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Dr. Ljupčo Krstov, dr. Annmarie Gorenc Zoran, mag. Vera Smodej: IT systems and KNOWLEDGE AS AN IDEOLOGY: THE CASE OF SLOVENIA

natisni E-pošta

Abstract

Even though we focused on the discussion on how knowledge and specifically management of knowledge is used for the restructuring of 'intellectual' capitalism, which we categorized as an ideological abuse of the concept of knowledge, the purpose of this article is to present an ideological attempt of unburdening the concept of knowledge from numerous conventions.

More specifically, its main purpose is satisfying the need of an 'economy of knowledge' or the division of knowledge from the possessor, where value is taken away (decreases the knowledge owner's value) and is transformed into general information with the assistance of IT systems. With this topic we have expanded the discussion not only onto IT systems, but also on a clear differentiation between information and knowledge. A multidisciplinary approach to the concepts requires adapting to the interpretive approach due to better understanding of social realities and their creations. As a case of ideological discussions of knowledge, the article examines the National Research and Innovation Programme (NRIP) 2011-2020 and the National Programme of Higher Education of the Republic of Slovenia. These programs were submitted for discussion by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology Republic of Slovenia (MVŠZT RS) in 2010.   

Key words: society of knowledge, information, knowledge, IT systems, ideology

1.         INTRODUCTION

Concerns on the influence of technology on individuals, organizations and societies are not new. Even in 1830, English intellectuals expressed their philosophical arguments on the effects of technology which roused the onset of the industrial revolution. In his book Erewhon (Over the Range, 1872), whose fundamental purpose was to present the Victorian era in a satirical genre, Samuel Butler (1901) summarized his concerns on the divisionary effects of technology on the lives of individuals.   Even though there are numerous and great philosophical, technological, social and cultural differences between society at the beginning of the industrial revolution and 'knowledge society' within which we currently live in, there are still individuals who still believe that humanity is threatened due to technological developments and the quick-paced development of technology. Generally speaking, our society did not reject technology but embraced it. Most of us accept that information technology (IT) systems and technology are of critical, but not of key importance in maintaining and supporting numerous facets of individual lives as well as influences the functioning of an organization and society.

 

An individual's and organization's or society's knowledge is an extremely valuable factor. Knowledge in society and in the economy of knowledge is a strategic factor that needs to be maintained, created, upgraded and used for solving individual, organizational and social problems in the present and even more so, in the future. However, it is a paradox that in most of the literature, where knowledge is discussed and where knowledge management is supported that the capabilities for knowledge creation have become endangered due to dependence on sophisticated systems of IT. The concept that IT systems are efficient tools for creating and transferring knowledge is becoming unconditionally self-evident and irrefutable. As a consequence, it has become de-problematized in the sense that not only is this categorization accepted as something natural, or as a fact, but also its implementation and breadth are inherently accepted. Such systems are frequently defined as 'intellectual systems'; however it does not take into account how people in practice acquire, exchange and create new knowledge. Rationalized especially with statistical and syntactic views of knowledge, such systems consider only partial views in the process of knowledge creation. Ideologists within this perspective view knowledge society similar to new technologies being autonomous forces and neglect that the interpersonal connection of capital and technology legitimizes techno-capitalism. They use knowledge as the fundamental concept of ideology, whereby knowledge is propagated as de-problematizing, pre-defined and pre-packaged (Boland, 1987), and with using IT systems as a resource for de-problematizing knowledge, ignoring the human dimension of creating knowledge (Manville and Foote, 1996) and hail IT systems, whereby consciously ignoring human thought and efforts. The intellectual emptiness that is spreading within our faculties/schools namely due to certain innovative directives from techno-capitalism offers a persuasive means for social ridicule.

