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MIS-Digital Society

MIS-Digital Society

MIS-Digital Society

Digital Society

VU Current Topics of Information Systems, Especially the Digital Society

Dr. Alexander Novotny

Edition 1



Digital Technology and Society




» Society and digitalisation

» Fundamental concepts

» Information and society

» Fundamental digital technologies impacting society



How the future society with ICT could look like…

… 3 scenarios



It‘s the year 2030…



» Recently finished bachelor‘s degree in business law

» In the last 9 months, she was looking for a job as a legal assistant, but still could not find one

» Now she works as a nursery teacher for 60% of the salary she would earn as a legal assistant

Marina, 25



How the world faced by Marina could be

» The legal system Legal analysis work is mainly done by machines Many legal experts, lawyers and judges lost their jobs Media uproar about increasing number of wrong court verdicts

» Companies increased their legal compliance significantly but recently experienced an inexplicable drop of returns

» The economy Unemployment rates of 22-25% have become the norm GDP of developed countries stagnates



» New product developer

» Works for TMNE, a large multi-national FMCG corporation

» High income, no kids

» Manages his live almost entirely with ICT: banking, government, shopping, social media, etc.

» Last week, he was wrongfully accused of money laundering and held 48 hours in custody before getting free

Sven, 27



In-class discussion

» How do you think will ICT affect Sven‘s life?



How the world faced by Sven could be in the future

» The government: Pools and analyses government data, shopping activities, financial transactions, communication and social media data for crime prediction and prevention

» Companies: Online shops charge Sven higher prices than Marina because they have analysed Sven to have a higher willingness to pay Existing services have become very efficient, convient and quickly to use Customers increasingly complain that they faced no real „new big thing“ or novel service in the last few years



» Data architect at FutureDat

» FutureDat allows her to decide on her own if and when to work

» Lina supported the development of the artificial intelligence module of personal assistant robot “Peggy”

» “Peggy” is designed to help and serve people in everyday situations

Lina, 22



In-class discussion

» How do you think will ICT affect Lina‘s life?



How the world faced by Lina could be in the future

» Customers: Experience personal assistant robots to be supportive and helpful to humans People owning a personal assistant say it helps them to be more clear about their own goals and desires Feel that they are in control of computers and machines

» The state: Technology increasingly enables people to participate in democratic processes and to impact political life Citizen say they now feel to be more free

» Companies: Decreasing costs of sick leaves People like to work longer until retirement



In-class discussion

» How do you think will ICT affect Marina‘s life?



A truly interdisciplinary perspective

Information systems research

Social sciences Philosophy and ethics

Psychology Innovation management

Computer science




Three levels of discussion


Pragmatic level

Application of selected technologies and systems in a particular social context

Social level

Social norms and culture related to the use and design of digital information technology

Theoretical level

Cause -> Effect relationships



Metaphysical lead question:

What are the circumstances that it makes sense to digitalise society?



Metaphysical lead question:

What are the circumstances that it makes sense to digitalise society?

… before getting to this question we need to elucidate what are society,

digitalisation and sense ? –



Class discussion: What is a society?

» Which characteristics define a society in your point of view?

» How large can a society be?



Examples of „societies“



How the term Society will be used in this lecture

» “A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction,

» or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory,

» typically subject to the same

» political authority and

» dominant cultural expectations.

» Societies are characterized by

» patterns of relationships (social relations) between individuals

» who share a distinctive culture and institutions;

» a given society may be described as the sum total of such relationships among its constituent of members.”

(Wikipedia, 2020)



Video: What is society?

» Definitions by different sociologists




Systems theory by Niklas Luhmann (1927 – 1998)

» Social systems are systems of communication

» Interaction systems

» Groups / families

» Organizations

» Societies

» Each social system works according to its own “code” (e.g., company culture, code of a company, etc.)

» Today’s society is a world society

» Global society, geographical boundaries loose relevance

» Communication: oral -> writing -> print -> telecommunication

» According to Luhmann, communication is the main factor impacting the development of societies



In-Class discussion: Digital communication and world society

» Which communication technologies have particularly strongly driven the development towards the „world society“? Why?

» Which future digital technologies might even further accelerate this development?

» Which aspects of these developments do you favor, which do you critique?




» Economy is a social process over time to promote human welfare and flourishing

» Humankind should makes use of ICT in economy to promote human welfare, flourishing, wellbeing � Economic welfare � Social welfare � Happiness

» “Eudemonia” (Greek: εύδαιμονία, Aristotle 384–322 BC) stands for “happiness, welfare”




From an economic perspective: What do you think sells better?

