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Semantic Capital: Its Nature, Value, and Curation

TitelSemantic Capital: Its Nature, Value, and Curation
AuteursFloridi, L.
VolumePhilosophy & Technology
UitgeverSpringer Netherlands
Type of ArticleEditor letter

Uit de conclusie: 

[Semantic capital is defined] as any content understood as well-formed and meaningful data that can enhance someone’s power to semanticise something. Clearly, given its data-based nature, the management of semantic capital has always depended on information technologies, from the invention of the alphabet (recording), to Gutenberg(dissemination), to the computer revolution (manipulation). Each stage in our technological development has generated new opportunities and new challenges. Digital technologies are not an exception. They both exacerbate the risks, outlined in the previous section, and offer new forms of availability, accessibility, utilisation, and capitalisation of semantic capital. Just think of the debate on fakenews on the one hand, and the consumption of digital photographs on theother. All this may be complicated in detail but rather obvious as a general trend. What may be worth highlighting are rather two factors that will deserve an independent discussion. On the one hand, digital technologies provide an increasing reservoir of smart agency (Artificial Intelligence) that could support us in the fruitful management of our semantic capital. I am not referring just to curation think of all the bots used to edit Wikipedia entries (Tsvetkova et al.2017) - but, more importantly, to the possibility of augmenting our abilities to take advantage of the wealth of semantic capital already available, to use it and enrich it more effectively and efficiently, and hence semanticise our lives and realities better. On the other hand, the digital itself is generating new forms of semantic capital that would have been otherwise impossible, in terms of experiences, new cultural forms, scientific progress, games, music, images, fashions, and so forth. Semantic capital is no longer just analog, it is also increasingly digital, and may not be generated solely by human agents. Our digital semantic capital is beginning to make a difference in our semanticising processes as well. Think of what it means today to search for some information, the expectations about the availability of an answer to any question, or the meaning of authenticity when discussing Deepfakes (Floridi 2018). How the shift from an analog to an increasingly digital semantic capital going to affect our semanticisation of our own identities, our lives and our realities is still to be understood. It may take a while before this becomes sufficiently macroscopic to be properly assessed. But that this is happening and that it will become a progressively significant  phenomenon is indubitable. We should pay much more attention to it.


Semantic Capital is any content that can enhance someone’s power to give meaning to and make sense of (semanticise) something.

So one could say that archives are semantic capital.

Citation Keyref_10240
Datum eerste publicatie: 
maandag, 3 december 2018 - 8:22am