 

Throughout human evolution and technology development there have always been extreme expectations and fears; from the time fire, machines, radio, and television were discovered and now to IT systems. Whenever a new technology is discovered, people tend to project all sorts of fantasies, fears, hopes and dreams into novelty discoveries, which we believe is similar with the onset of IT systems. Currently numerous organizations are creating and maintaining 'knowledge' in isolated systems (analogous in Organizational Theory and the usage of the term 'silos of knowledge' such as: database servers, specialized files of data (i.e., regulations, standard operative procedures, rules), internet servers, systems for documentation management, group work systems, and so forth, that are intended for a specific work group or knowledge to an employee. Because of these reasons, it is claimed that advanced technologies are a rich source of organizational knowledge (Zuckerman & Buell, 1998). The keyword being 'rich resource' that shows that despite the vastness this does not mean that such a resource is prepared to be utilised or that this resource or means is actually mobilized and activated. "Despite the increased sophistication of IT systems, there have been numerous incorrect implementations of IT systems for knowledge management (KM)" (Malhotra, 2005, 9).

 

Even though we have focused on the explanation of how knowledge and especially knowledge management have been used in muddying the restructuring of 'intellectual' capitalism, which we defined as the ideological misuse of the concept of knowledge; the purpose of our paper is to present an ideological experiment in unburdening the concept of knowledge from numerous other conventions. The intent here being to satisfy the requirements of the 'economy of knowledge', or in other words, separating knowledge from the owner, in which one's values are taken away (the knowledge owner's price decreases) and then is restructured into ordinary information with the assistance of IT systems. At this point, we have expanded the discussion not only onto IT systems, but also to a clear definition between information and knowledge. Multidisciplinarity of the discussed concepts requires adjustments on the interpretative nature of this approach, namely due to understandings of social realities and its positioning.

 

The structure of the rest of this article is as follows. First, we will provide a distinction between information and knowledge in such a way that we will gain an insight into which concepts are the focus of processing within IT systems. Then, we will briefly discuss abilities of IT systems in the area of knowledge management. We will continue with a discussion on knowledge as an ideology with the assistance of IT systems. We will conclude with a discussion within this context.

 

2.         DISTINCTION OF FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS

 

2.1.      The distinction between information and knowledge

 

Before we begin with the important sections of this article, it is important to examine the fundamental assumptions on the nature of the concepts that we discuss. In continuation, there will be various viewpoints presented on the substance of the debate. Data information and knowledge continuously intersect in an information and societal context. But this does not resolve us from the responsibility of separating the meaning and purpose of these expressions.  For this reason, we will first define them. Data are the presentation of the properties of an entity noted in a specific symbolic system with rules (in a formalized manner) in a way that is appropriate for communication, interpretation or further analysis by a human being or machine.  Data are potential sources of information for the receiver, of which knowledge is consistent with the chosen representation of data (the receiver understands the symbolic system and its rules) and the worldly model to which it refers to. Information is the meaning that one prescribes to data (interpretation) within a certain context and is the basis for exchange and communication. As such, data and information are words that refer to different concepts.  

 

It seems that people have a natural understanding of knowledge and that it is something that is within us. Even though, we might instinctively know what knowledge is when we attempt to define this concept; however the concept often becomes blurred with abstracts and the arduous articulation of its definition (Pears, 1972).  Most of the literature on knowledge and knowledge management divides knowledge into two types: tacit and explicit knowledge. The term tacit knowledge was first used by Polanyi (1966/1997) as a definition that this type of knowledge is internal, indefinite, and difficult to describe. However, explicit knowledge is a specific knowledge that is possible to confine, document and externalize, transfer and share through, for example, the print media, symbols, aural/oral, or graphics. It is a measurable good and it is possible to manage it, in contrast to, tacit knowledge. The latter is usually difficult to evaluate and it is not possible to manage (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995).  

 

However, certain authors believe that explicit knowledge is a synonym for information (Wilson, 2002; Prusak in Cortada and Woods, 1999). Based on these assertions one can conclude that there is only one type of knowledge: tacit knowledge (Polanyi, 1966/1997; Wilson, 2002). Actually, Polanyi states that knowledge as a whole is tacit knowledge and that it can only be expressed linguistically. If knowledge is only internal and cannot be physically externalized (or transferred and shared) as expressed by Polanyi and his supporters than how is explicit knowledge created? Explicit knowledge is created from tacit knowledge and then extrapolated. Its face becomes known and voice transfers it into information. When tacit knowledge is articulated and codified or transferred into explicit knowledge, its value is taken away because it separates itself from the owner and becomes a general piece of information. For this reason, knowledge management sees information as something that is self-satisfactory and can be archived into digital form in a computer. This is the focal point on IT systems and the creation and transference of knowledge. For this reason, explicit knowledge is synonymous to information. Such understandings of knowledge were incepted by Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) who are known in the field and are considered authorities in the area of knowledge management. Their exploit of the word phrase 'explicit knowledge' still muddles the differences between the terms 'knowledge' and 'information'. We hope that this article will clarify this dilemma.

