Keywords: sustainability, knowledge society, context dependency, knowledge indicators, information, ICT indicators
Will the information society be sustainable? Towards criteria and indicators for a sustainable knowledge society
It is posited that the information society is not sustainable because information alone is meaningless. Information requires a context to convert it to knowledge – only the context adds the meaning. A knowledge society can be sustainable, but this depends on the context: in a normative neoliberal framework, the knowledge society represents a concept of individualisation and of dismantling social structures. However, in the context of a (just as normative) sustainability strategy, the meaning of 'knowledge society' is different, focused on supporting active citizenship. For this reason, criteria for a sustainable knowledge society cannot be restricted to access to information, but must also cover the kind of information, the provision of content as much as the infrastructure. Whereas a plethora of sustainability indicators has been developed in the last decade, the work on integrated systems of indicators is rather new, particularly for the sustainable knowledge society, so that no more than first suggestions for indicators can be presented. A positive evaluation demonstrates that the current trend towards a knowledge economy is not yet sustainable.