Investigations into Information Semantics and Ethics of Computing
Abstract: The recent development of the research field of Computing and Philosophy has triggered investigations into the theoretical foundations of computing and information.This thesis consists of two parts which are the result of studies in two areas of Philosophy of Computing (PC) and Philosophy of Information (PI) regarding the production of meaning (semantics) and the value system with applications (ethics).The first part develops a unified dual-aspect theory of information and computation, in which information is characterized as structure, and computation is the information dynamics. This enables naturalization of epistemology, based on interactive information representation and communication. In the study of systems modeling, meaning, truth and agency are discussed within the framework of the PI/PC unification.The second part of the thesis addresses the necessity of ethical judgment in rational agency illustrated by the problem of information privacy and surveillance in the networked society. The value grounds and socio-technological solutions for securing trustworthiness of computing are analyzed. Privacy issues clearly show the need for computing professionals to contribute to understanding of the technological mechanisms of Information and Communication Technology.The main original contribution of this thesis is the unified dual-aspect theory of computation/information. Semantics of information is seen as a part of the data-information-knowledge structuring, in which complex structures are self-organized by the computational processing of information. Within the unified model, complexity is a result of computational processes on informational structures. The thesis argues for the necessity of computing beyond the Turing-Church limit, motivated by natural computation, and wider by pancomputationalism and paninformationalism, seen as two complementary views of the same physical reality. Moreover, it follows that pancomputationalism does not depend on the assumption that the physical world on some basic level is digital. Contrary to many believes it is entirely compatible with dual (analogue/digital) quantum-mechanical computing.
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