 

Understanding is created whenever information is analysed. Richard Mayer (1989, 131) writes that understanding is "...the ability to use acquired information to solve problems that differ from those that are explicitly learned". This is seen through the user's abilities of using and transferring knowledge into new situations. Whenever a high level of self-confidence is created that is based on understanding information then knowledge is created. Alavi and Leidner (1999) suggest that information becomes knowledge only when it is actively processed in the mind of an individual (in accordance to Polanyi, 1966/1997; Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995) then tacit knowledge is created.

 

Based on the aforementioned, we can define knowledge as an internalized state of a human being, which is the result of gathering and processing of information that is situated within the process of learning and actively being exercised. This definition emphasises that knowledge in its natural meaning has to be connected to a human being. In our material world we frivolously ignore that creativity is a spiritual event and is immanent only to a human being. Knowledge differs from information and its apportionment requires other types of concepts and tools. Knowledge differs in six characteristics from information, these being: 1) knowledge is a human quality; 2) knowledge is the sediment of thought and understanding; 3) knowledge is created in the present moment; 4) knowledge belongs to the individual and community; 5) knowledge circulates through communities in various ways; and 6) new knowledge is created on the realms of previous knowledge.

 

2.2.      IT Systems: Majority of graphical data

IT systems encourage numerous societies, organizations and individuals to imagine that the new world works under the leverage of knowledge. While IT systems have inspired numerous visions, they cannot in and by themselves recreate visions of reality. It is true that social applications, email, and other collaborative tools allow experts and professionals the possibility to prepare and transfer their latest thoughts to their co-workers or colleagues no matter where they are located. Also, it is true that IT systems and the internet have in essence absorbed all forms of entertainment and have become the source of it as well. Moreover, it is true that they have become the central component in households, medicine, industry, and so forth, in addition to processing a large amount of data and information. It connects us to the outer world at the global level and is the means which individuals, organizations and societies almost cannot function without anymore. However, at this time these systems do not create knowledge, even though with the restructuring of 'intellectual capitalism' there are attempts for this to happen as well. Numerous organizations that have viewed IT systems as an 'amalgamation -medication for all illnesses' had shortly found that there were no quick ways or short cuts to increased knowledge. This is confirmed by the unsuccessful 'silos of knowledge', such as: database servers, specialized data files, internet servers, systems for document management, group work support systems, and so forth mentioned earlier in this paper.

 

IT systems as a means for global management, dispersing superficial or incomplete, mostly false or almost true filtered data and information on various occurrences, have been a relatively large success. There are a larger number of people that are overflowed and obsessed with data and information. The latter two mostly in their essence and content reveal only superficial and detected reality (i.e. due to lack of time and the absence of mental effort, absorption of graphically presented data prevails) that shows the 'globalized' society does not need to discover the essence nor the real truth of knowledge.  This is evident in understanding IT systems. For numerous people the reality (techno) of science is what they read in newspapers, on the internet, or on TV. Such individuals understand science less through their own personal experiences or education. What has been read is filtered and presented through a journalistic language and is mostly metaphoric. Such 'popularization', if this is the correct term to use, only presents the scientific-technological work of a more understandable language. This is completely understandable as contradicting the natural and societal needs is human and can be achieved through deceit. 'Knowledge society' has an additional attribute. Using technological achievements, it overwhelms the contemporary person with an indeterminate amount of lobbied, incomplete and superficial data that makes it impossible for active thinking even though one may believe that some sort of knowledge has been achieved.

 

We understand the term IT systems as a synonym for hardware, communication and program tools. However, we understand it as being more extensive in the sense of socio-technical systems that encompass not only the afore-mentioned technological components but also the human components (users with certain qualifications and motivations) and within the context of organizational systems (in the sense of structures, routines, standardized operative procedures and organizational rules).

