Chapter 1

General Introduction

A participatory digital memory common to all humanity is on its way. But at the beginning of the 21st Century, the use of this memory is limited by problems of semantic opacity, incompatibility of classification systems, and linguistic and cultural fragmentation. Lacking computable models, we are unable to automate most cognitive operations of analyzing, filtering, synthesizing and interconnecting information so as to take full advantage of the huge mass of data available. We do not yet know how to systematically turn this ocean of data into knowledge, and still less how to turn the digital medium into an observatory that reflects our collective intelligence. The primary goal of this book is to present to the scientific community and the informed public a new system for encoding meanings that will allow operations on meaning in the new digital memory to become transparent, interoperable and computable. This system of semantic coding is called IEML (Information Economy Meta Language). Its use could help eliminate the obstacles that now impede the optimal exploitation of the digital medium to serve human development in its social and personal dimensions. If a dynamic community of semanticists and linguists were to enrich and develop this language, a group of engineers were to program and maintain a collection of software tools exploiting its computational potential, and a critical mass of users and social media were to take possession of these tools, ...

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