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about RSIS

Where does the Information Society come from?

How should it evolve in the future?

In March of this year, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a challenge to the world's scientists. While "recent advances in information technology, genetics and biotechnology hold extraordinary prospects for individual well-being and humankind as a whole," he wrote in Science magazine, "the way in which scientific endeavours are pursued around the world is marked by clear inequalities." Annan called on the world's scientists to work with the United Nations to extend the benefits of modern science to developing countries.

The Role of Science in the Information Society (RSIS) conference is in part a response to that challenge. Together with the International Council for Science, the Third World Academy of Sciences, and UNESCO, CERN is organising the event on behalf of the world's scientific community. Held at CERN in Geneva on the 8th and 9th of December, 2003, RSIS will review the prospects that present developments in science and technology offer for the future of the Information Society, especially in education, environment, health, and economic development.  This event will bring together scientists, policy makers and stakeholders from around the world to develop a vision for how information and communication technologies can be applied for the greater benefit of all.  The conference will produce a declaration and an action plan, which will feed into the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), to be held 10-12 December in Geneva.

As an international, intergovernmental physics laboratory with 20 European member states and formal cooperation agreements with over 30 nations around the world, CERN is ideally suited to host RSIS. Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web while at CERN to enable scientists around the globe to work together effectively, and CERN then made the technology freely available to the global community, an enormous step toward democratizing the flow of information. One component of the RSIS discussion will be how to apply lessons learnt from the history of the Web and other information and communication technologies.

RSIS themes

The prospects that science-driven technologies hold for education, economic development, health, and environment will be a special focus of the conference.

logo for the world summit on the information society logo of cern: where the web was born logo of the international council for science logo of the third world academy of sciences logo of the united nations educational, scientific, and cultural organization