 

2.3.      Ideology

As it is generally known, ideology is a pre-created collective opinion on what is reality, correct, and acceptable. Ideology makes it more challenging and even impossible for individuals to achieve their full potential. Notwithstanding, in contemporary times, ideology has managed to achieve the return of a relatively 'neutral and apolitical' position on what is understood as 'action oriented system of ideas'. If it is possible to define ideology as action oriented and directed with the assistance of instrumental issues, it is possible to closely connect it to the need for creating knowledge, the need to conform to the needs of the dominating 'economy of knowledge'. The latter term can be recognized as a new dominating concept that needs to be re-evaluated in the spirit of action oriented ideology. Numerous discussions connected with knowledge can be understood as ideological, especially if they become connected with economic practice in such a way that individual interests are represented as universal.

 

How is the acceptance of ideology activated? Whenever there are examples cited that have supposedly then become social practice are unjustifiably understood as evidence of a certain epoch (Kallinkos, 2004; Courpasson, 2000), and for the purposes of this paper, this is 'knowledge society'. Individual 'epochalists' turn towards local examples for common and generalized examples, while others admit that such a practice is uncommon, but tend to view it as a forecast, as a signal of the unexpected future and/or as 'advanced cases' (Child and Rodrigues, 2003). However, both unjustifiably start from a micro location to a general and metaphors become an exemplar. The logic of circulation is an assumption, whatever is being said is stated to be researched and scientifically proven, or in other words it becomes de-problematized, is not discussed but accepted as fact.

 

3.  IT SYSTEMS AND KNOWLEDGE AS IDEOLOGY: THE CASE OF SLOVENIA

3.1.      Knowledge society

'Knowledge society' is one where information, knowledge and IT systems gain a predominant role more so than in other time-periods (Webster, 2002).Daniel Bell, an American sociologist who has been cited most frequently as one of the founders and an instrumental advocate of the post- industrial society theory or knowledge society states that, "In knowledge society there will be a majority of service activities, vocational and technical occupations. The focal phenomena on the market will be interpersonal relations and intellectual technology based on data, information, knowledge and IT systems that will substitute industrial technology" (Bell, 1974, 116-117).   In truth Bell did not define what 'service' is or which occupations offer services, but only used it as the opposite of industrial society's concept of 'good'. We emphasize that it is not our purpose to criticize for the sake of criticizing. We would like to offer an emancipated form of cognizing and understanding knowledge that could ensure an alternative and progressive method of thought and action. Let us look at an example of the aforementioned within the context of knowledge society. These can be found by looking at the sources of information that stand out as an alternative to those that are usually cited in e-learning or research and development of IT systems. One such simple example is the type of resource that ensures information to be available to people who are unemployed or finding work. Imagine that one is looking for a job as a student or worker and are thinking about the possibility of being employed in a new area (as do millions of people every day). First, you would take into account the strategic directives in the development of 'Slovenia as knowledge society' and you are faced with the metaphor of Slovenia being the new Silicon Valley as mentioned by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia. As a part of the process of trying to find a new job one would typically browse on the webpages of the Employment Service of Slovenia and attempt to find the appropriate place offering a list of openings and advice on creating/redirecting ones career. One would expect that based on the strategies and vision stated by the Prime Minister that the top ten companies from the area of IT and informatics would each have at least a certain number of available employment positions. Even if we did not consider the Prime Minister's vision, we would expect the number of available positions from the area of informatics and computers quite vast or at least at the top, being that we are living in a society or economy of knowledge and the importance that is placed on the implementation of informatics and IT. However, this is not so. One should not be surprised. The first three sectors or areas of employment are: (1) 'hospitality/catering - cooks, waitresses, servers, etc.', then (2) 'health care - nurses, technicians, and a rarity in comparison to other EU member states, also doctors' and (3)  'sales - sales positions, warehouse manipulates, cashiers, etc.'. So let us consider that according to directory of available employment that the most sought after knowledge workers are those that are offered minimal wage.  

