MISTICA: Invitacion a contribucion para un libro

From: Ricardo Baeza-Yates (
Date: Tue Feb 13 2001 - 12:13:55 AST

Estimados amigos,

He seguido desde lejos las ultimas conversaciones y quiero invitarlos
a enviar una propuesta de un par de paginas para un libro que estamos
compilando con Virgilio Almeida (brasileņo). Les adjunto las ideas
principales (esta en ingles para que lo puedan leer tanto brasileņos
como no brasileņos, pero las propuestas son en castellano o portugues).
Creo que al menos Victor y seguro que otros pueden estar interesados
en participar. Si me envian algo dentro de este mes, podremos evaluar
si calza o no con nuestros objetivos y en ese caso les pediriamos
el capitulo completo.

Outline of the project:

Working Title:
A Collection of Essays

1) Motivation
Information technology is changing radically the way we live.
Already it is difficult to imagine daily life without computers,
Internet, electronic and voice mail, cellular phones and
personal digital assistants.

Technological changes due to computers and communications
are affecting our notions of family, community, and work,
They are also likely to transform our political
institutions. Will the barriers between rich and poor,
mainstream and minority, powerful and
powerless, literate and illiterate, only increase in the

In the workplace these developments not only affect how people
conduct their work, but also where they will work and with whom.
How, then, will workers in the future operate? If their work
is conducted primarily in cyberspace, what will this mean for the
social conventions of trust, friendship, and family?

Recently, we have observed the emergence of
what has been called "sociotechnical system",
in which people and technology interact to
achieve a common purpose (either set by an
individual or by a group). Examples are e-commerce
applications, electronic communities, e-government, etc.

It is crucial for the society to understand
technical and nontechnical issues that arise
when very large systems (i.e, such as the
Internet) are integrated into social applications.

While the IT has been studied extensively by engineering
schools and computer science departments, there are few studies
towards the understanding of the social consequences of its
Ironically, new and challenging problems are coming up in
those sociotechnical systems (e.g., interfaces, privacy, ethics,
network security, etc), which have not been studied deeply.

2) Goals:

The goal of this interdisciplinary project is
to shed light on the impact of information technologies
on mankind. In order to do that, we want to put up
a book with a series of articles that reflect different
viewpoints on this subject.

Computers and networks are a significant part
of the daily life of hundreds of millions of
people on the palnet and also affect billions
(eg., those on the other side of the great divide)

Currently there is no comprehensive, cross-disciplinary,
analysis of the social, economic, and political consequences
of information technology. We want to put together opinions
and views from people with different interests and backgrounds.
We want to broaden the scope of the discussion and make it
really multidisciplinary. We want to bring new and different
voices in the discussions.

For example, take the technical report by Jim Gray and Gordon
Bell that will be published in Communications of ACM, February
2001: Digital immortality. It is clear that even computer
scientists are facing problems and challenges completely new!

3) Why a Latin-American Perspective

We want to have point of views from scientists and intellectuals
that cover a broad range of knowledge, such as cultural issues,
sociological issues, humanities, etc.

Magical realism is an IMPORTANT MARK of the Latin culture
and literature. For example, Borges, Cortazar (his work resemble
hypertext), Garcia Marquez, Allende, and others. Those
authors can be a source of inspiration for new metaphors that
could help the understanding of the information age.

Latin-American scientists and intellectuals are exposed
to both sides of the digital divide. Part of their
environment is modern and somehow resembles what is
going on the information societies (US and part of Europe).
But at the same time, they interact and live in
environment that is far from the technological advance
of the developed world. This type of "mixed feelings"
are rich to point out future models. Also, Latin America
is a universal region that mixes so many cultures and

So, the collaborators of this book must have some kind
of relationship with the Latin-american culture, although
many of them may not live in Latin America.

We need these models to think of the future information

4) Audience

This book should attract a broad audience and should be written
and organized in a way that becomes attractive to university
students, scholars, professors, government officials,
and professionals from industry. Although this outline is written
in English (to have a common language), the book will be published
in Spanish and Portuguese in its first version.

This book should also be interesting to computer scientists exploring
or dealing with new problems. Examples are the mentioned article on
Digital immortality or a recent article by Bill Wolf, president of
the National Academy of Engineering, stating that the interesting
problems are in the "interaction between very
large distributed systems and social systems".

5) Organization

The book is organized into five parts, namely:
               1) Time
               2) Space
               3) Memory
               4) Relationships and Emotions
` 5) Technology and Information

Initially, the book will come out in two versions:
an Spanish one and another one in Portuguese.

What we wish from a chapter contributor?

We want new ideas and insights. We want courage to think and propose
new models or new interpretations of data from Internet/Web. We want
texts that will attract the reader's interest.

Proposed contributions can be sent to any of the editors in Spanish
or Portuguese via email to:

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