Culture

01.12.2001

Kim H. Veltman

Developments and Challenges in Digital Culture

Proceedings of the Moscow EVA Conference, Moscow: Russian Ministry of Culture, 2001, pp. 33-39.
Separate publication of same in Russian: EVA 2001 Moska, pp. 1-4-1 to 1-4-4.

1. Introduction
2. Semantic Web
3. Virtual and Imaginary Museums
4. Virtual Reference Rooms
5. Reconstructions
6. Augmented Culture
7. Multisensory Dimensions beyond Literacy
8. Networks

1. Introduction

Although the mass media are full of discussions about dot.com failures, economic slunps and recessions there were over 120 million new computer users this past year. That is more than telephony achieved in its first hundred years. In September 2001 the number of Internet users worldwide reached 500 million.

Remarkable technological advances continue. In 2000 IBM, announced that they would make a super-computer of 2000 square feet, capable of 100 trillion instructions per second by the end of 2003. This year those figures were adjusted. By the end of 2003 there will be a supercomputer the size of two refrigerators capable of 1000 trillion instructions or teraflops per second. In 2000, all the top 500 computers of the world combined were capable of 64.3 teraflops. So within 2 years there will be a computer that is about 15 times faster than all 500 of the world’s largest computers last year. The year 2001 has seen an announcement by IBM and Sony that they will bring the power of the Big Blue supercomputer to the desktop; the invention of a new chip capable of 4000 gigabytes per square inch (Keele University); the introduction of Hitachi’s mew chip so small that it can fit into a dollar bill and new developments in nano-technology whereby computing at the molecular and atomic level promises to become a reality within the next decades. These developments make feasible Philips’ vision of ambient intelligence whereby computers disappear from sight and every object, including every cultural object can potentially have its own computer. A generation ago technology was not capable of dealing with the needs of culture. Today the technological limitations per se are fast disappearing but many problems and challenges remain. Chief among these is that the emerging global network is being built to meet the needs of science and technology and does not include sufficiently the needs of the arts and culture.

For the purposes of this paper we shall focus on four areas: the semantic web, virtual and imaginary museums, virtual reference rooms, reconstructions, augmented culture and multisensory dimensions before turning to networks as a possible means of addressing these issues.


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