 

Under the simple slogan of 'knowledge society' and its requirements towards continuous education, social-economic processes are hidden, ones that are full of opposites among economic categories and political interests that are not unified. With the overzealous emphasis on the role of knowledge, information and IT systems in the economic sector, within politics and society and in our daily lives, it is muddling the role of 'techno-capitalistic' relations in production, ownership and supervisory of organizations and societies as well as hegemonic configuration of organizational and state powers. The myth of a knowledge based society confides this engagement with a generalized state of the population as a whole in one class or a total within a 'knowledge society' (i.e. 'knowledge worker'). However, simplicity states that we cannot overlook the fact that even within knowledge societies there needs to be marginalized and less favourable types of work. So, we have to admit that in the future, education has to be active, encourage a range of abilities and have to connect with various economic intentions.

 

3.2.      Why do IT systems inspire, but do not make possible for the creation of knowledge?

Knowledge always includes individuals who know. Our library shelves are full of data and information on information systems, organizations, business processes, data models, but not all are well-informed of the stated subjects. It is similar with IT systems, albeit having the capacity to archive, categorize and organize data and information at a quicker pace than our library shelves. Thinking about our brains as biochemical libraries is somewhat different then how it is treated, as a library shelf or IT system. If one would like to know about a scientific area or discipline it is not sufficient to have data or information about it. Using such data or information is the true and great ability of a human being.

 

Knowledge is much more, and even more then how it is categorized and defined, thus allowing for numerous definitions. To know is a human ability, while data and information are 'things' that can be taken and entered, saved, archived, and carried around. Knowledge is the product of thinking, creating in the present moment, while data and information as a whole are 'made' and simply archived in a database. When transferring knowledge, we, as human beings, have to think about the current situation, while data and information is simply sent from one address to another. However, knowledge is much more than what we perceive. Knowledge is in our bodies. It is within us. It is the wisdom and the know-how that we use. A number of us would have difficulties articulating, others would not, on what they know; while data and information are easily written or with the assistance of IT systems created and placed in other machines. We acquire knowledge with collaboration in our communities, using tools, ideas, techniques and written artefacts of these communities, while we gain data and information with writing, observing or absorbing them in some other fashion. Ironically, whenever we look at our experiences, the core of our knowledge is not a reflection of all the great things that was learned and not even of what an individual thinks, but reflects what society is examining the distribution of ideas. It is true that an individual is the only owner of one's knowledge and also responsible to maintain one's own knowledge.

 

3.3.            Ideological examination of knowledge

Ideology examines knowledge as an instrument of 'intellectual capitalism' or 'techno-capitalism' and includes the proletarization of professionalism (Olssen and Peters, 2005), where management takes away control from professionals and the autonomy of one's own work under the pretext of bringing together consumer needs and ensuring adaptability and a possibility of choice. This is achieved by placing new 'logical-semantic creations' of the 'active consumer', for example, instead of using 'patient' or 'student'. Another example is also the further de-professionalization of the teacher's profession with the integration of various 'coaches', 'experts', 'instructors', 'tutors', and so forth. Facilitative, of course, are the greater opportunities for internet access where situations are created for quasi-knowledge (e.g. Wikipedia) that brings about doubts on the professional competencies of individual experts and offers the possibilities to contradict 'respected knowledge' or encourages distrust in experts or professionals. The term techno-capitalism reflects the configuration of a capitalistic society, where technical and scientific understandings, automatization, IT systems, and other high technologies play a role in the process of producing similar roles of human attainments, mechanization of the work process and machines in the early era of capitalism, while creating and integrating new models of social organizations and forms of cultural and daily lives.

 

