ethics, and fellow of St Cross College, University of Oxford, where he is the founder and director of the Oxford University Information Ethics Research Group.

Floridi’s research primarily concerns the philosophy of information and information ethics, and other research interests include epistemology, philosophy of logic and technology and the history and philosophy of skepticism. He has published over 150 papers in a variety of anthologies and peer-reviewed journals.

About the UNESCO chair in information and computer ethics
The UNESCO chair in information and computer ethics was created in 2009 at the University of Hertfordshire with three roles:
• to develop guidelines and protocols for the discussion of ethical problems and the resolutions of existing difficulties concerning digital and online information;
• to serve as an intellectual forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences regarding the ethics of information and computer technology in collaboration with other UNESCO programs; and
• to disseminate information about UNESCO’s initiatives concerning the ethical issues related to creative and innovative digital technologies and the issues that need to be addressed, especially with respect to developing countries, regarding the availability of low-cost technologies focused on common public-health and social needs.

For more information, contact Dr. Marty Wolf, professor of mathematics and computer science, (218) 755-2825.

Luciano Floridi
University of Hertfordshire