Full-body scanner for airport security services



Information society

» “Society where the usage, creation, distribution, manipulation and integration of information is a significant [economic, cultural and political] activity.” (Soll, 2009)

» Key driver of growth is regarded to be information and communication technologies (ICT)

» Members: sometimes called “digital citizens”, “users”, etc.

» Related concepts: � Knowledge society � Network society � Post-industrial society � Information age



In-class discussion: Information

» Information is the “basic resource“ of information and communication technology.

» What is information?

» Break-out groups: 4 students/group

» Create a mindmap

» Go to OLAT –> In-class exercises -> U1: Information

» Upload your mindmap in PDF format

» max. 4 participation points



Information is a multi-dimensionsional construct.

ISACA (2013, p. 47). COBIT 5 for Risk.

Dimension Characteristics Examples

Physical Information carrier / medium Paper, hard disk, electromagnetic waves

Syntactic Forming code / language out of symbols

Letters forming a German sentence, ANSI C, HTML

Semantic Construction of meaning out of data

Sales per month, health-related information

Pragmatic Use of information for a purpose

Electronically ordering goods, Google maps navigating a car to a destination

Social Context of the information Privacy of financial information, intellectual property rights



The DIKW pyramid builds wisdom and knowledge upon information and data.

Hey (2004)



Acting based on information.

SIGNS symbols, indices, icons

sign: “object, quality, event, or entity whose presence or occurrence indicates the

probable presence or occurrence of something else” adapted from Bours (2015)



Example: Inventory Management System

number of screws on stockObservation


01001100011Symbols 611Data 611 pcs screws M3 on stockInformation 611 pcs < minimum stock Æ action: place orderKnowledge Our customers require continuous supply to ensure medical appliance safetyWisdom � Place order � Improve continuous stock monitoring processesDecision making



The knowledge spectrum: concepts leading from real-world events to human wisdom.

Debons, Horne and Cronenweth (1988)



Types of data

» Data: represent information based on a known or supposed agreement in a computer-processible way.

User data: details having utility for the user

Control data: details controlling information processing

» Digital Data: represented by symbols (elements of a finite character set to describe information).

» Analog Data: displayed by a physical value which changes corresponding to considered circumstances (e.g., thermometer).



Digitisation, Digitalisation, Digital Transformation

Schallmo, Williams & Boardman (2017)

Conversion of analog data (continuous signals) into digital data (discrete signals)Digitisation

Socio-technical processes with an impact on institutions and society enabled by the use of digital technologies


Change of business models by adopting digital technologies in organisations

Digital Transformation



Definitions of digital transformation vary slightly.


BMWi 2015, S. 3 „Die Digitalisierung steht für die umfassende Vernetzung aller Bereiche von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft sowie die Fähigkeit, relevante Informationen zu sammeln, zu analysieren und in Handlungen umzusetzen. Die Veränderungen bringen Vorteile und Chancen, aber sie schaffen auch ganz neue Herausforderungen.“

Bowersox et al. 2005, S. 22 f. Digital Business Transformation is a „process of reinventing a business to digitize operations and formulate extended supply chain relationships. The DBT [Digital Business Transformation] leadership challenge is about reenergizing businesses that may already be successful to capture the full potential of information technology across the total supply chain.“

Capgemini 2011, S. 5 „Digital transformation (DT) – the use of technology to radically improve performance or reach of enterprises – is becoming a hot topic for companies across the globe. Executives in all industries are using digital advances such as analytics, mobility, social media and smart embedded devices – and improving their use of traditional technologies such as ERP – to change customer relationships, internal processes, and value propositions.“

Mazzone 2014, S. 8 „Digital Transformation is the deliberate and ongoing digital evolution of a company, business model, idea process, or methodology, both strategically and tactically.“

PwC 2013, S. 9 Die digitale Transformation beschreibt den „grundlegenden Wandel der gesamten Unternehmenswelt durch die Etablierung neuer Technologien auf Basis des Internets mit fundamentalen Auswirkungen auf die gesamte Gesellschaft.“

Boueé und Schaible 2015, S. 6 „Digitale Transformation verstehen wir als durchgängige Vernetzung aller Wirtschaftsbereiche und als Anpassung der Akteure an die neuen Gegebenheiten der digitalen Ökonomie. Entscheidungen in vernetzten Systemen umfassen Datenaustausch und -analyse, Berechnung und Bewertung von Optionen sowie Initiierung von Handlungen und Einleitung von Konsequenzen.“

Schallmo (2016)



An information system consists of humans, ICT and interfaces.

» An information system is the amount of human, computerized and mechanical instances that cooperate to process information.

humans interfaces ICT



Another information system.



Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

Information Technology

Communication TechnologyConvergence

“study, design, development, application, implementation, support or management of computer- based information systems” (IT Association of America)

Transmitting information over a distance by technological means



Information processing

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