With the ideological examination of knowledge, one factor that contributes to unclear facts is metaphors. They play a key role with abstract concepts and bring understanding of one's characteristics, but conceal others. Metaphors emphasize and hide items and meaning in a way that we are not aware of. Let us begin with one example (Andriessen, 2008). Numerous approaches of knowledge management consultation firms are to conduct an 'inventory' of knowledge. They check where knowledge is 'located', 'warehoused', which important and available knowledge is in the database, how to use internet technology for improving 'access' to knowledge, and so forth. What is important is that knowledge is not literally located and warehoused. More specifically, we cannot see it or touch it and place it on a shelf in a warehouse. Inventory of knowledge is not a literal inventory, such as one in a warehouse. And access to knowledge is not a literal access to knowledge as one might have in a warehouse. These are all metaphors that give meaning, because the metaphor is viewed here as a thing, something that is close to us. However, the approach to knowledge examination as a thing is mechanistic, dehumanising and insensitive. It speaks of 'collecting', 'saving/archiving' and 'transferring' knowledge as though there is no human being involved. This provides management even more mechanisms for control. Within the last years, this has been seen most common with IT systems being used as the main tool. Moreover, numerous studies have shown (e.g. Pollitt and Bouckaert, 2004; Krstov and Bukovec, 2008) that these dominating IT systems have a limited efficacy. Our argument is that when knowledge management instrumentalizes the approach in the form of 'knowledge as a thought, resource, capital, and so forth' that this contributes to the further dehumanization of organizations in contemporary society. A few other example through metaphors:  (a) 'knowledge as a resource', where knowledge becomes part of a logistical discussions;  (b) 'knowledge as a means', here knowledge becomes a part of accountancy discussions; (c) 'knowledge as an asset', knowledge is viewed through a legal point of view, its transferability, and possibilities of marketing.

 

Analysing metaphors can reveal insufficient or improper arguments. These transformations seem incontestable until we become aware that what is used is a metaphor. There needs to be arguments and discussions for it to be confirmed, so that these attributes are usable in the targeted area. What is evident is that the person who is really creating the knowledge, the knowledge owner, is not mentioned anywhere. In essence, all the above mentioned metaphors have a common goal. These are to separate the actual knowledge owner or to lessen the value of knowledge through equalization of resources, assets and to make it seem that it is 'a given'. This is in opposition with the definition that knowledge is inherently the quality of human beings and resides in the human mind, because only a human can "detect, interpret and internalize knowledge" (Myers, 1996, 2).

 

 

3.4.            Ideological examination of knowledge: The case of Slovenia  

In 2010 the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology Republic of Slovenia (MVŠZT RS) submitted for public discussion two important documents. These are the National Research and Innovation program (NRIP) 2011-2020 and the National Programme of Higher Education of the Republic of Slovenia (NPVŠ) 2011-2020. If we read the document EUROPE 2020: A European strategy forsmart, sustainableand inclusive growth (EC, 2010), the documents NRIP and NPVŠ are cases that need to be furthered discussed. Even if we excluded all possible doubts on dehumanising the dangers of ideology neoliberal marketing of production and the misuse of knowledge, there are certain questions that need to be answered.   

First, with regard to the NRIP and NPVŠ documents, one can sense a certain hollow and non-articulated effort that science should be yielded to use (technological servicing of the economy), based on the practical and ideological needs of those with capital and makes it impossible to develop its own scientific issues. The effect of the systematic pressure of the state apparatus is that scientific practices are becoming increasingly disarticulated, to use the term that was coined by Samir Amin. This means that scientific practice do not inter-connect with one another, they do not associate with its environment and are not linked to traditions. Its development dictates the dependence from dominated practices in the midst of institutional-political-capitalistic power (i.e., simply said, in the Republic of Slovenia we will have the science of Mercedes, the science of Boss, the science of Renault, the science of Novartis, and so forth, but in no way will we have the science of the Republic of Slovenia - RS). More specifically, it is about the 'starting points' for taking science away from the country. With an absence of the Republic of Slovenia from science, this would not be an earthshattering effect in Europe and neither in a global sense. But, presence is important for the people of the RS, more specifically for their way of life, their consciousness of themselves and in the world.

 

Next, NRIP and NPVŠ do not define whose knowledge it is that will be created at universities and financed by tax-payers money and then transferred into an entrepreneurial technology or private sector. This dissemination points that science is not a process of producing awareness that on one side is a public office and the other has the character of a service industry that is available to business subjects. So, the relation between the public and private sectors (i.e., for the taxpayers - costs; for the entrepreneurs - profit). In truth NRIP and NPVŠ speak about developing a national innovative system. They discuss national support in developing technologies. The technologies of course are not neutral considering the social relationships, but social relations are not only one-sided. It is most frequent that social confrontations force new technological inventions. Technologies bring solutions and then social battles determine which problems will be solved with which technological solutions. An evident case is IT systems that at the onset had received a great deal of anticipation and some were anticipating freedom of the multitudes, democracy, and equality. However, it is now seen that is has accelerated unemployment, the production of fictitious capital, an increased control over people, integrated new forms of acquiring and privatization (the rights of intellectual property and similar approaches of 'intellectual capitalism'), and so forth. Supporting 'a society based on knowledge' and at the same time the use of 'venture capital' in the NRIP as an incentive opposes the fundamental notions of knowledge societies.

