EPITA ITM (Information Technology and Multimedia) students participated in a debate held in Paris on May 26, 2011 on the subject of “Impact of Internet on the Youth”.
This year the association Vivagora organized its landmark event “Parliament for the Future” on responsible innovation involving industrialists, experts and members of Parliament in the National Assembly. A student event entitled “Net Generation – The Why and Wherefore” was also organized with the participation of New Generation Internet Foundation (Fing) on May 26 at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts et Métiers (ENSAM).
Students of various IT schools including Sciences-Po Paris, ESSEC, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (ENSAD), and Télécom Paritech talked about the impact of new technologies on the society. Four students from EPITA (and most of them from ITM) also participated in this event: Jeoffrey Fuhrer, Jean Romain Prevost, Jean Lauliac and Panos Baroudjian.
Speaking at the opening session, Manola Antonioli, the philosopher inspired by the ecosophy of Félix Guattari, said “The development in electronic tools is leading towards a true anthropological mutation and a new ecology of intelligence.” The researcher, however, warned against a new form of pollution of the mind and against the madness potentially generated by the New Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
ICTs in the service of sustainability?
The change brought by ICTs was doubly illustrated – by the students of ENSAD in the terms of aesthetics and those of EPITA, in terms of technology. The project presented by students of the arts school: a sort of anti-clock revealing time only when stimulated by its user. It proved to be an interesting and surprising project as it demonstrated how new technologies can move towards sustainability and not in the direction of dehumanization that is generally associated to progress. “This is an innovative electronic device designed as a way to fight against the power of the traditional clock that streamlines and splits our days. This is a way to return to an ecology of the world which is healthier and more natural” the students explained.
ICTs allow more potential but are also more humane
EPITA students optimistically illustrated the magnitude of breakdown brought by the use of new technologies. They emphasized their almost magical character and the ability to facilitate our daily lives. Geo-location, in the Orwellian dimension, allows locating individuals, as well as allowing them to locate and interact with their surroundings. Refined hardware and portability makes possible for us to use ICTs in a multitude of contexts.
As per EPITA students, there is no need to worry if a number of human intelligence skills are transferred to new technologies, because other skills are developed out of necessity in an inverse proportion, as per the Schumpeterian principle of creative destruction. In 2007 during a lecture at INRIA, Michel Serres said that the transfer of memory from the brain to the computer forced us to be more inventive and creative. EPITA students emphasized that ICTs do not make us more rational or more animals, but more humane and more intelligent. The students of Telecom Paritech carefully exposed the role of new technologies in the process of Arab revolution for freedom.
How to deal with resource depletion?
Students at Sciences-Po Paris meanwhile reported alarming projections showing that the accelerated development of new technologies and demand for purer and more specific metals to achieve the best performance is in the process of leading to the depletion of minerals concerned. “The problem is that despite the depletion of resources, companies continue to adopt a utilitarian logic, under the combined effects of market pressure, regulatory pressure and the pressure from stakeholders.” said a student from ESSEC.
He also stated: “It is the characteristic of innovation to solve the problems of the past while creating new ones. However, the scope of action going beyond that of knowledge, companies may decide to bet on the future and forget the precautionary principle and prefer to focus on the medium term, rather than the more uncertain and indefinite long term. This is the way they think. This does not mean that we should not pursue a further reflection to have a lesser ‘short-term based’ development. On the contrary, this reflex should be developed.”