 

The third and cardinal question that can be determined from the documents is the confrontation between natural sciences and social sciences with the emphasis being on the former. An analysis of doctors of philosophy shows that the highest unemployment in the last two years is in the areas of natural sciences (32%), technical (27%) and social sciences (21%) (Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development of the Republic of Slovenia, Ljubljana, 20 October 2010). On the other hand there is a lack of doctors of philosophy in the first two areas which would require additional analysis of the problem and the need to define appropriate further measures to be taken. We question whether this situation reflects inadequate knowledge for the private sector or does the private sector see that they are not able to afford such personnel?

 

Next, NRIP and NPVŠ foresee enforcing scientific e-infrastructures, where there is a strong emphasis on IT systems, as the fundamental builder for free access to the internet to raw data of research financed through public resources. The aim is to better and encourage the transfer of knowledge, change the manner of research and teaching and through such measures ensure a high level of efficiency, success and quality. These are all 'ensured' by new economic opportunities, new jobs, a higher and better education, a vast amount of information, more time for personal activities, and so forth, which is in contrast to the thoughts of Adam Smith. Within the spirit of ideology of 'intellectual capitalism' it is not stated whether the owner of the mechanism that is capable for mental exertions and whether raw data will remain just that.

 

Within the documents there is no distinction between diffusion of processes, which is a process where IT systems spread through the population of society, and assimilation of IT systems, which is a conscious mental process and is an active internal process of an individual. Within the documents it is generalized as informatization, which of course is de-problematized and automatically makes possible an economy of knowledge and the competitiveness of the government, economy and society. Competitiveness cannot create IT systems, but only a person is able to. It is true that they assist in the process a great deal.

 

If we want to have sound national politics for science and the creation of knowledge in the Republic of Slovenia we have to take a step back and not exclude science for technology, but develop science for its general influences and also as a basis for technology. In addition, technology should not be subordinate to the economic sector, but together with science directing the production process. It has to avoid implementing asocial administrative methods within science, but to include solidarity, cooperation, and to encourage a public dialogue.

 

4.         CONCLUSION

Ideologists of the technical revolution, information society, and knowledge society have always affirmed that knowledge is the key toward future successes; that education should be available to all and that it should be the top priority of a socialized society. This would, of course, be quite noble if education would be extensive and accessible for all individuals and if knowledge and literacy would indeed increase. However, metaphors are used to separate knowledge from its owner and creator and knowledge that is needed for reproduction and expansion of capital and not for the welfare of all.  

The purpose of the article was to emphasize the truth on the ideology of intellectual capital and its pretensions that it coincides with reality. We do not know if our purpose has been fulfilled or if we had been too critical, but our intent was to bring an open dialogue on the role of ideologies, knowledge, IT systems and the dehumanisation process. Throughout the human evolution, mental efforts of individuals have contributed to human reformations and the development of linguistics, literacy, science, communication, urbanization, division of work, industrialization, transportation and lastly IT systems. Development and change will continue in the future within which the individual should be at the focal point.

 

Without shame we state that we would rather have a 'human' than a 'techno' approach to the developing world. IT systems are wonderful tools, but people are those that utilize it to be useful and valuable. As such, people are the ones that are use and create knowledge and innovation that are sensitive beings. Equally we should all be aware of the influence that technology has on us as individuals or as members of an organization or society. In essence, society has to focus on its members and motivate them for true innovative work. IT systems are just tools and nothing more. Let us summarize with a little bit of irony. If, for example, we do not change the programming code, which is the nervous system of IT systems, IT systems will work on the same thing for millions of years in the same way. Where would people be, if we had such an attribute?

   

 

REFERENCES

 

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